I do not personally know any other women software engineer, aside from myself. I've only even met a handful, if that. And with only 20% of software engineers being women, it isn't that shocking. You're probably either thinking, "So what." or less likely "Me too!". If you're in the "me too" camp, then you've some how been affected by this statistic and yet you are still here. Bravo! There are many obstacles in choosing a career path where you are the minority (regardless of the field), but with that comes the great resources to help overcome them.
Most of the tech giants have started initiatives to close the gender gap in their engineering departments. Apple has been working towards and aspired in closing the pay gap as well as hiring more women in their technology roles. Microsoft has Codess, a program dedicated to mentoring female coders and has events all over the place to empower, inspire and educate women in technology career paths. Google launched Made With Code, which has contributed tens of millions of dollars to great groups like Girls Who Code and Code.org. I've even found local groups on MeetUp.com centered around women coding groups. These are all great resources for expanding your knowledge base and connecting with other women who have hit the gender roadblocks. But it is very hard to know how being the only female in a workspace of all male developers will personally effect you.
My experience with being the only women developer in a room full of men has never been as shockingly bad as other articles I've read out there. Most of my struggle with being the woman on the dev team was having to over work myself to prove that I was just as good as my male colleagues. I'm sure many women have had this experience of taking their code home with them, staying up until midnight after working an 8-hour day, getting days ahead of schedule just so you can prove your worthiness. Eventually, these efforts will be noticed and you will be rewarded (maybe even get paid the same as the guys), but the efforts at times seem so futile.
Working longer hours and not being on the same salary scale are both disappointing and discouraging, but dealing with all that plus sitting in meetings day after day in a room full of ego-driven, loud-mouth men is worse. I'm not generalizing here either about men, but that's been my experience. Getting a word in at times is intimidating, but silence is even worse. Then you have the internal battle of when to speak your opinion and how to (very diplomatically) lay it out in a way that will not insult any one else. As a woman, we sometimes tend to be more cautious of other's feelings, which can get in the way of our assertiveness. If your idea is struck down, even slightly, you feel dumb and your confidence drops drastically. But participating in these conversations is just as important in proving yourself as the code you write.
The conversations I don't care for are the ones after work at happy hour. It is amazingly awkward going with your team to the local bar and hearing the guy talk. Again it's one of those internal conflicts of either being anti-social or going and getting to know your team. I was very lucky and my husband worked with me, so we went together and could easily change the subject when it went down the gutter. But keeping the conversations going on a subject that everyone can feel comfortable with can be quite the task.
Above all of this, my biggest complaint about being a female coder is how easy we make it look. Yea, that's right. If a girl can do it, then it must be easy. I cannot count how many times I've felt this way based on the things people have said to me. I've written more lines of code than you have pores in your face. It's not done for me, I didn't buy a bunch of scripts. I didn't just download source code, and modify it. I took a blank page and wrote the code to make a game that I uploaded and was then downloaded by thousands upon thousands of people. It is a skill that you can learn, but not over night and you don't have to be a man to do it.
At this point, I've shared enough of my life story here, but incase you haven't been following, I am a self-taught programmer. I never had the parent who was a software engineer, nor did I go to a high school that had any thing further than a basic computing class (it was all about agriculture and football). My education came from reading forum threads, books and source code, and that wasn't until I was in my early twenties. But despite this and being a woman in a male-dominated field, I've had a great time in my career as a developer. I'm more than happy with this path and my work, and I'd hope that this article can serve as a minor inspiration that being a woman in tech is not always hell.