From left to right – Bruna, Karolina, Ana and Karen

Women in tech: Empowering the next generation to close the gender gap with Generation Brazil

Written by Dani Brunetti

Despite the increasing demand for tech professionals, there is still a significant underrepresentation of women and minority groups. To help the industry move into the right direction and empower the next generation to close the gender gap, we partnered with Generation Brazil. Together with the NGO, we offered a 3-month full-stack Java course designed to provide training and support to unemployed youth from minority groups interested in pursuing a career in tech.

We're immensely proud to have helped the first 42 participants improve their tech skills and employability – 80% of which found employment after the end of the programme. This initiative brought us another step closer to building a more diverse and inclusive team, reaching gender parity, and providing girls and young women with the necessary skills to succeed.

Meet a group of young female engineers whose lives were transformed by the programme

To hear more about their experiences, we’ve sat down with 4 female participants who successfully transitioned into employment as engineers at the Global Bank Tribe in São Paulo, Brazil.

Karen Gabrieli Viana de Oliveira, Mobile Dev and Generation Engineer

It's incredible how such a short-term course could significantly change my life. Generation Brazil and SumUp gave me a fresh start –not just a change of routine or career, but a new way of living.

After being accepted into the programme, I left the city I was living in, broke up a long relationship and came back to live near my family to start a new career and chapter in my life. Once again, I was beginning from scratch. But now, for the first time, I'm working in a job I like and for a company that matches my values, makes me feel welcome and like I belong.

I believed I wasn't fit for work my entire life—I got my first job when I was 15. I worked in many different fields and never felt good about it. My inner saboteur always told me I was unfit, and I doubted myself. Now I'm trying to make up for that time.

I was lucky enough to discover social projects like this one, and with a lot of study, effort, and the support of my network and friends, I changed my future.

Contrary to what I believed, I can code, which puts the perception I had about myself into perspective. I'm smarter than I knew, and being creative helps a lot. Differently than everybody thought or made me believe in the past, my skills and personality traits can help me achieve things in life.

My work challenges me every day. I have a career plan, and my English skills are improving every day. My quality of life is better than I could have imagined years ago. For the first time ever, I know my dreams can come true.

Bruna Victoria Evangelista Verrone, Front-end Dev and Generation Engineer

I always wanted to learn programming, but I don't remember ever being told I could pursue a career in technology. Sometimes we lack the courage to explore the unknown, and that courage only came to me when I got unemployed and was tired of working in a job I didn't identify with.

I was taking online programming courses but wasn't learning much. That's when I heard about Generation Brazil – a boot camp with coaches to answer questions and offer mentorship.

My biggest concern then was that I couldn't dedicate my time exclusively to the course because I had already been unemployed for 4 months and needed to find work. When classes started, I knew I was on the right path - I liked what I was learning and realised that time management is key. Knowing how to communicate clearly, and giving assertive feedback helped me re-enter the job market. The support from Generation Brazil and SumUp made all the difference when I started the new job, and I felt welcomed and supported.

The mentorship provided by someone outside the programme was fundamental to my growth. I was lucky to have a female programmer as a mentor who helped me prepare for my project presentation and job interviews. She was my first female tech contact and had also participated in a boot camp just like me. This experience was unique – it helped me with my self-esteem. Sometimes, we think that representation is silly, but it helps to keep us inspired and to achieve our goals. For me, she was more than a female role model in technology – she was another woman that also went through a difficult period and felt lost during her career transition. Being a woman in tech is a challenge I choose every day. I learn a lot at work and with colleagues. 

After almost a year after I graduated from the programme, I feel happy and proud of myself. Seeing the pathway I took together with the other participants and the challenges we faced made all the effort worthwhile.

Karolina Araujo Soares, Generation Engineer

My story isn't like most people's - it's very different from what I usually hear around. I didn't disassemble computers or learn about programming as a kid or during my teens. I started working very early, washing cars. I had other jobs like working in the confectionery trade for 3 years before joining SumUp as a Customer Support Agent. I confess that it was a great challenge to return to computers to support merchants, but I kept being resilient and soon managed to find my space at work. However, I felt like I still needed more.

I've always been very creative and communicative, and I enjoyed identifying areas of improvement or even raising discussions proposed by our customers. So I needed more tools, more knowledge, and more opportunities to be able to contribute the way I wanted to. I wanted to develop effective solutions for our customers that would positively impact them and, therefore, SumUp. So I started trying to understand how things worked and what I needed to study to propose innovative and efficient solutions. I got to know front-end engineering, databases, and UI/UX, and every day my curiosity increased. From there, I felt I could develop solutions instead of just proposing them.

When SumUp confirmed the partnership with Generation Brazil, I saw an opportunity to make my biggest wish come true. I applied for the programme and was selected for the 10 positions reserved for SumUppers in the first cohort.

Having the opportunity to participate in the boot camp by Generation Brazil and SumUp was fundamental to my professional life, contributing to my career transition. In addition, it helped me understand and develop soft and hard skills that I now know are essential in my daily life in the tech area and my personal life. I learnt an important lesson that now helps me in challenging times: 'Trust the process'.

Today I feel like I'm where I should be, even if I didn't start early, even though I believed I wasn't capable. Now I know that it's never too late to discover what motivates you and makes you want to learn more and more. That's what Generation Brazil and SumUp have given me the most.

Ana Eusebio Da Silva, Software Engineer

I was working outside of software engineering and needed a clear development trajectory. As soon as I finished university, I started participating in lectures and meetups in tech, and the desire to join the area emerged naturally. As a result, doubts and uncertainties arose. So I joined LinkedIn and started following some black women in tech to hear about the beginning of their careers, personal stories, daily routines and challenges. Having this perspective gave me the hope I needed to make a move.

I started by investigating the world of technology to get to know and prepare myself for a possible transition. I began by enrolling in some courses, and in the same year, I came across Generation Brazil. That's when my life changed – it was an intense, challenging, but also a welcomed process.

At the end of the programme, we had a weekly mentorship session with someone experienced in the job market. I had a mentor who had a story similar to mine. She was a foreigner like me, who motivated me and taught me to see my story in a beautiful way – having her support was essential.

Having a support network was extremely important. My idea before thinking about changing careers was to return to my country after studying. But this opportunity changed my plans, and my family's support gave me the strength to continue. Today, I'm in an incredible job with great development opportunities to improve my English skills and technical knowledge in my field.

One of the things I learned during this process is to value small achievements – they give us the strength to keep trying. And knowing that not everything happens as we expect. Fear and insecurity are part of the process, but they help us to be resilient and see things differently. It's challenging to enter a new field where you know so little. It often makes you want to give up, think you can't handle it, and feel like you're not good enough. And that's where self-confidence comes in, so you can get back up as quickly as possible when falling into your own traps. 

Back to our tech stories