Life At Samsara, Engineering At Samsara

Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Samsara’s Community Empowering Gender Minorities in Engineering

April 6, 2023


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Samsara engineers are building the products for the future of physical operations — bringing technology to underserved industries to make operations more safe, efficient, and sustainable. As a company, we serve a diverse set of customers, and we believe in having a diverse team that reflects the world around us. Our goal is to make sure that employees from all backgrounds and communities feel welcome and supported.

While certain technical functions, such as software engineering, are still heavily male-dominated industry-wide, Samsara is committed to hiring, supporting, and developing women and non-binary technical talent. One of the many ways Samsara supports minority communities in engineering is by providing support, budget, resources, and leadership recognition for the members of the Dev Underrepresented Genders community.

We sat down with the leaders of Samsara’s “Dev Underrepresented Genders” community (also known as our Dev URG group) to understand the challenges minority genders face in engineering. Read on to learn how this Samsara community is fostering connections and promoting career development for women and non-binary engineers.

Headshots of the leaders of Underrepresented Genders in Dev group: Kate Heddleston, Felicia Jiang, Sowmya Murali

What challenges and biases do women and non-binary engineers encounter?

The biggest challenge for any group that’s underrepresented is loneliness. Women and other underrepresented groups face a myriad of biases in their professional lives, such as imposter syndrome and microaggressions. Facing these biases can be more challenging when you feel alone and disconnected. Having a community that supports you and hosts open discussions about common experiences is critical to mental health and longevity in the engineering field. 

Please share the history of the Underrepresented Genders in Dev community and what your goals are for the future.

The Dev URG group is a grassroots organization within Samsara. It was originally created by women in engineering as an offshoot of our Women of Samsara Employee Resource Group as a way to connect and support each other around the specific struggles faced as women developers. We realized that we want to be more gender inclusive, so we changed our name to Dev URG (underrepresented genders) to include all engineers who don’t identify as male.

The Dev Underrepresented Genders group has a mission to empower gender minorities within engineering at Samsara, including those who identify as transgender, non-binary, and female. We strive to provide our members a space to speak freely, resources for professional growth and development, and a community of talented engineers to kick back with.

We host social events to facilitate community, as well as events focused on career development and skills in the workplace. Some topics include “How to write a hype doc,” and “Ask Me Anything” sessions with members at different levels and in different roles. Our goal for the future is to continue to foster a sense of belonging for our members by hosting more events and discussions that promote career development and bring the community together.

How does Samsara’s Dev Underrepresented Genders group align to Samsara’s company values?

Our community aims to align with two of Samsara’s company values: “Be Inclusive” and “Win as a Team.” Our main focus of the group is to help people from underrepresented gender identities feel welcomed on the Samsara engineering team. We provide educational resources, networking opportunities across teams, and fun events throughout the year. 

We aim to provide a mix of fun and career development to nurture our community. For example, one event we hosted was a Bob Ross paint night, which was a great way to get to know one another and de-stress. Another event we hosted was a negotiation workshop, which was designed to give our members actionable insights for how to talk about compensation with confidence and provide tools for negotiation. 

What advice would you give to women entering the tech field?

Our biggest piece of advice to anyone who’s from an underrepresented group in engineering would be to find your community. When you struggle with a technical concept, it’s incredibly helpful to know that you’re not alone and not the first person to struggle with that. Having trusted advisors, friends, and community members will provide you the guidance you need when you run into the inevitable struggles that come with all jobs. 

You can find your community by meeting people at your company, going to local community events and conferences, or even joining online discussions focused around topics you find interesting. And if you run across some people who are less than helpful, remember that there are a lot of wonderful people out there who want you to succeed — just keep looking and reaching out.

Underrepresented Genders in Dev group get together

Together we are Samsara

Diversity is the backbone of innovation on our technical teams and beyond—where some of the most impactful ideas come from people with different backgrounds and perspectives. The Underrepresented Genders in Dev group creates a space where engineers that are a minority in the field can come together to experience camaraderie, mentorship, career development, and support. Samsara is committed to expanding our resources and programs for all employees to build upon our inclusive culture as we grow.

We are committed to diversity across our company and ensuring that Samsara is a place where people from all backgrounds can make an impact. Samsara is hiring, and we’re looking for people who are interested in helping us build a safer, smarter, sustainable world. Check out our Engineering & Product teams and apply today!


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