How do you not feel isolated when you’re the only woman in a room full of men? Nancy Chauhan, an engineer currently working at LocalStack, who likes hacking through software engineering problems, is on a mission to bring women in cloud native together, to motivate each other and share their journeys in tech.
As the only woman on a DevOps team for more than two years, Nancy wanted to connect with other women in the cloud native space to learn from them, and take inspiration from their career paths and achievements. Now, as the founder of Women in Cloud Native, she’s bringing women together to share their experiences, advice and technical knowledge in a safe space, to help others carve their path in tech.
The Only Woman in the Room
“One year back I was the only woman on my DevOps team. I was working around a lot of things related to cloud native, and the day I left someone texted me, someone in a much higher position, to say: I remember seeing you as the only female identity in a floor full of men’.”Nancy Chauhan
One of the most frequent hurdles is team meetings, where being the minority can seriously hamper your impact on the direction of engineering decisions. “Sometimes you’re hesitant because you’re not in the majority, so we’re not as forthright with our opinions,” she explained.
And it’s not just meetings where women are less likely to speak out – events in the tech space are notoriously skewed towards male speakers and attendees. The lack of female representation sees women not only shy away from submitting CFPs, but also hesitate to apply for engineering positions, because there are no pathways to follow or examples of other women who have paved the way before. This is one of the biggest motivators behind Women in Cloud Native, Nancy explained.
“I was speaking at a conference and this woman came up to me and asked: ‘I want to come to DevOps, but how do I do it? How Do I even get started?’”Nancy Chauhan
Upleveling and Uplifting Women
Since Women in Cloud Native was founded in December 2022, more than 200 members have joined, while Twitter followers have swelled to almost 500. The group is supported by community builders – experienced mentors who share their technical knowledge to help everyone uplevel and enthusiasts who are looking forward to building the community.
They run YouTube live streams, held every month, where they discuss topics that help demystify the cloud native space, from what it’s like to be on the Kubernetes Shadow Release team, to a 90 days of DevOps sprint. Alongside, the Women in Cloud Native blog covers technical topics across the cloud native ecosystem. They have also recently started organizing workshops.
Get Involved – Mentoring and More
Women in Cloud Native welcomes all women who are interested in learning more about Cloud Native, as well as those who are willing to learn, collaborate and support each other to grow.
They are soon releasing a mentorship program to help women become active participants and leaders in the community and are looking for women to join in, whether you are a mentee or a more experienced mentor. You can register your interest via the CNCF slack – #cncf-women, or by joining the Women in Cloud Native Discord server and mentioning your interest in the #general channel.
In upcoming months, Women in Cloud Native is looking forward to conducting more workshops and providing a friendly support network for women. You can join the conversation on Discord and Twitter, contribute to the blog, and check out the website and dedicated community page.