International Women’s Day Special: Alena Kottova’s Journey into Technology
Alena Kottova’s Smalltalk journey is not only both important and complicated, it is also indicative of what’s been happening in the technology industry and society in general. In honor of International Women’s Day, we thought we would share this journey and her current endeavors.
The technology industry prefers specialists, not generalists. The Smalltalk community may be a little different—with musicians, philosophers and a variety of other “non-techy” people—but not that much different.
Alena became attracted to Smalltalk around 1995, partially because her husband, Jerry, raved about it, and also because of the diversity factor. Well, it turned out that she was not too lucky in the environments she worked in, and the “specialist” focus caused her to burn out after a few years. Alena still loves Smalltalk, but she’s done with the “techy-tech” stuff and is not interested in doing it professionally anymore.
After getting her PhD and starting her Mad Science endeavor, she’s been enjoying the role of educator as she teaches a course called ‘Technology and Society’ at the Faculty of Engineering at University of Victoria. This role fits her generalist profile and helps her young engineering students to think about more than just bits, gears, bolts and wires!