Written by volunteer writer Alison Perch
As a woman in tech, Erica Boyles wants to raise awareness of careers and industries in which women are underrepresented. Currently, Erica is a test engineer at SAS, which involves testing data management products for SAS in their R&D division. Erica majored in computer science and has worked in testing for her entire career.
Erica is inspired by the women she interacts with every day – both personally and professionally – though she acknowledges the challenges women often face in STEM fields.
“Before coming to SAS, I worked for another company in financial services and sometimes it was hard getting your voice heard with so many men in the field. But I think companies are doing better with that and also promoting women into leadership positions,” Erica explains.
When Erica’s friend, Angie Jones, began volunteering with TechGirlz, Erica knew right away that she had to get involved as well.
“I think TechGirlz is a great opportunity for girls to learn about not only STEM careers, but also careers where women are not strongly represented (music production, for example),” Erica says.
She adds that exposure to technology companies – and seeing women and girls take on tech-related challenges – allows girls to broaden their horizons.
“[Girls] can’t be what they can’t see,” Erica explains.
As a volunteer TechGirlz instructor, Erica has been surprised by how much tech knowledge some students already have. She says she’s also met “amazing people” through TechGirlz, including staff, parents, and teaching assistants (TAs). She appreciates the range of perspectives offered by everyone involved.
“Last year, I did a session on cybersecurity and my two TAs were awesome at answering the girls’ questions and giving them real-life examples of why cybersecurity is important,” Erica notes.
When Erica isn’t volunteering with TechGirlz, she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog (Cairo), volunteering at her church and other organizations, and – whenever possible – traveling and spending time with friends.
Despite Erica’s busy schedule, she loves expanding her tech skill-set and hopes to learn more about IT project management. She also wants to continue her volunteer work with TechGirlz and wishes others knew how fun and rewarding it can be to get involved.
For anyone who is unsure about volunteering with TechGirlz, Erica offers these words of wisdom: “Do it – you won’t regret it! I just really think this organization is really great for showing girls what they can be and what some of their career options can be beyond some of the typical choices.”
Tech careers involve more than just coding. Help girls broaden their horizons by volunteering today!