Tech Tuesday: Women in Tech
Published on Oct 7, 2021 by Abby Stassen
Full Sail grads Andrea Atkins, Erin Eberhardt, Lyka Segura, and Caris Frazier-Baker shared their experiences as women in the tech industry during a special online panel.
The tech industry has a reputation for being male-dominated, but women are steadily joining the ranks as engineers, developers, consultants, and more. Full Sail Hall of Fame graduate Sheena Fowler hosted fellow grads Andrea Atkins (Marketing Manager, Google), Hall of Fame grad Erin Eberhardt (Lead Project Manager for Esports, Blizzard Entertainment), Lyka Segura (Cloud Infrastructure Architect, Amazon Web Services), and Caris Frazier-Baker (Virtual Reality Technical Artist, Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc.) during Tech Tuesday’s Women in Tech panel. The alumni shed some light on their professional experiences and shared how Full Sail empowered them to forge ahead.
A Rapidly Changing Industry
All of the panel’s participants said that their segments of the industry have either morphed or completely changed since they started working. Andrea noted that marketing teams have shifted from promoting general brand awareness to zeroing in on data-driven results. “Now, I’m building data warehouses, I work in SQL, every dollar spent has to have some type of ROI that we can measure,” she said.
Erin shifted her focus from development to front end to product work before finally landing in Blizzard’s esports initiatives; she thinks that upcoming cloud-based broadcasting technology will help esports athletes and fans watch tournaments and build communities within the next five to ten years.
Caris commented on the trajectory of virtual and augmented reality, saying that it’s moving from highly technical and corporate uses to consumer products. “It’s going to become ubiquitous within daily lives the way the iPhone and Android devices have. I think we’re maybe going to have peripherals to our smartphones that are going to begin to interact with our environments,” Caris said.
Learning to Adapt at Full Sail
The real-world pace of Full Sail’s degree programs helped Andrea, Erin, Lyka, and Caris navigate the swift changes in technology they’ve encountered at work. “It’s so fast-paced; every month it changes,” said Lyka of her workload. “Even though you try to prepare for it, there’s not enough time. Full Sail really taught me the ability adapt and move as fast as we’re moving. That’s one of the major things in technology: If you can’t move as fast as the tech is moving, you’re going to get left behind.”
Erin credits Full Sail with giving her the perseverance and discipline to think on the fly and deliver on a deadline. “It was a gauntlet. The stress that it puts on you mentally prepares you pretty well for a career. It never stops. If you’re not quite feeling it that day, you still have stuff due and people who are counting on you,” she said.
Bringing Fresh Viewpoints to Tech
Being outnumbered by their male counterparts wasn’t always easy, but the Tech Tuesday panelists said that being different was also a strength. Lyka recalled a conversation with a male coworker from a previous job: “At the time, I was the only woman on our team. He told me, ‘I value you being here because women bring different perspectives.’ And it’s really important that that balance exists so that you can see things from a different point of view.”
Some of Caris’s colleagues have also remarked on the unique skills she brings to the table. “Once, my boss told me, ‘You can dive deep into code then come back up for air and speak to the client on a level they can understand.’ That flexibility of communication is a strength of a lot of women that I see in the industry.”
For more insights from the panelists, including stories about how they landed their first jobs, the best steps to take once you graduate, and the tech trends they’re most excited about, check out the full Women in Tech panel below.
Tech Tuesday is an original online show produced by Full Sail University that delves into different aspects of the technology industry. Check out upcoming or past episodes.