Women’s History Month: Interview with WeTravel’s Backend Developer Nubar Khalidova 

February 24, 2022
Kasi McGurk
3 min read

For this Women’s History Month, I sat down with Nubar, WeTravel’s backend developer, to hear her journey into tech and what barriers women overcome to join tech roles. 

The COVID pandemic heightened already gaping discrepancies in terms of the representation of women in tech. According to data from AnitaB.org, women technologists made-up only 29% of the workforce in 2020 (pre-pandemic). 

The already-low percentage was decimated by the global pandemic, which saw an overall decline in women in the workforce (in every sector). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women lost one million more jobs than men. This is a harrowing fact, to say the least. 

As far as industries go, the travel industry is still very underrepresented and unbalanced. As a travel tech start-up, we believe we’re a better business when equity leads our entire business from marketing to backend developers.

For WeTravel – and Nubar Khalidova – the business’s recovery strategy hinges on hiring a diverse global engineering team to match the business’s nearly 50/50 gender split in all departments. 

So, I spoke to her about what’s next for the business and why she believes that an equitable workforce is a strong workforce. 

Lending her voice in the matter, here’s what Nubar had to share with me about her journey so far. 

Women In Tech: Interview With WeTravel’s Nubar Khalidova 

Tell me about yourself. How did you start in tech? 

My name is Nubar. I graduated from Baku Engineering University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry Education almost three years ago. 

During my time at university, I had a housemate who was studying Mathematics and Informatics. At one point, she was given an assignment where she had to code a game. 

The idea of writing your own game piqued my interest, so I used the opportunity to ask her questions about the subject. 

Then, by chance, I saw an announcement in one of the student clubs about learning HTML/CSS/JS. 

I would say that’s when the journey in tech began for me. 

What brought you to WeTravel’s Engineering team?

While in my final year at university, a sector called Tech Academy (which provides several courses related to the IT sector in Baku) announced a scholarship program for women. 

I applied and completed a three-month program (otherwise known as boot camp). After that,  I was offered an opportunity at WeTravel

I am currently part of the Engineering team, working as a Backend Developer. 

What do you do as part of the engineering team?

I’m responsible for creating and developing the backend part of our website and internal tools.

Why do you love working in tech, specifically at WeTravel?

I love the cohesive team culture. Everyone is super helpful and encouraging of each other. 

The company as a whole works remotely (mostly). However, every year an annual retreat is arranged for us all to interact on a face-to-face basis. 

This is such a wonderful opportunity to socialize with the people you spend so much time working with. 

Why do you think more females should work in tech, specifically travel tech?

Rather than having more women in tech, I would say that I err on the side of having more diversity in tech. I don’t think gender necessarily determines job titles per se. 

What would you say is stopping females from working in tech? Do you hear any common thoughts from other women in the industry?

In my opinion, engineering requires more initiative and the ability to take risks. While women have enough skills to build and maintain what is required, I think discouragement and fear of failure can make it a tough industry to break into.  

How can we encourage more females to work in tech?

I think it would help if more companies implement internship programs and boot camps to inspire women to dip their toes in the tech pool. 

Conclusion 

Thanks to Nubar for sharing her story. I hope that putting stories like this out there will show how accessible it is for women to join the industry. As Nubar said, you need a keen interest in the subject and to find a suitable internship or boot camp to develop your skills. 

The internet is a great place to narrow down your options for a bootcamp. For example, Best Colleges has a list of recommendations specifically for coding bootcamps for women; while CareerFoundry has a guide on how to choose a bootcamp, plus a list of bootcamp choices. 

You can also check out our Careers page for opportunities to work for our innovative team.