How Veni Kunche helps underrepresented candidates get into tech

Product Hunt Radio

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41:59

June 25, 2019, 9 p.m.

Abadesi talks to Veni Kunche, who is founder and CEO of Code with Veni, a newsletter for women in tech, and Diversify Tech, an awesome online resource for underrepresented groups trying to break into the industry.

In this episode they discuss...

How she got into tech and her advice for people trying to break into the industry

“The first programming class that I ever took was Intro To Java Programming and I got a C in it. That disqualified me from entering the computer science program. I was completely lost and had no idea what to do. I think one of the reasons that I struggled was that a lot of times university intro classes are not actually intro classes. I had no idea what code was but my classmates all seemed to know.”

Veni was the first woman in her family to go to college and she describes what that was like as someone who was unfamiliar with all the “unwritten rules” about college and the job market. She also speaks about her father, who is also a software engineer and was the first person in his family to go to college, as her inspiration to get into the industry.

She lists her advice for those trying to break into tech, including building a network before you need it, and remembering that everyone is on their own journey and their own path — so don’t sweat it if other people seem to be making more progress than you!

How companies can make their recruiting process more suitable for women and underrepresented candidates

“Research has shown that women apply only if they meet most of the requirements whereas men apply to a job even if they meet half the requirements. Sometimes people list nice-to-haves in the requirements list in a job description but they need to understand that that may be deterring people from applying.”

Veni talks about the difference between the interview process when she was applying for jobs in 1999 and now, and how it has changed (not necessarily for the better). She points out that some candidates need more accommodations and can’t necessarily take an entire day off for an interview. She also shares some of the feedback she’s given CTOs via her job board at Diversify Tech.

How she invests in her career capital and keeps up with new developments

“I usually need a project to work on. I’m not someone who can learn something just by reading. So usually I make up a project and work on it. That’s how I keep up with the new developments in tech.”

Veni describes feeling like she was behind her colleagues when coming back from maternity leave and how she got herself up to speed on new developments in the language they were working in. She talks about the challenges of landing a job when she was first starting out and how she volunteered in order to obtain work experience.

Her advice on starting companies and fostering community

“Starting a company is like a marathon. It’s not something that you do and just works. The launch is not going to determine if you’ve failed or not. You have to be continuously reflecting on what’s working, what’s not working, what changes you can make, and constantly talking to your customers.”

She shares what she’s learned after trying and failing to build a number of different companies and why she found success with Code with Veni and Diversify Tech. She explains the most important factors in building a strong community and why she still runs office hours, the program which was the initial catalyst for her two companies.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Airtable — Real-time spreadsheet-database hybrid.

Baby Connect — Track, log and share information daily about your baby.

Self Control — Avoid distracting websites.