Although gender parity is increasingly common in the workplace, the percentage of women in IT is still quite low. Only 28% of women work in digital professions, and only 16% in those are in pure tech roles in France.*
*Source: Urban Linker
At Overkiz, however, we bring together IoT and women from diverse backgrounds, who are committed to their profession and highly satisfied with working in this sector. Morgane, Vanessa, Alexia, Sophia, Angélique, Laetitia, and Lidwine are a software development engineer, project manager, site manager, squad lead, and a test and validation engineer.
We’re spotlighting these talented, tech-savvy women, who work day in and day out to make life easier for users of connected devices.
How much did you know about IoT before joining Overkiz?
Morgane Perche: I was familiar with IoT, but I had no experience in the area. I knew about the Somfy group, of course, but not Overkiz for connected solutions. As a project manager, I had experience working in the cosmetics sector and related fields, which are worlds away from the sector I’m working in today!
Sophia Lamas: Before joining Overkiz, I worked for the Olympic Games, a true nest of culture and passion! That cultural diversity gave me the courage to accept a job offer in France and move here to work as a test and validation engineer at a nuclear power plant. There, I learned how to transfer data between hardware, middleware, and software. These experiences helped me to learn and understand Overkiz solutions more easily.
What motivated you to join Overkiz?
Morgane: I wanted to learn and understand how objects communicate with each other and gain a clear understanding of “how it works”, how a smartphone can be used to open a gate and how data is collected and exchanged. I also wanted to get out of my comfort zone by working for a company that was different from those I’d worked with before.
Vanessa Bosc: As for me, I work directly on home automation gateways, their usability, and the user experience through the human-machine interface. I always have to think about how my customer will handle and use the product. Even though Overkiz is a BtoB company, I approach my work with a BtoC perspective, which is really inspiring.
Alexia Menand: Our work has a significant impact on the general public. If a customer has a problem due to a malfunction on their gateway, such as when programming their house alarm or a radiator, it’s up to us to fix the bug. The customers of our customers are also our customers, even if we’re not in direct contact with them. Knowing that we make daily life easier for our end users is very motivational.
Lidwine Genevet: The fact that Overkiz is a small company allows for an agile organization. And being located in Annecy obviously makes Overkiz very attractive!
In what way is your job satisfying?
Laetitia Peillon: The challenge of being in a growing and restructuring company in a growing industry.
Alexia: We used to have a product focus. Now, we are developing complete solutions. It’s very rewarding to offer both a product and an ecosystem supported by Overkiz’s structure. That’s where our work is most satisfying: selling compatibilities across multiple products and technologies, to make homes smart and create connections with our customers, positioning us in the center of the ecosystem.
Morgane: We involved in everything. Without us, objects would not be able to talk to each other!
Vanessa Bosc: With my dual role between Somfy and Overkiz, I work with both the white label and the Somfy brand. That’s a big plus because I benefit from the strength of the Somfy Group, who supports me in the development of my products. And at the same time, I work with the Overkiz team on lots of projects, with the flexibility that a smaller organization offers. It’s a nice mix of agility and challenges.
Angélique: We have our hands in everything. The developer teams I’m on has a fairly wide degree of latitude, and we’re encouraged to take initiative. I enjoy working in a small organization where the employees are encouraged to grow.
How do you see women represented within the company, particularly in terms of managerial responsibilities?
Angélique: When I started in 2012, I was the only woman on the development team. In fact, it felt so strange when I finally had my first female colleague! Finally, I wasn’t alone anymore! Overkiz has grown significantly over the years, from just 10 employees in 2012 to 70 today, with more women than ever.
I manage an all-male team, and I don’t experience any problems as a woman. Everyone is so respectful, and I feel like it’s an advantage to be a woman, with lots of support and protection.
Alexia: I’d like to qualify something. As far as technical jobs go, I am unfortunately the only woman who is fully dedicated to development. Of course, there are a lot more women, particularly in senior positions. But when it comes to developers, there are actually fewer and fewer women.
Do you have any special tips you’d like to share for thriving in an IoT job?
Laetitia: Be flexible!
Vanessa: Be self-sufficient and know how to take charge and control things. If someone is asking questions, you need to have answers. The employees here are very open, which is a major strength, but you need to know how to start conversations.
Alexia: Pay attention to the world around you and have a love for technology. The functional area ultimately doesn’t matter much, as long as you’re strong-willed and on the ball.
Do you (or have you ever), as women, had trouble establishing your legitimacy in your field and profession?
Vanessa: Absolutely not. When we want to grow, Overkiz managers trust us and give us the resources to achieve our goals. That’s not very common in companies. I came to Overkiz as a project buyer. I was able to prove myself, demonstrate my capabilities, and show that I was capable of handling my job and its responsibilities. So, when I wanted to move into a project manager position, my managers were able to respond favorably to my request.
Morgane: With a university education in project management and economics, I felt that I had to prove myself and that my technical knowledge was lacking, especially during hiring interviews. But it’s more about my background and training than being a woman.
Finally, what would you say to young women who are thinking about their future profession, who might be hesitant about entering the world of IoT?
Morgane: IoT has more to offer than just technical careers! I am a project manager. I went to college and don’t pretend to be technical. We certainly need to have an appreciation for technology. And IoT is a fascinating and ultra-modern field. We are growing in a business area that is on pace with societal changes. We’re not disconnected from “real life”.
Sophia: IoT is the future! With artificial intelligence, it’s the technology of the future! We are inventing the world of tomorrow.
Angélique: I would tell them to look beyond stereotypes. Anyone can do anything, in any field.
Alexia: I studied computer science and have always worked almost exclusively with men. Overkiz is the first place where I’ve gotten along so well with women. Based on that, I’d deduce that lots of pretty cool women choose to work in IoT!
It’s wonderful to work in an atmosphere booming with diverse profiles. It’s very great and motivating to recognize that there is room for everyone in the company’s tech and non-tech positions.
In the end, everyone is welcome. We’re busting stereotypes and showing that we have a legitimate place in this sector.