Docker is a special place because we recognize diversity as a strength. Every day, Docker provides opportunities to share and learn from our diverse experiences and perspectives. As a Filipino-American in technology, there aren’t as many people who look like me or come from a similar background. Many Asians in tech are often portrayed by the media in a certain way and don’t reflect our contributions to the industry.
May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month. It’s a time when we celebrate the AAPI community for enriching America’s history and culture. While there are many Asian Americans who have made great contributions in tech, I want to shine the spotlight on the talented Asian Americans who are responsible for making Docker one of the most loved platforms millions of developers rely on everyday. In this post, we reflect on our personal journeys, including what being Asian American means to us, our experiences in tech, and the role models that have helped us along the way. By sharing our stories, we hope to highlight the rich diversity in tech, break stereotypes and further inspire others of our stories in this industry. We are the AAPI voices behind Docker.
Mandy Huey (LinkedIn / Twitter)
Business Systems Analyst
Growing up, I struggled with reconciling my Asianness with the “American” part of myself, thinking I had to choose one over the other. But there is such freedom in recognizing that it’s not mutually exclusive–I embrace and celebrate the unique blend that is being Asian American… In a single Tweet, Bo Ren (successful product manager, now director of early stage startups) captured and gave me the language to express the experience of being a child of immigrants. She also expanded my horizons on the spectrum of tech roles I can pursue with my background. I continue to look to her on how to navigate the industry (and life!) as an Asian American woman.
Perry Leong (LinkedIn)
Sr. Product Marketing Manager
My father is easily my number one role model. He dropped everything in his native homeland in China in search for a better life in America. At first he worked as a butcher, but he gradually worked his way up to getting a degree in electrical engineering, despite not speaking any English when he arrived at 18 years old. He graduated right around Silicon Valley’s tech boom, and was able to ride the tech wave to have an impactful career at many major companies. I admire his work ethic and tenacity to overcome the challenges he faced coming to a new country with an unfamiliar culture and to have a successful career here in America. He inspires me to be the best version of myself and be resilient in the face of adversity.
Diệu Cao (Twitter)
Head of Product Management
My family has traditional Vietnamese names, but many of my siblings were encouraged to adopt more American names to better fit in. Early in my career, I felt a lot of pressure to choose an American name, to better fit in with my peers. Later on, when I became a product manager and started to become more involved in conversations with potential clients and customers, I again felt pressure to change/adapt my name. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to “waste” our customers’ time, explaining my name or correcting mispronunciations. But it didn’t feel right and it didn’t feel like me. I realized that my name and how it’s pronounced is a key part of my identity and it was okay to expect others to respect that. Pronouncing people’s names the way they prefer them to be pronounced shows a basic level of respect that I wanted for myself, and I now consciously try to do that for others. By the way, my name is pronounced YEEW. In southern Vietnam, the D sounds like a Y, and to friends and family I’m called YEEW-EE.
Shy Ruparel (Twitter)
Sr. Developer Advocate
Although my family traces its roots back to India and Southeast Africa, I was born in the UK. I moved to America and eventually became a citizen in 2019. Moving to suburban Ohio as a brown kid with an accent was rough. Most of my earlier years in the US left me wanting to go back to the UK. College actually brought some new challenges. I struggled to find which parts of my cultural heritage resonated with me — not feeling wholly Indian nor fully westernized, either. Joining the collegiate hackathon movement was really positive for me. I saw people who resembled me working at awesome startups, building cool companies, and really just enjoying their time in the tech field. If anything, being an AAPI made tech more appealing. While I may be part of a minority out in public, the tech world feels a tad bit more welcoming. At Docker, I have great co-workers who support the work that I do and encourage me to go build cool stuff.
Growing up in a not very diverse area, there was certainly a point of time where I felt like I was not “American” enough in America but also not “Asian” enough when visiting the motherland. I’ve sort of come to terms with it now—I just am who I am and, whatever that is, doesn’t need a label. I have certainly been subject to racist comments, such as being asked if I need a translator when I have flawless English or to “go back to my country.” In terms of my career in tech, I don’t believe it has impacted me much (or at least not in a noticeable way)… I’ve especially felt at home in the design community within Docker. There’s not much ego going around and we all want to work together to create a better product for all of our users regardless of the specific focus of our individual teams.
Nikhi Anand (LinkedIn)
Being an Asian American means practicing an amalgamation of values such as respect and humility that I have gleaned from my Hindu background as well as independence and self-determination that I have learned as an American. I admire both Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadala as being strong leaders and front-runners in the tech industry. Seeing these two Indian American CEO’s leading the world’s top companies was inspiration enough for me to pursue a career in tech. Identifying with someone that shared the same background as me, the same culture, and celebrating people of color in positions of leadership has been incredibly influential.
Our Commitment to the AAPI Community
In light of ongoing violence targeting the AAPI community, Docker is showing continued support by donating to Stop AAPI Hate. Stop AAPI Hate does amazing work tracking and responding to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against members of the United States’ AAPI community. We’re also committed to making our team as inclusive and diverse as possible. If this resonates with you, we welcome you to explore our current openings and join Team Docker!
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