Published 2016-01-29

Women in Tech: Meet Ning Zhou

“Working at Schibsted means an opportunity to solve great challenges in a global multicultural context,” says Ning Zhou, Senior Project Manager in Schibsted’s Strategy department. #womenintechnow

See all articles on Schibsted Women in Tech here

What sort of tech-projects have you been working on?

As a strategy Project Manager with a tech background, I am often assigned to help kick start cool projects with strategic importance for Schibsted Media Group. I have worked on several data related projects along our digital transformation journey, e.g. login metrics and event format. At the moment, I am working with the Tracking team, part of Schibsted’s Tech organization, to roll out a Pulse v2 user behavior tracker to various Schibsted sites. We aim to provide better data for analytics, better support to experimentation and better privacy control for end user.

What made you choose a career in the tech field?

I never considered choosing a career outside the tech field. My favorite courses were biology and chemistry, until my father bought an Intel 286 (PC processor) that can design circuit boards, play bridge, sing songs… In short, it can do anything, as long as one can describe it with code. You can’t blame a kid for falling in love with a magic power like that.

Why did you decide to work in Schibsted Media Group?

Knowledge is power, but the media industry has yet to figure out a good way to empower people with new information they want. Search is only half of the solution. Information in news and ads are still served in a rigidly separated, imperfect way. Working at Schibsted means an opportunity to solve this great challenge in a global multicultural context, with super smart and nice colleagues. Who can say no to that!

What are the advantages of working in Schibsted Media Group?

There are not many places where you can plan for a strategic change and then work hands-on to make it happen. The can-do mind set here is fantastic. In addition, I have the opportunity to speak three languages at work, and get encouraged to learn at least two more. Schibsted is truly international.

What could Schibsted do to attract more women in tech positions?

Female role models who are experts in tech, and hold tech leadership positions, will encourage more women to start and stick to the tech path. In those cases where there aren’t enough female role models, men in such positions should step up and be good role models. It just requires some extra awareness on the gender specific challenges that females may face in their daily work.

Moreover, the local team environment can make a huge difference. To be honest, my coding skills are not top notch after having moved from R&D to product and strategy, but developers in the Tracking team are always very helpful with all my pull requests and listen with respect when I comment on their code. They never viewed me with a biased gender stereotype or asked me to prove myself first. If all teams could be that supportive to their female colleagues, we would certainly get more skilled and confident women in tech in our company.

What does the future look like for women in the tech field?

It is already not that bad now. In most meetings, I meet female colleagues from other tech teams, and quite some in senior or lead positions. However, things will not change overnight. Most of us will probably still experience some similar challenges faced by the previous generations, like “prove it again” and “the maternity gap”. External support from society, employer and family is helpful, but in the end it is still up to us women to figure out if we truly love tech enough to stay in the field or not. If there is true love for the field, nothing can stop us.