Gender inequality in the technology industry is a trending topic. As a global company that embraces emerging technologies, the Young Professionals Council (YPC) took a first hand look at a few of the female employees that help power the Sabre technology each day. Maegan Snee, YPC member and front-end developer in Sabre Labs, recently shared her insights and experiences as a woman in the tech industry and how she plans to change the way women are treated and perceived.
What is it like to work in a traditionally male job in a predominantly male industry?
I haven’t had a lot of issues with that because the guys I work with are incredible. My boss, Mark McSpadden, is always reassuring me that I’m in the right place. The only place where I notice a huge gender gap is at major hack-a-thons that we participate in, where there is usually a 1/10 ratio of women to men. I honestly wasn’t exposed to gender inequality in technology until I began my career. In school, the ratio of women to men in tech classes was always equal. Upon entering my career, I was a little intimidated by the gender gap but with the right people to support and encourage me, I no longer feel like an outsider.
Do you feel like, as a young adult, you were encouraged to pursue a technology career?
Up until a few months before graduating high school, my plan was to become a chef, so I started looking into the Art Institute of Dallas. But the more I learned in my HS Web Mastering class, the more I thought about the technology path too. I attended an open house at AI to learn more about the Culinary and Web programs and caught myself thinking, “They can really make a mean mac and cheese, but I wonder what’s going on in that technology workroom!” After surrendering to my innate desire to enter the world of tech, I found that I was given ultimate support and advice to follow my heart and choose a career path that would make me happy.
Who would know that a single campus tour would lead to my career?! Soon after beginning the Web Design program at the Art Institute, I met my Sabre Labs colleague, Philip Likens, who was my instructor there at the time. Philip taught me a lot of what I know, and eventually led me to begin working at Sabre.
What are you doing to mentor young women pursuing jobs in technology?
I’ve been instructing courses for Girl Develop It, focused on Intermediate HTML and CSS. I’ve also been mentoring at Southlake Carroll High School; Sabre has partnered with this school’s WIT program in hopes that it will grow to become a Girls Who Code chapter. The girls are driven and smart, and are determined to succeed regardless of the challenging perceptions against them.
Did you have female mentors?
I was a little bit of a teacher’s pet to my HS Web Mastering teacher. She was very knowledgeable and was able to teach technology from the ground up. It was amazing to learn a little bit of everything from scratch. She played a big part in my development, and I’m here now in part because of her.
What can technology companies like Sabre do to encourage women in technology?
Partner with a local high school and begin a program like WIT. Look inside! Consider bringing in one of the organizations within your company like we did with YPC, and task them with providing mentor support and guidance to the girls. Most importantly, just encourage women who are entering the field in any way possible.
Why do we need more women in technology?
What does WIT mean to you?
I’m at a point in my life where I’m just starting my career, so having the support that I do is amazing. If I ever have a daughter, I want to know that she will get the support she needs to follow her wildest dreams. Being able to provide support for not only current generations, but also our future ones is what I want to see.