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Changemakers

Meet the amazing women behind Canva

Ever wondered what it is like to work for Canva? Introducing three women who choose to challenge the status quo. They provide the scoop on what’s it’s like to work for one of the coolest tech companies in the world, Canva and share top career tips for ambitious young women to get into tech.

Rebecca Mitrevski, Product Manager 

What does a career in tech mean to you? 

A career in tech means 3 things for me:

  1. Making an impact. I get to be in a field where the products I build improve the lives of millions of people by helping to unlock their creativity and achieve their business goals. 
  2. Being part of an industry that is the way of the future. Growing up my dad was a bus driver and my mum was a homemaker. My parents worried about how long my dad would drive for, what job he would do after and whether they’d be able to live comfortably. They didn’t have an education to fall back on or jobs where they could earn good money. I’m grateful to be in an industry that is growing and where there are many prospects.
  3. Friendship. I get to work with friends. And many of them. We are all like-minded people who want to grow, do exciting work and make a positive impact. It’s the best feeling to be surrounded by smart friends every day.

Why should young women enter tech?

No matter what you love, you will find a way to explore that through working in tech. And you don’t need a tech degree to work in a tech company. I studied psychology because I wanted to work with people and I wanted to make a positive impact. Now I build a product that motivates people to be more creative. 

What are your career tips for girls? 

Get work experience. Every. Chance. You. Get. Start your own business. Don’t sit on the sidelines, find ways to kickstart your life. 

I did work experience at high school and university. I started a business soon after. 

The more time you spend in the work environment, the more you experience success and see what you’re capable of and – importantly – the more you see what interests you and what you want to do next. You’re never too young. Find a way to get started. 

Julia Mitchelmore, Frontend Software Engineer and Coach 

What does a career in tech mean to you? 

As a front-end engineer, working in tech means being at the intersection of creative and logical thinking, and getting to flex both sides of my brain on a daily basis. I was always someone who wanted to do everything & couldn’t decide which direction to go, so discovering a way to tap into my various interests and ways of thinking was eye-opening. Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to work for a number of companies of different sizes, in different industries and using technologies, each one bringing new perspectives. It’s really important to me that I can always continue growing and learning, and working in tech certainly brings that. But the best thing is definitely the feeling of seeing someone using your product and thinking ‘hey, I built that!’ – magic.

Why should young women enter this field? 

Because it’s awesome! Engineering is more than just creating an end product, it’s about understanding the hows and whys behind how each piece fits together – and sometimes that means pulling everything apart and taking a totally new direction. These are skills that extend beyond the work, into aspects of everyday life. I didn’t have the opportunity of being exposed to computer science in high school, and we weren’t taught to think in this way. It wasn’t until university that I learned about algorithms and design thinking, and started questioning all the things around me to understand their purpose, their usefulness, and whether there was a better way to achieve the same goal. Getting to work in this space means that you can ask those same questions – and then go about making an impact on the world through your solution. And that’s pretty damn cool.

What are your career tips for girls? 

My biggest tip would be to experiment and play with different ideas and interests as much as you can: taking the time to find what you enjoy will reward you later down the line. Much of engineering is experimenting, trying, failing, and trying again, so building up experience in dealing with this will help you be more resilient and expand your mind to think of different approaches when the time comes. Given that tech is also a ‘new’ industry, there are so many opportunities for you to draw on your experience and come up with something completely new and innovative – whether that’s a better way to learn a language or a new concept for viewing live music concerts. Broaden your horizons, and then reflect back and ask yourself “could this be done better?”. You never know where the answers might take you.

Vincey Au, Data Analyst turned Software Engineer 

What does a career in tech mean to you? 

For me, tech represents innovation and being able to create new things that are fun, interactive and delight other people. As an analyst, I loved being able to translate tonnes of data into charts and insights, then see that A-HA moment from my stakeholders when they finally understand what was happening. As an engineer, I think it’s amazing that all you need is a computer and some time to build software that can make someone else’s life a little bit better. 

Why should young women enter this field? 

These days, tech is everywhere and in every industry. I think the really amazing thing about that is no matter what you’re interested in, whether it be health, art, sports or finance, you will be able to find a way to tie a tech skillset to something you care about. I think this makes it a relatively low-risk field to enter because you end up with so much flexibility with what you can do. 

What are your career tips for girls? 

Try to experience as many different things as you can. I think it can be really hard figuring out what you’re passionate about, and having lots of different experiences will let you discover what you like or, more importantly, what you definitely don’t like. 

Don’t feel like you have to commit to a certain path, or know what you want to do for the next 10 years. We’re human, we’re constantly growing and learning about ourselves and the world, and it makes sense that our careers can be like that too.