This week we spoke to Melissa Williams, Content Designer at Okteto, one of our annual sponsors. We talked about her career, women she looks up to, and much more.
Okteto is a cloud development platform, powered by Kubernetes.
Melissa studied Music and non-fiction writing at college, she was always drawn to tech but did not consider it as a professional option at first. However, she started in a non-profit doing marketing and ended up as a copywriter. From there, she jumped to UX writing about seven years ago.
When she was little, she imagined herself becoming something related to music or acting. UX writing was not really a very popular field as not many people knew about it. Also because of being a female she did not think of technology as a career option at first, although she enjoyed computers and tech stuff.
Women she looks up to
She is thankful for all the inspirational women she met throughout her career. A woman she especially admires is Bobbie Wood from the UX Writers Collective (which by the way she highly recommends as it is a great place for training as a UX writer) because she was a great inspiration when she was advancing in her career.
Also, she admires her younger sister, as she bravely decided to change her career from being a hairstylist to become a software engineer. Melissa really admires how she realised what she wanted to do and went for it without a doubt.
When asked about the role of women in her field she tells us she feels very fortunate to have worked alongside several other women. She feels there is always room for improvement, to get to the 50-50 it should be. The work of organizations encouraging women to get involved in technological areas is crucial. Also helping other women starting their careers is very important and she is very happy to do it when they contact her through LinkedIn.
The greatest professional challenge she has overcome is having run her own business for several years. She started with only one client and managed to grow her business and earn a living out of it. This involved some things she loved such as UX writing, content design, and content strategy, but also some others like accounting she did not really enjoy.
As she is learning to code, her next challenge is to learn React to be able to contribute in other ways to the company.
Melissa as a Content Designer
We asked Melissa about how to start in her field and she recommended several ways. She talked about the courses at the UX Writers Collective which you can get certified (and get 25% off with the code TECHGIRLS25). She also encouraged doing marketing stuff and finding mentors. She advised creating headlines as a form of practice writing short text that gets a point across. According to her, it is not difficult to get into UX writing, if you can find a crossover from your current field.
When she started as a content designer, she wishes she had realised earlier that she was part of the designing team. So, it was a very good thing to have a chair at the meetings and be a part of the planning. She feels that when she started, she lost some opportunities to shape the way a product was going because of focusing too much only on her part of the work.
She realises her work is a great contribution to her company achieving its goals, because Okteto has a “Content first approach” and everything aims to create a positive developer experience. She contributes to the strategy plan and editorial calendar, and she is able to interface with the engineering team.
Working at Okteto
Right now, at Okteto Melissa is one of two women working there but they know the importance of having a diverse group and they definitely want to attract more women to the company. They also have partnered with Girls In Tech to take part in events such as the Hackathon and webinars and help encourage women to technological positions.
At the moment at Okteto there is one available position for a front-end developer, to apply to it look for Okteto here:
To contact Melissa about any of these topics you can find her at LinkedIn and Twitter.