Tiffany Brynn | Achieving the Nielsen Norman UX Certification

Women In Tech


Statistics show that the vast majority of developers are male, a whopping 91.5% according to a 2020 survey from Statista. A report from Honeypot shows us that women held an underwhelming 24.61% of all tech jobs in the US in 2018. TrustRadius finds that 26% of women report the ratio of men to women in tech is 5:1, while 72% of women in tech say they are outnumbered by men in business meetings by at least a 2:1 ratio. When it comes to the tech giants, GAFAM: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, they show a less than 25% female workforce.

With that being said, we are proud to say that team XDS is over 50% women. Our female XDSers range from developers to digital producers, designers, strategists, analysts, and marketers. As a company, our goal is to have a diverse and empowering culture which is why we support employees who strive for excellence in self-education and show dedication to learn and grow in their area of expertise.


UX Certification from  Nielsen Norman Group

Nelson Norman Group - UX CERTIFIED emblem
When Tiffany, Director, UX & Design showed interest in attaining her UX certification and honing her skills and knowledge in user experience, we were happy to oblige. Tiffany successfully completed a rigorous course and obtained her UX certification from  Nielsen Norman Group for User Experience and User Experience Management Specialty. This status demonstrates a high level of dedication to UX education, and a strong commitment to the field of UX. Well done Tiffany!


What Does It Take For Women To Succeed In Tech?

A report from TechCrunch shows that 74% of girls express a desire for a career in STEM fields yet few actually pursue it after graduating college. Another source highlights that women in tech often don’t stay in tech. With the tech industry struggling to be diverse and severely lacking in females, we asked Tiffany to weigh in on her tech journey. We hope this inspires other young women to aspire to achieve their career goals in the tech field.


Q: Women are vastly underrepresented in tech, what inspired you to go into the field of UX?

Tiffany: “For me, UX was the perfect mixture of tech and creative disciplines. It gave me the ability to collaborate with developers while working along-side creatives. It was the best of both worlds.”

Tiffany started her tech journey with a degree in graphic design but went on to explore User Experience Design. While graphic design focuses on visual elements like typography, color theory, and design, UX is geared toward how the user interacts with the design and how successful that interaction is. User Experience Designers are problem solvers and need to meet the needs of the user with both form and function. UX designers are proficient in creating things like wireframes, site maps, and flows. Tiffany has been a great asset to XDS due to her wide knowledge base and experience working within multiple segments of design.


Q: What helped you succeed in tech?

Tiffany: “I was fortunate enough to have worked with 2 female developers early in my career at Evening Post Industries. They took me under their wing, mentored me, and wanted to see me succeed, learn and grow. Working with them & having hands-on training in technical SEO and WordPress development gave me the confidence I needed to keep pushing myself in this industry. I also pride myself on taking control of my future by self-educating and taking every opportunity to learn that crosses my path. I’ve taken tons of online courses to stay on top of my game, up on industry trends and updates, and to always challenge myself to learn and grow. I have also joined several groups + networking organizations (including Charleston Women In Tech – an amazing resource for young women in Charleston, SC!). I completed a mentorship program with CWIT after college and I always had someone to support me through this organization, answer my questions, and offer advice. They guided and inspired me to map out my career goals and journey. Through these programs, education, and experience, I gave myself the confidence and knowledge to have a voice and succeed in a male-dominated industry.”

Resources for women in tech: 

  • Women Who Code is a membership-based organization that develops training seminars for developing soft and technical skills in the workplace.
  • Women Making Waves is a global community for women who are looking for self-acceptance and happiness on their own terms.
  • MotherCoders is reinvigorating the tech industry by helping mothers land the tech job of their dreams.
  • Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology.
  • Girls in Tech is a global community that has chapters in almost every major city that host everything from coding boot camps to networking events and mentorship programs.
  • ARA (Attract Retain Advance) offers women the chance to network with others in the IT-related fields through a consistent series of events and programs.
  • Tech Women is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Meetup is a fantastic resource for women to discover their own tech communities and network with like-minded individuals.
  • Elpha is an online social and professional networking site that lets users tap into different tech communities.
  • Girl Develop is an organization that offers hands-on programs that teach women professional skills for software development and supports a diverse network of women in STEM.
  • Ladies Get Paid is a woman-centric platform that offers tools, resources, and networks that help women to negotiate for equal pay and influence in the workplace.
  • Change Catalyst is an organization focused on diversity in tech for women and minorities —
  • Girlboss  is a social media platform that lets women build profiles, share their accomplishments, and network with other tech leaders.
  • Girl Geek connects and inspires women in tech.
  • Ada’s List is an email-based community, where members are encouraged to share their views about STEM topics, alert others to job opportunities, announce new tech events and offer mentorship to other members.


What has been your biggest hurdle in working in UX?

Tiffany: “It can sometimes be a challenge working on projects with external groups. While eventually I gain the respect and trust of the clients I am doing work for, there have been situations where I’ve had to work harder for equal respect. There is an inherent initial assumption that women can’t speak to technical aspects of a project, which means additional efforts on my end to prove myself. But again, I’m confident in my knowledge and skillset & that becomes apparent very quickly.”

Build your confidence, here are some blogs and female tech leaders to follow.


What advice do you have for young women interested in tech?

Tiffany: “Do what you love, and challenge yourself to go above and beyond what is required of you. Knowledge, confidence, and experience are your most powerful tools to get ahead. Seek out mentors, self-education + online courses, and networking groups. Surround yourself with like-minded people who want to support you on your journey, and most importantly, take your success into your own hands. Make a plan, set goals, and don’t take any opportunity for granted.”

Ready to get your tech on? Here are some great courses and academies to explore.


More Advice from some of our Female Tech-XDSers

YI, Digital Producer 

What helped me succeed in tech is my amazing teammates. They are all extremely intelligent, approachable, and genuine; everyone goes above and beyond to help one another. We all teach, empower, and root for each other. My advice for young women interested in tech is to be relentless, helpful, and genuine. Always say yes to a new opportunity because even if you fail, you will fail forwards. Always raise your hand when someone needs help or when you need help. And lastly, always be genuine to everyone and (project) manage from the heart.

Amy, Director, Digital Production

After I graduated from college, it was hard to find a job, so I found myself working at my father’s dental office.  I insisted he made a website for his practice, so I downloaded a template and figured out how to “edit” the website enough to make him his first website.  From there, I wanted to actually learn how to do things the right way, so I enrolled myself in graduate school and earned a degree in Web & Multimedia Design. I left grad school with a foundation of knowledge surrounding a full lifecycle of a project and really wanted to go into web development. I somehow found myself managing web design projects instead, as opposed to being an actual developer, to get my foot in the door, and I fell in love with project management.  I guess I can thank the difficult job market after college for my journey! What has helped me succeed in tech is the ability to adapt, strategize, move quickly, and be open to learning from my peers. My advice to young women interested in tech is to go for it! You can do anything you set your mind to. (edited) 

Ashley, Web Developer

I was inspired to go into tech because I love creating something from nothing. I’ve been interested in web development since I built my first website back in 1995. I’ve been following my curiosity about tech ever since. It’s very rewarding. I’ve been very lucky to find positions that would allow me to fail and grow. And I’ve somehow always worked with developers who were incredible mentors. I didn’t start doing web development professionally until I was nearly 40. My biggest obstacle is time. As an older developer, it’s difficult to learn new technologies and practice new skills in my own time because I have lots of other responsibilities outside of my job. I think it would’ve been easier to progress faster if I had started in tech as a young, single person right out of school. I have lots of tech interests and it’s hard to make the time to devote to them. My advice to young women in tech is to find good mentors & reach out to other women in tech.  Also, don’t be scared off by the negative press about the tech industry.  There are lots of tech companies trying to lead the charge in creating more inclusive & supportive work environments, and XDS is one of them.

Mallory, Web Developer

So far in my career, I’ve been very lucky to work with diverse teams full of people from all different walks of life. I don’t think I could ever work for a company that didn’t celebrate that – so if you find yourself working in a place where you feel devalued or in any way disadvantaged because of your gender, move on as quickly as possible. Women bring so much to the tech world – any company that doesn’t recognize that isn’t worth your time. Find a place that gives you room to grow.



Aside from our resourcefulness, resolve, drive, and resilience combined with the utmost professionalism, our dedicated and highly experienced team has a hands-on approach and a relenting commitment to success. Meet The Team.