Celebrating Function1's Women in Tech: Meet Casey Fox!
In the second edition of our Function1 Women in Tech Interview Series, I had the privilege to sit down with Casey Fox to discuss her career as a Front End Developer. Casey shares how her parents and a special teacher played key roles in shaping her interest in the field of technology and talks about the importance of showing her young daughter that becoming a Mom doesn't mean having to sacrifice a career that she loves.
Tell us a little about your role at Function1.
What do you find exciting about your job?
Every project is unique and comes with its own challenges. I'm a problem solver and love being pushed to find creative solutions to any issues a project might present. I have a Minor in Mathematics and I love the logic of coding, but I'm also very creative. Front End development allows me to build inventive designs - it's the best of both worlds!
How long have you been using Drupal?
I started using Drupal 6 almost 7 years ago and have been in love since! It's been fun learning each new version and experimenting with new modules as they are released. It's ever-evolving, so I'm constantly able to learn and discover better ways to code.
In addition to your role at F1, you also have another full-time job - as Mom to a 4-year-old daughter. As a working Mom in a demanding field (in which you are outnumbered) how do you find balance?
It was important to me to return to work after she arrived, to show her that I can be both a Mom and have a wonderful career as well. As a working Mom, I am always trying to find that balance, with some days being easier than others. My daughter goes to daycare during my working hours. If I have extra work to do, I'll get to it once she's in bed for the night (for me, I'd rather sacrifice sleep than that evening time with my child). If that isn't possible, (of course, sometimes there are fires) then I'll accomplish what I need to work-wise, potentially sitting on the couch next to her, and finish things up. When that happens, I'll make sure to carve out extra time for her later in the week or over the weekend.
What was your path to working in tech, and did you have role models or mentors along the way?
My mom is a teacher, so I get my love of learning from her. My dad is in technology, our first computer was an Amiga, and I've been surrounded by tech since I was born. I'm very much middle brained, so I enjoy the logic to coding, as well as the creativity with design.
I earned my Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Art Institute and one of my teachers, Judith Desplechin, served as my mentor. In a male-dominated field it was great to have a female professor who was very much invested in the future success of each student. She pushed us to really challenge ourselves, to push our designs, and bring out our inner geek. She was my first tech professor and my first exposure to a strong female coder, and really showed me that women can thrive in this industry.
As a woman in the tech field, what challenges have you faced (if any)?
In the past, I've not been taken as seriously as my male counterparts. I've also had instances where my ideas and solutions were not trusted, but thankfully, this is far from the norm.
What advice would you give a young woman looking to work in tech?
Tech is a wonderful, exciting, ever-changing field. Yes, women are in the minority, but our numbers are growing. There's something special about being a female coder, and once you're involved you'll see that camaraderie and friendships are quickly formed.
What do you think is the biggest barrier for getting women interested in the tech industry? Any thoughts on how to get more women interested in tech?
Women are normally viewed on their looks, not their brains. There is still a hint of surprise if a woman is both beautiful and smart. STEM activities are often still geared towards boys, and being the only girl in a class can be intimidating. There's a concerted effort to get girls into coding early, but once they reach their teen years fewer entry points are available. As women in technology, we need to show both girls and women that tech is always open, and anyone can get involved - at any point!
A big thank you to Casey for showing us what the world looks like as a woman in technology, with the added nuance of being a working Mom. To our fellow women in tech: have you had similar observations? Share in the comments below! And don't forget to stay tuned for the next interview in our series!