FCDC Women’s Month Highlight – Charlotte Lin

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Meet Charlotte Lin, a Chinese-American Global Technology Associate at Prudential Financial and one of MLH’s Top 50 hackers. She is a New York University (NYU) computer science graduate.


Charlotte is also a hackathon aficionado and has attended and won events like HackUC 2017, Ludum Dare 48 Game JamActs 2 Campus Hack in Place 2.0, PearlHacks 2021, HackNYU 2022HackNYU 2023, and Hack@CEWIT 2023.


She talked to us about negative stereotypes about Asian Women,  using creativity to stand out in her career and much more!

This interview has been condensed for clarity


Hi Charlotte, thank you for joining us! Let’s start by talking about your background. Growing up, were there any negative stereotypes about Asian women that you encountered? 


There’s often a stereotype that Asian women are submissive and not natural leaders.


However, I’ve always believed that Asian women, like all individuals, have diverse personalities.


Personally, I’m more quiet, but that hasn’t stopped me from being ambitious and taking on leadership roles.


Who inspired you growing up, especially as you pursued a career in technology?


My biggest inspiration was my mother. She originally worked in science but transitioned to finance. She was unapologetically herself and achieved her goals authentically.


While there weren’t many Asian women in tech during my childhood that I could look up to, my mother’s example showed me that I could pave my own path.


Moving into your education, you attended NYU. What influenced your decision to study computer science there?


I wanted to attend a university that offered ample opportunities.


Although the college application journey was challenging, I was happy to be accepted into NYU.


It’s important to have the confidence to aim high and apply to schools that align with your aspirations.


 How did you first start learning to code?


I began coding at a summer camp during high school. My brother was into programming, so I decided to try it out and found myself enjoying it.


I remember creating my first game, making art for the game, and loving the process of bringing my ideas to life through code.

Charlotte Lin's current hack setup.

Can you tell us about the challenges you faced during your university years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic?


Overall, I had a positive experience at NYU. I spent a year learning online during the height of the pandemic, which was a significant adjustment.

I was very fortunate to not have, directly experienced racism. But I think hearing about it was scary.

At the time, there was a man who was going around our campus and specifically targeting young Asian women, and an NYU student got attacked near my dorm.


So during that time, I felt afraid to go outside. So I think that was difficult, but I think there was like enough community support that I still felt strong even during those difficult times.

Aside from COVID, I think there was still always this pressure that I put on myself to prove that I was
good in my classes.


I think being a woman in technology, I was usually among the few girls in my classes. I ended up getting really stressed about being the best at everything because I didn’t want it to reflect badly on women as a whole I wouldn’t recommend doing that.


I think that girls should know that we’re good enough as we are and that we don’t need to overwork ourselves to prove that we can be good at coding.


Your projects, like Taskpet, showcase your creativity. How do you approach blending art and technology in your work? What fuels your creativity?


 I’ve always enjoyed art and storytelling, which I integrate into my coding projects.


Hackathons have been a great platform for me to combine these interests and create innovative projects.


It’s almost like no one wants to invest in junior talent. What advice do you have for young graduates entering this current tech job market?


My advice would be to create a personal brand to differentiate yourself. For example, I always try to emphasize my creativity and use that to my advantage.


My ability to sort of combine art and storytelling and design with analytics and engineering, I like to think that makes me unique and memorable.


So I would say find out what makes you unique and memorable and just lean into that.


I think that all the new grads out there should know that if you’re having trouble getting a job in tech, you’re not alone. It doesn’t mean that you’re less worthy or not good enough. It’s just challenging right now.


You’re one of MLH’s top 50 hackers. So many people of color want to get into tech and start coding but the problem is accessibility. What advice would you give to people who are trying to build their tech skills?


I would say be yourself and don’t let anyone change who you are.


Because that inner confidence will be your guiding light through the hard times. I think as an underrepresented group you are going to face difficult times.


But if you’re believing in yourself and continuing to have that inner confidence, that will help you a lot.


Another thing I would say is to code what you want to code. If you want to make fun apps for your friends, do it. Or if you want to make like cute, quirky games, do it.


I don’t think you should put yourself into a box. Especially if that box does not inspire you to learn and grow continuously.


What do you think companies can do to foster more diversity? We should be seeing more black and brown people in all these tech spaces. 


I think there needs to be more diversity in leadership, there needs to be just general shifts in culture. 


For example, companies can hire women, but the woman might just leave if they feel that the environment is still too toxic.


So there needs to be that culture shift. I think there needs to be enough people within the company who actually want things to change.


Another thing is I think people need to be more accepting of diversity and personality as well. I feel like a lot of underrepresented people have this pressure to conform to the majority in order to be successful.


They almost feel like they have to act a certain way or be a certain way. I think if we’re more accepting of people’s personalities, that would just lead to more diversity.


Right now I’m extremely lucky right now to be working on a team that’s very inclusive, and diverse and they’ve never made me feel unsupported.


So I think if other teams were just open and supportive like mine, I think the entire industries could turn around.


Thank you so much, Charlotte, for sharing your journey and insights with the FCDC.


Thank you for interviewing me!

Connect with Charlotte on Linkedin

Jadesola Kareem

Passionate about content and diversity, Jadesola is a content writer. In her free time, with a cup of coffee in hand, she binges on reality shows.

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