Name: Meaghan Smith
Drupal.org ID: MeaghanSmith
Location: Boston, MA
Job Title: Associate Solutions Engineer
Over the past few years, the effort to bring greater gender equality and diversity to the tech industry has gained momentum as people and organizations recognize the value of including unique perspectives and approaches when designing digital experiences. Our Women of Drupal series highlights the amazing achievements of women in the Drupal community and provides advice to women pursuing careers in technology.
An essential part of fostering diversity and inclusion in tech is making technology and opportunities accessible for all. In our most recent interview, Acquia Associate Solutions Engineer Meaghan Smith shares how designing accessible solutions and advocating for available educational resources drew her to a career in technology. Learn more about Meaghan’s journey with Drupal and her upcoming session at DrupalCon 2021!
How did you get your start in tech?
In my first semester of college, I got a job formatting online textbooks and course notes for students with low vision disabilities. What started as a job to make extra money flourished into an interest in accessibility and how technology can better our lives. I fell in love with problem-solving and providing educational materials for my peers. I always knew I wanted to help people in my career, but initially didn’t think I would find myself in a technical role until this opportunity.
How did you first discover Drupal?
I first discovered Drupal last year when I joined the team at Acquia. I can’t believe I was missing out on this community for so long!
What Drupal function, project or contribution are you working on and/or most proud of?
I am looking forward to contributing more to Drupal in the future but what I am most proud of is presenting a lightning talk at my very first DrupalCon this year. I spoke about composable content and leveraging the power of Acquia Site Studio on Drupal.
What are some challenges you've faced, technically or career-wise?
As a woman early in my career, it has been a challenge dealing with imposter syndrome. A big part of my role involves learning concepts on the go and working with people who have more experience than I do. What has helped me feel more comfortable has been establishing mentorships with people I can seek advice from.
What inspires you? What keeps you passionate about your work?
The creative people I get to collaborate with daily and the nature of learning something new in my role inspires me every day. There is always a new way to approach a problem. As technology evolves, I know there will always be a need for my creativity and curiosity.
How do you think we can help empower women in tech and work toward better gender inclusion?
People and companies involved in the tech world can do more to encourage young women to be open-minded about a career in tech who may not have otherwise considered it. Being involved on college campuses and providing mentorship to young students early in their careers will lower the barrier to entry and help funnel more creative and innovative people into this industry. Bringing awareness to other facets and roles of working in tech will empower those not familiar with the field to realize there is a place for them in this industry, whether it be as an accessibility specialist, solutions engineer, front end developer or product manager to name a few.
What advice would you give your younger self or someone who is just starting out?
I would tell my younger self, who started her first job 10 months ago, that she is doing great! Mastering a new role comes with time and experience, so remember not to be so hard on yourself. Also, ask questions, speak up if you don’t understand something and jump into challenges that will continue to help you grow!
To see Meaghan’s presentation on composable content in Drupal and many other great sessions from fellow Drupalists, register for DrupalCon 2021!