Success regardless of stereotypes

Pearl Robin: It really bothered me that people would ask me things like, "oh, what do you mean you're a developer?".

Hey I'm Pearl. I'm from Hawke's Bay. I'm a programmer and I teach people how to code.

I got into coding by accident because my friend asked me for help with her website. I mean, I didn't know anything about coding but we just decided 'okay, we've got Google, we'll figure it out', and the more I learnt about coding the more I wanted to learn. I realised really quickly that it was what I was passionate about and that was a really big moment for because I'd spent a really long time in jobs working in HR where I'd felt miserable.

When I started working as a programmer, I was the only woman in my team and as I went to more events and worked with more people, I realised how limited the tech industry is in terms of its diversity. So many people act openly shocked when I tell them that I'm a programmer. It's like, 'wait a minute but you're a woman, and you're Māori, and you're young, and you're not nerdy looking'. I was really wanting to get more women and more Māori people learning how to code and to help diversify the industry a little bit. 

I love teaching people. I love seeing that spark when people get it. I guess it's also important to me because I see the lack of opportunity that people feel. There's opportunities out there but when you can't see them yourself, it can feel really isolating and I like being able to help people give them another option. For me, coding is really creative, it's really valuable, there's a lot of opportunity and jobs in the tech industry. I feel like women bring a really amazing perspective to products. We're making products for everybody and we should be able to have a diverse point of view. If you know how to code you can work in almost any industry you want to.

My advice to other young women who are wanting to become programmers is find the technology that you're passionate about, find a supportive group of people. There are a lot of good people who are in the tech industry, and we're the women who are going to be breaking those barriers for those who come after us.