Mercari’s Women in Tech vol. 3: “Ten years from now, I hope the term ‘female engineer’ will have disappeared” #MercariDays

Hi! I’m @maho from the Talent Acquisition Team.

A few days ago, we held “Mercari’s Women in Tech vol. 3”!

Women in Tech is an online event that focuses on women who work at tech companies and aims to provide an opportunity for people to exchange information and knowledge with each other. The online-based Mercari’s Women in Tech series started in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we held the round three of the event at long last!

This time, we welcomed guest speaker Yu Kamiya of CyberAgent, Inc., Mercari Backend engineers, and Merpay QA engineers. Each speaker was granted 10 minutes to speak in a lightning talk (LT) format on the topic of their choice.

MCing the event was @yurie, who joined Mercari in November 2020 after her experience on Build@Mercari, Mercari’s software engineer training program! She shared her thoughts on topics like how she came to apply to Build and what she learned through the program.

<What is Build@Mercari?>
Build@Mercari is a training and internship program intended for people who for any number of reasons have not received certain chances in life. The program focuses on people who identify as minorities that are especially underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and IT fields, such as women and members of the LGBT+ community. This year, for the second chapter of the program, we are hosting Build@Mercari 2021 not only within Mercari, but also within group company Merpay. In addition, to give a wide range of people the chance to work with us, we are taking applications from Japan and from overseas.

We would now like to give you a taste of the LTs that our speakers delivered.

Our first speaker was Mercari Backend Engineer @jieqiong-yu who spoke on the topic of knowledge sharing!

@jieqiong-yu:Knowledge sharing should not only be document sharing or any one-directional sharing. Sharing and going through details iteratively between 2 or more people will not only help improve technical proficiency in the long term but also enhance trust and mutual respect in the team. For example, engineers also involve various team members in the technical design through a Q&A discussion section by the Tech Lead to understand more about how the technical decisions are made. Active sharing of problems in sync-up meetings, discussions in Pull Request, pair programming and forming a cross-functional team are also important, and we keep exploring good methods for sharing knowledge.

Next was Mercari Backend Engineer @mtomato, who spoke in her LT on the topic of what it takes for a win-win recruitment situation.

@mtomato:To achieve a win-win internship or recruitment situation requires an objective autonomous team composed of 1. HR, 2. an engineer with hiring authority (such as a mentor or EM), and 3. an engineer with no hiring authority but who has the right to voice their opinion. By providing a student with technical or psychological backing during their internship from a neutral position not involved in the hiring process, this objective team serves to ease the psychological barriers of the intern. Then after the intern has demonstrated their true performance, a decision can be reached about hiring them. By doing this we are able to reduce the number of false negatives (good candidates who are not hired) that we see in the hiring process. This also increases the satisfaction levels of interns and brings other advantages such as a positive impact on the company’s image and branding.

Our third speaker was Mercari Backend Engineer @ann.kilzer, who spoke on the topic of technical debt collection!

@ann.kilzer:Technical Debt happens when we choose a quick, short-term solution over a “perfect” solution, often because of a business deadline. The long-term risks are, for example, difficulty in scaling, unexpected bugs, decreased overall velocity, and challenges with on-boarding new members. When fixing the technical debt, it is important to prioritize tasks based on impact to get leadership support. It’s also important to keep a collaborative spirit and focus on the team.

Our fourth speaker was Merpay QA engineer @miisan, who we are quoting here in an excerpt from her presentation “How Women in Tech of My Generation Stand Up to Their Concerns and Meet New Challenges”.

@miisan:One quarter of women say that they do not consult with anyone when they are struggling with a problem by themselves. Simply verbalizing a problem by making your emotions and opinions visible and by deliberately creating regular opportunities to speak with people in forums like 1on1s helps to change a situation. Visualizing your own situation allows you to grasp what is troubling you and what is holding you back. This also enables you to step away and observe yourself calmly. Starting with a “Let’s give it a try” attitude helps unlock the next door.

Finally, we heard from this session’s special guest, Yu Kamiya of CyberAgent, Inc.! After she joined CyberAgent in 2008, at the time still in the early dawn of services for smartphones, Kamiya started a number of such services and also had a hand in managing and growing them. Since 2020, she has also worked pro bono with “Waffle”, a general foundation whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology fields.

Kamiya spoke on the topic of “Empower Women in Tech Industry—What You Can Do as an Individual”.

Kamiya:People would tell me, “You’re incredible for continuing to work as an engineer even though you’re a mother,” but actually, I think that being a mother ought to be what makes me more suitable to be an engineer. Engineers, who have few restrictions on the time or place where they work, can easily have a fulfilling work-life balance. I would like to change people’s perception of engineering being a male-dominated occupation. Ten years from now, I hope the term ‘female engineer’ will have disappeared.

***

This event was packed with discussions that are beneficial not just to engineers but also to people in non-engineering job types as well. We are now looking for speakers for the next Women in Tech session!

See you next time for more #MercariDays!

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