In case you haven't heard, The Future is Female. Women are out here taking over every field, from sports to politics to film. Tech is no different. Women in tech, though underpaid and underappreciated, are leading in startups and in diversity, so much that we figured it was about time to have a little tech talk here on IllVibe, and chat with one of our favorite techies, Joye Nettles.
If you've seen the immaculate design of DJ Scrib’s website, then you’re already familiar with the work of Joye. The owner of Joye to The World sat down with us to give us some first hand accounts of what it's really like to be obsessed with tech. Check her out!
Who is Joye and when did you fall in love with your art?
I am a 23 year old technology obsessed, entrepreneurial spirited, straight up JOYFUL chick from Darlington, South Carolina! I’d like to think of myself as a leader who is passionate about making a difference in the world with what I do. In 2015, I graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Computer Science and a ton of wonderful experiences. Three weeks later, I went on to start my career in the tech industry as a Consultant Developer at a global software consultancy called ThoughtWorks, where I get to travel the world and write beautiful software for various different companies. Since then, I have started my own company, Joye to the World, with the aim of helping other entrepreneurs utilize technology to build their digital presences. Business aside, I truly enjoy spending time with my family and friends, learning new ways to better myself across the board, and giving back to my community!
I love technology. I truly fell in love with it when I stopped being afraid. When I first started studying Computer Science, I was really intimidated by a.) the fact that everyone seemed to know so much around me when I was a super rookie and b.) being the only black woman in the room. I could handle the work, but I questioned if I could handle how I was feeling (the Imposter Syndrome is real y’all). However, I found my turning point when I met my mentor, CofC’s own Dr. Jim Bowring. Dr. Bowring gave me the skills I needed to help build my tool belt. He gave me the support I needed to uplift my confidence. And, most importantly, every time we met, Dr. Bowring let me know I was capable! After working with Dr. Bowring the summer before my sophomore year, I felt unstoppable. With my fears erased, I let myself fall in love with technology. I haven’t looked back since!
What are 4 apps that's you've been obsessed with lately? (outside of social media)
When it comes to things I enjoy about apps, I think about a lot of things. User experience, design, features, purpose, even business model. Right now, I have a 256gb iPhone 7 plus, so I’m always downloading and trying out new apps. Here is my top four:
- Uber. Okay all the scandal aside, I think Uber is a great app for sooooo many reasons. Personally, I travel a lot and being able to get around has never been easier than with this app (trust me, I was car-less for 21 years and would have LOVED to have this in my life sooner!). Number two, I love Uber’s business model. It’s actually a pretty revolutionary idea! So much so, governments across the nation have been having to make legislation to keep up with this disruptive app! That is dope! Three, the user experience is pretty phenomenal. There are literally like three buttons I need to press to get my own driver all queued up. I love when apps are intuitive and don’t overcomplicate the process. Along with that, the design as a whole is pretty slick. Last but not least, I think Uber is an amazing app because it has had a global impact. When I was able to get an Uber in Pune, India, I was amazed! So, flaws and all, I think Uber is pretty awesome! Five stars!
- Airbnb. So, disclaimer, I have never used Airbnb (I always download their app to plan trips. None of which I have actually gone on yet ), but there app is super dope! Simply put, I love the Airbnb app because it is just straight up nice! The design is really cute (read: their pink and white logo is brilliant), clean and very intuitive. I love that I can get the same thing from the app that I can get from the website (I have seen several apps that only offer half the functionality of what the desktop version offers, which is reasonable, but still). I also like the Airbnb app because it lists experiences as well as houses you can rent. This is cool to me because it encourages me to try some non-touristy things when visiting random cities. Also, another random reason I love this app is because I am really into interior design at the moment. As I’m not an avid Pinterest user, I am able to get some cute house ideas from the apartment pictures I see on this app. Overall, I love traveling and for some reason, Airbnb encourages me to do more of it! That’s a sign this app is doing it right!
- EventTent. If you’re ever in Atlanta or looking for cool event ideas or you just want to support a really awesome tech startup, you should download EventTent right now! EventTent is a mobile app that allows you to “know before you go” about the hottest events in Atlanta as they are happening! Whether it’s a party, pop up shop, or professional mixer, you can use EventTent to stay in the know with everything going on in the city. The app is really well designed and includes the perfect amount of features for the core purpose of the app (I personally like super lean apps that serve their purpose really well, as opposed to doing a hundred things “ok”). Personally, I know the two founders of this app, Justin and Duvall and they are amazing guys who are super passionate about this project. Their work ethic and humbleness really inspires me! Overall, highly recommend everyone check this app out and tell a friend! It’s great!
- Plant Nanny. This is my fun pick. I just discovered this app about three days ago and have been obsessed since! So, backstory, my coworkers kept talking about this game where they had to feed their plants. Since we travel so much for our job, I assumed this was some kind of (sad) joke (i.e. I live in hotels so the only thing I have is a virtual plant. Haha). However, one day after I heard my coworker said, “I need some water so I can feed my plant”, I had to ask what this Plant Nanny app was about. Well, turns out, Plant Nanny is just a fun little game developed to help you track your water intake to make sure you are drinking enough H2O throughout the day! You start the app by answering a few questions about yourself and your lifestyle which the app uses to calculate your recommended water intake, then, you pick a virtual plant (and they are so cute!). From then on out, you water your plant every time you drink water! Personally, I love it because I love working out and making healthy choices for my body. This app encourages me to drink my 113oz of water a day in a fun way! Try it out!
Do something.org reveals, as of 2013, out of 26% of total women in the tech industry, 3% are black, 5% are Asian, and 2% are Hispanic. Given that the tech industry is extremely low in diversity when it comes to people of color, especially women, what advice would you give a young women trying to fin her place in this industry.
I LOVE THIS QUESTION. It’s so important. When it comes to young women trying to find her place in the tech world, I have a ton of advice.
- YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS. As mentioned earlier, I almost didn’t find my passion for technology because I was so worried about all the reasons why I couldn’t do it! When I finally had someone I respected help me realize that I could, I was unstoppable. Yes, some days will be harder than others. Some situations will be really uncomfortable. But I think all young women working towards their dreams, tech industry or not, should realize that, if you put your mind to it, you can do it! Nothing can stop you but you!
- Find your community. I cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact a support system can mean to you when you are feeling like the odd man out. I would definitely encourage young women trying to get in the industry to find allies! Whether that means finding a mentor, starting a LeanIn circle, joining a Women in Computing club, or even attending conferences for women in tech (highly recommend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Technology! #gamechanger), having other people you can talk about your experiences with in a safe space makes all the difference! And if you can’t find anyone, call me!
- Practice makes perfect. Last but not least, I would say when it comes to technology, especially software, you have to keep practicing to get better. It may be really tough to wrap your mind around those concepts at first, but once you get those core concepts down, you can teach yourself anything! I highly recommend picking up personal projects. Build your own website. Create an app. Something tangible that you can be proud of and want to work on all the time. And once you start to get comfortable, never stop learning! Always remain a student of your industry!
What are some misrepresentations or misconceptions about women in tech that you wish people would get over?
When it comes to misrepresentations, I’m so over the stereotype of what a developer is supposed to look like. I think we have gotten a lot better than where we were, however, to be frank, I still think there are a ton of people that think of software developers as just nerdy, white males. This is a problem. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told by young women that they don’t want to get involved simply because “they can’t see themselves doing that”. I believe they feel like this because they think there are no software developers out there who look like them! One of my greatest aspirations in my work is to change the face of technology to foster a more inclusive, welcoming environment for other young women who look like me. It is so important for us to diversify this industry because there are so many problems to be solved! Once we can change this stereotype and get more women in technology, I know we can change the world!
What is your mission with Joye to the World?
Joye to the World was started a year ago with a set of core pillars we keep in mind with everything we do. These pillars, the four Es, are education, engineering, entrepreneurship, and enthusiasm. Education represents our passion to encourage an atmosphere of always learning. Whether it’s getting elementary school students excited about STEM or young entrepreneurs to constantly talk to their potential customersto learn more about what their audience really wants, we believe education is valuable in every context. Engineering represents our passion for tech! Outside of the obvious projects and service we offer to our clients, we also try to challenge ourselves to be at the top of our craft by engaging in the newest technologies available. Entrepreneurship represents our passion to produce! Joye to the World actively looks for opportunities to help others get their ideas off the ground and to the next level! Last, but probably most importantly, enthusiasm! Enthusiasm ties all of our pillars together. To us, getting excited about what you’re doing is key to success! The more you love something, the further you can take it! In summary, JTTW is all about combining technology, lessons learned, and great ideas to create something the you can be happy about! :)