Women make up more than half the workforce, but less than 20% of U.S. tech jobs. It’s clear that American companies still have a lot of work to do when it comes to closing the gender gap in the tech industry.
That’s why women like Amanda Schuff, a Front-End/UI Developer at InsureSign, have such compelling stories to tell. (InsureSign is a simple and secure e-signing software based in Charleston, S.C., with tens of thousands of users.)
Read on to learn more about how Amanda made the jump to a development job… and how it’s going, a year and a half later.
Q: What’s your role on InsureSign’s development team?
Amanda: I’m a front-end developer. My role is anything having to do with the user experience or the user interface. I make sure the program is intuitive, that it functions well and that it’s easy to use.
Q: You didn’t start your career in tech, did you? Tell us about your career before InsureSign.
Amanda: Before I started with working with InsureSign, I was an elementary art teacher. I did that for three years.
Q: Interesting! What was it that compelled you to make that shift?
Amanda:I’ve always had a passion for it. I was always just the “tech person” in my family — I had a knack for it, and had the interest. I didn’t really have a mentor, though. A lot of people in tech have someone guiding them along the way. That wasn’t really the case for me, so when I went to college (the first in my family), I didn’t really know what I was doing.
I was a teacher for three years and got burned out really fast. I was exploring other options, like getting a master’s or another undergraduate degree, and that’s when I heard about the development boot camp I ended up doing.
Q: And now you’ve been with InsureSign for a year and a half. What originally drew you to InsureSign?
Amanda: Joe [InsureSign founder Joe Floyd] and Kris [InsureSign’s lead developer Kris Gholson] were really trying to build something from the ground up. Insuresign had a desktop application that it wanted to move onto the web, and that’s something I focused on in my boot camp.
InsureSign ticked all of my “must-have” boxes: it’s a small company and very employee-focused. I loved the idea of building something from scratch — making something really good and making it quickly. Because we’re a small team, we’re able to do a lot.
Q: What do you like about working here now? What’s unique about InsureSign?
Amanda: To me, the environment and the culture are really great. I came from the education sector, where everything is very traditional and clearly defined in terms of what you can or shouldn’t do. Tech isn’t like that, and InsureSign, in particular, is laidback and flexible.
We have fun and the small team environment is wonderful. We have a great application that we’ve been able to bootstrap together, and we have great relationships with each other. Plus, Joe is the best manager I’ve ever had. He lets us have a lot of input.
Q: Any tips for women looking to make the jump into tech, especially those currently in other fields?
Amanda: Don’t be afraid or intimidated! You’re already a working professional in your own right. Those skills will easily translate over to anything you want to do, tech or otherwise. It’s never too late to start over or start fresh!