USAID and ¡Supérate! launch project “Digital Talent”

Digital talent: women and programming

11 August, 2021

Written by Laurenn Cruz, hugoPay Tech Leader. Translated by Fredy Marquez, ¡Supérate! Grupo Q English teacher.

We are living in an era where technology is part of our day to day, where we are spectators of how each technological advance improves our lives. Technology sometimes resembles magic, it allows humans to create new things with their own hands, things that could not even be imagined before. This is the reason why I decided to venture into this world, to become one of these people with the capacity to do magic.

It all started as simple curiosity, until one day my grandmother noticed that spark in me and told me that I had the talent, something that I hadn't noticed at first, as an opportunity for the future. This piqued my curiosity even more, which led me to make the decision to study Computer Systems Engineering at UNITEC (Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana, Honduras).

In my first days as a student, I got comments like "you are studying a men's major", "it is the most difficult major in the university", "after one semester you will change to another major". I was the only woman of my prom, which led me to reflect: Why is technology always related to the male gender? Don't women have a place in this field? While it is true that this situation filled me with doubts, I loved what I was doing so much that I was willing to overcome any obstacles along the way, which did not take long to appear.

Laurenn at hugo´s facilities in El Salvador.

I had classmates and teachers to whom I was forced to demonstrate my capacity so that I could earn their respect, and a place as a future engineer. I also found great colleagues who always supported me and believed in my talent.

There were difficult moments in which I asked myself if this was the right path for me, if I could have a place within this field or if it was better to give up, but something inside me prompted me to continue till the end, and thanks to that, the support of my loved ones and friends, today I am a leader at hugo app, one of the largest startups in Latin America, where every day I can do what I love so much: to create new and innovative things to improve people’s quality of life until it becomes magical.

As I address you, I wonder, going back to those difficult moments, what words of encouragement I would have liked to hear. And now, women, future colleagues, I want to tell you the following:

Gender is a word that describes a characteristic, but not a person or their talent, there will always be difficult moments and obstacles that will make you doubt, and believe that you cannot take it anymore. But today I can assure you something, all of that is temporary, you are going to get back up and keep moving forward.

Your talent, discipline and above all, the desire to achieve this dream will never be overshadowed by a simple word. On the contrary, this will give you the impetus to become strong women and examples of inspiration to others, where a door closes, you will have thousands of windows to obtain that opportunity, which will lead you to be leaders in the technological field that you decide to perform in. You will find a family, friends and professionals who see that spark in you, just as one day they saw it in me, and it will help you to propel yourselves into a world where not even the sky is the limit.