Being a woman and working in the tech industry isn’t easy; also being an expat can make it even more challenging. But some women manage it all quite well, like Louise Nyman, Junior Solution Architect at Emark in the Netherlands! As part of our “Women in Tech” interviews, we asked Louise what inspired and motivated her to work in the technology sector, and what it’s like being an expat working in The Netherlands.
What exactly inspired you to work in the technology sector?
After completing my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I wanted to do a master’s programme that focused more on data-driven research and less on intangible, gut-feeling-based decision-making. So I started a dual master’s degree in Marketing Management and Marketing Intelligence. During the Marketing Intelligence part of this programme I studied Big Data, which further sparked my interest in the technology sector.
In the final stages of my programme, I organised a career workshop and Emark attended as one of the hiring companies. I got such a good impression of the company and the work that they do, that I ended up applying myself!
What was it that made you so enthusiastic about Emark?
It just felt like a place where everyone’s voice was heard and where you’re given responsibility early on, providing you feel comfortable with it. Of course, I knew the risks of being a woman in the tech industry, but at Emark I have never experienced any hierarchical or gender-related issues when it comes to receiving credit or being taken seriously.
And being an expat working in the Netherlands, how does that feel?
Great, I love working at the Emark headquarters in Haarlem. We’re the largest Emark office and there’s a great atmosphere, with everyone from the founders to interns in the same offices. Haarlem is a calm and scenic location, yet quite close to the pulsating, high-paced atmosphere of Amsterdam. The only thing I had to get used to here was the legendary Dutch directness, which is quite an adjustment to have to make for an expat in the Netherlands. But while it’s definitely something you have to get used to, at the end of the day it makes everything so much more efficient and easier.
As a Junior Solution Architect you implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud projects, right?
Yes, as a Junior Solution Architect, I translate a client’s marketing need and goal into a solution that can be implemented in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. To do this, I create a blueprint, as well as queries and other documentation to guide the process. I’m also involved in guiding and sometimes conducting the implementation of the solution. When necessary, I also give client training on how to use the solution.
What have been the most difficult parts of your job so far?
One of the hardest aspects of my position has been allocating hours to clients and then sticking to the allocation – there’s just always something to do and it’s often difficult to stop doing it. Other than that, troubleshooting data and query issues can, at times, be difficult and frustrating, but it really feels great when you figure it out! For me, the combination of problem solving with client face time is a unique combination.
What do you think is the most important skill you need for your job?
You need to be thorough and always double-check your work, but without rushing! Sometimes clients want things done NOW, which can lead to two undesirable situations. Firstly, rushing the work can lead to mistakes. Double-, perhaps even triple-checking, is the most import thing a solution architect should do; you might be tempted to omit the checking phase if the work is rushed. Secondly, too much haste in delivering a project on time can lead to an undefined statement of work, in which the tasks set aside for each party are not clearly defined.
Why do you think there are so few women in the tech industry?
I really think that the biggest barrier is the perception that tech-associated jobs are a male domain, which intimidates many women. If more women gave it a go, and were more confident in the fact that their knowledge and capabilities could earn them a place in the team, I believe many women would be positively surprised and they’d fit in better than they might have first thought.
I hope these “Women in Tech” interviews will inspire other women to consider a job in tech, just like my biggest role model in the tech industry did for me. Ginni Rometty, who is CEO of IBM, is always encouraging other women to carve out roles for themselves in this industry. For me, and many others, she’s been a big inspiration and she’s really pushing cloud and analytics, as well as driving IBM, forward through innovation.