Discussing How Women Can Position Themselves In The Tech Space with Janet Machuka
Today’s guest for our Champs Talk is Janet Machuka. She is a journalist, social media marketing strategist, and trainer. She is also the founder of the Africa Tweet Chat.
We asked a series of questions from her on our Twitter Space session hosted by Kulsoom Awan, Community Manager & Tahniat Alam, Customer Success Lead at Social Champ to discuss how women position themselves in the tech space.
Tahniat: Tell our audience a bit about yourself. What do you do, and what industry would you say you represent?
Janet: My name is Janet Machuka, and I’m a social media marketer. I have a background in journalism, so everything about content creation, from video to writing to helping brands to know how to write their press releases, communicate, and do their PR. I’m that person you’re looking for. I help them come up with content strategies for their businesses, especially if they’re looking at the social media point of view. So let’s say I’m just towards the end of the content creation journey when it comes to a media house.
Kulsoom: it’s no secret that men have historically dominated the tech industry, but that’s changing now. It’s 2023, and a lot of things have changed, and women are making significant strides in this field. So what do you have to say about that? Any comments on that?
Janet: That’s a great question because looking at my journey and how I started in the digital marketing space, I couldn’t really figure out who and whom, especially women from my region, I can follow so that I can learn more about digital marketing. People still look at women as people who have to take care of their homes. But looking at the digital space, everything is so flexible. We can work from anywhere and everywhere. So flexibility is also helping us as women to actually think of other things, do other things, and take care of our kids in our home at the same time work. So the flexibility of tech is top-notch. So if you’re a woman and you are thinking of getting into the tech space, please look at it from that point. And something else I can say is, right now, we have a lot of role models who are women in this space.
Tahniat: If I would ask you your biggest challenges during your so far journey in the tech and the digital space, which ones would you feel like sharing with us?
Janet: One of the major challenges I had to face is harassment, especially if you’re trying to learn something and then share it with people. You think these guys are going to learn something from this and then they go like, oh, so you think you know it all. You just came here the other day, and now you’re sharing about digital. You copied everything from the Internet. Such kind of harassment. And then, it made me think that I am not the only person to be in front of people on social media. For a long time, I could say no to conversations. I could not allow myself to go and speak anywhere because I’ll be like, what if I say something which doesn’t make sense? So I used to hide a lot and have low self-esteem to some extent. Then I started forgetting about the harassment and focused on how I can build a professional brand for myself and the community of people who had already started believing and trusting in me and what I was sharing. I’ll say it really helped me to know how to deal with people I don’t know. My confidence is back. Sometimes I could go to conversations I call best.
Kulsoom: There are the latest trends every now and then in technology, so how do you stay up to date with these latest trends and technology in your field?
Janet: That’s still a problem. Every day I ask myself a question how am I going to make sure that I have actually known what is happening in the industry? And in 2018, I actually found a solution. One thing I advise anybody who’s getting into the digital space is to find a place where you can learn from people. Even if people are just sharing a comment, saying something without having to explain it further, at least you’ll have an idea of what is happening in this space. So one thing I did is to build a community. Sometimes it is very hard to actually take time by yourself to research every day. It’s very hard. Secondly, I do training, which is one important element that actually has helped me to stay up to date. The reason why I say training is a very good opportunity for you to upskill it’s that you’re constantly teaching people who are asking you questions.
Kulsoom: What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in tech?
Janet: There’s a lot of space for young women. The reason why I’m saying that is because sometimes, when you go to events or conferences, and then you notice that there is the same woman being the guest speaker from time to time. Where are the other women? That means she is actually giving you a chance to see if there’s an opportunity for you. So what do you do? Get into this space
Tahniat: I would like to know how do you actually balance your work and your personal life?
Janet: Firstly, I would say it’s not easy because when I was starting, I was working double, and sometimes I’ll forget myself, sometimes I will even forget my lunch, and I’ll be like, oh, it’s 08:00 p.m. And I haven’t even taken my lunch. I don’t even know what I’m going to eat. Because I have to do a lot to prove myself in front of this crazy audience on social media. But one thing that really helped me a lot is first to arrange my priorities and know at least when should I start and then which next task I should take, and then I allowed myself to find the right people to work with. When I say find the right people, I mean the people who understand you. The people who can tell when you’re tired and can ask you to take a break. If you find such, please don’t let them go. Sometimes, we think when we’re building our businesses, we need to be in control of everything. And then we forget, you’re in control of the business, but are you in control of your mental health? Are you in control of your personal life? And that is when I started to care about myself more. I cut all the work from weekends. Now, weekends are my time. I give myself a break, I give myself some time to rest.
Kulsoom: Social Champ’s Team and I would like to thank you for your precious and valuable time. I hope our audience enjoyed your session. So thank you so much for this, and I wish you a nice day.
Janet: Thank you. Thank you so much, Kulsoom and the entire Social Champ team, for giving me this opportunity and to everyone who joined.
We’d like to thank Janet for being part of the #ChampsTalk. Her insights have made a significant difference, and we appreciate the time and effort she took to join us.
In case you missed it, you can tune in to the complete session below: