Women in IT – Kaatje Schillemans


Power Women, Power Talks.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we decided to collect some powerful stories by inspiring women within Tobania. No endless scripts on what should or shouldn’t be done, just some honest, casual and pleasant chats about their aspirations, happy moments and role models in life. Fancy diving into Kaatje’s story? Let’s go!

What’s your current role within Tobania?

I’m a Junior .Net Developer.


What’s your favourite part of the job?

The fact that there is always something new to learn or explore. There will always be new problems to solve and I like finding creative ways to tackle them.


What first sparked your interest in pursuing this IT career?

The fact that it’ s a career in which you have to keep learning and studying.

“The most memorable moment of my career? The first time a client complimented me on the problem I had solved, followed by Tobania praising me on my effective communication towards the client.”

How can we encourage more women to dive into a similar professional growth path?

I think by showing that it is not only a man’s world. After all, when it comes to problem solving, women can find a different approach as well as a different solution.


What has been your most career-defining moment that you are proud of?

The first time when a customer complimented me on how I solved a problem. And then immediately afterwards receiving an equally wise compliment about my effective communication with that client, even though I had no experience of working with clients!


Who is your role model or mentor? And why?

Kathryn Hire is my role model. When I was a child, I saw her on TV in a space programme. And to me, she was the first engineer/scientist I have seen who really was a woman. The first thing I did was to look her up online. I read about the research she had conducted and what surprised me the most was that she didn’t really care about being surrounded by men. Instead of worrying about it, she focused on her work as an engineer and showed how valuable she was in the team. This made me realise that there is no difference between genders in a technical job. As long as the interest is there, the potential will be as well.


What is your wildest dream on a professional level?

Being a source of information/guidance to Juniors. Just like the Seniors I work with, are for me.

“One day I want to become a source of guidance to Juniors. Just like the Seniors I work with, are for me.”

What is your biggest stress reliever?

When a deployment is done, REALLY done.


What mantra do you live by?

“Live Beyond …” the dots should then fill in the specific struggle. I learned to live by this mantra through my rough childhood and it kept me going every day. Just because some days or weeks don’t work out, doesn’t mean the future isn’t worth living for.


What advice would you offer to young potentials who aspire a career in the IT industry?

Always take the steps you can manage at your own pace. Just because someone else does things faster or knows more about the subject, doesn’t mean your effort doesn’t count. In IT, you can choose your own path in which you like to specialise. Better opportunities will always come your way. So, if learning gives you satisfaction, then IT will be something for you, in whichever of all the branches it may be.