Name: Lisa Dimyadi
Faculty: School of Communication
Year: 4th Year
What made you interested in going into the tech industry?
I got interested in the Tech industry after I did my coop at a Marketing Technology company. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I first started, but after my first day, it was love at first sight. It’s fast-paced, constantly changing and evolving, and there’s ALWAYS something new happening. Thinking on your feet, figuring out algorithms is all in a day’s work. You are constantly challenged and encouraged to innovate and think creatively.
While being in a male-dominated industry, what motivates you to stay positive, when most of your colleagues tend to have an advantage over you because of gender inequalities?
Instead of what, I’d say it’s who. I’m motivated to stay positive by all the amazing women in my life and the work that they do. My mentors (Shoutout to Sandy and Jacqui!) are two of most incredible and hard-working women I’ve ever met. They’re ambitious, not afraid to go after what they want, and are also incredibly smart. One of them is just starting her own business and the other is a commercial mural artist on the side. They’ve both learned to balance family, full-time work, as well as social and volunteer commitments with their business and I look up to them so much. I like surrounding myself with those types of people because being around so many amazing and ambitious people makes me want to strive to be the same.
What are three tips for negotiating wage?
Don’t be hasty: Take some time to think over the offer you’ve been given, don’t jump on it right away. Calculate your cost of living and see how your wage would match up, especially post-tax because you’ll get quite a chunk taken off each paycheck. Get a second opinion, sleep on it and make sure that you’re confident in your negotiation.
Never settle for less than you’re worth: Know your skills and what you can bring to a company. Research what the average wage is for your level of experience, and give yourself a number. Be confident and comfortable with it and don’t “settle” for anything less.
Money isn’t everything: You can negotiate for certain professional development programs or extra vacation days. Sometimes, depending on your lifestyle, those are more important than money.
What previous experience has prepared you for this role?
I’ve had many experiences that have given me skills in digital marketing from student unions (I’m currently the VP Marketing for the Student Marketing Association!), but my MarTech co-op definitely gave me both the industry experience that piqued my interest in pursuing tech. As a result, I specialize in data and analytics now, because of the importance I saw of measuring your results and using it to improve your strategy in my previous co-op.
How has going to SFU influenced your decision to pursue a career in tech?
SFU (Surrey) actually has some high tech equipment that you can rent out if you have special permissions (e.g. are in certain IAT courses, or get department consent). I really took an interest in the Interactive Arts & Technology program and after a few courses, I was able to pick up almost all the programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud. Afterwards, I did co-op which allowed me to experiment in different work environments in the Tech Industry, my favourite being a MarTech company.
Being an international student, what are the challenges that come with finding a job in tech and being a full-time student?
Being a full-time student and trying to find a job in Tech is hard because of all the restrictions that are placed on you. For example, international students can only do 4 co-op work terms, and when you’re in school full time you can only work 20 hours per week max. This makes it difficult to gain experience in highly specialized fields like FinTech, just because of the lack of positions that offer this type of flexibility, but also the amount of time you can commit due to restrictions for even post-grad.