Lydia Gathoni is currently working as a Data Scientist focused on using data to make predictive models and solving problems. She is a graduate of Kabarak University with a BSc. in Computer Science majoring in Software Engineering. She has over 4 years of experience in software development where she has worked on several projects and developed systems in various fields and websites. She is passionate about what she does and is driven to deliver innovative solutions that fit the needs of organizations, institutions and society at large.
Why did you get into STEM?
I got into STEM by choice and also because I was good in Sciences and Mathematics growing up. I knew I would excel in the field. Again, STEM jobs are also abundant and growing. The thing about STEM is that it never takes a break. It won’t reach a point and just stop being important. It won’t stop evolving. You get to grow your curiosity as you learn new things.
STEM-related fields have gotten more attention in recent years as essential components of today’s competitive global economy. Being a woman in STEM is an added advantage considering the gender gap. With the number of women in STEM growing, females in these industries still make up only a fraction of STEM workers when compared to men thus there is always room for more females to join.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Collaboration with teams that have developed innovative solutions. The thing about the field of STEM is collaboration and being part of great teams is an achievement as you get to stretch yourself and learn a tonne of things while doing a project or developing a solution. Also being able to be part of communities that are creating impact especially in the Data Science and Machine Learning Space.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was the lack of confidence in some areas when it came to handling big assignments and projects. This delayed my growth for a while since I mostly found myself working in the midst of males when running projects. Then it hit me: I am better than I think I am! I am more valued and more crucial to an organization or project than I would imagine and once I realized that, there has been growth. I just have to be good. Once you are good you can never be overlooked and especially as a woman in STEM.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
Always look for opportunities and keep learning. You are strong enough, you are smart enough, and there are people waiting for the contributions that only you can make. There is nothing too hard for you once you put your mind into it.