»It's one of the most terrifying things I've done«

»It's one of the most terrifying things I've done«

Miria Emma Clausen Knudsen is 26 years old, a consultant, and they are non-binary. They have started to openly declare this at their workplace, but they look forward to the day when this is no longer necessary. Ultimately, they just want to be a person like everyone else.

Inside the new MacBook M1, there are 16 billion transistors. Each transistor can flip-flop between 1 and 0 - no power or full power. It's very binary, by definition. But that's where the binary aspect of tech ends.

»The great thing about software is that it’s logic-based, but there are 100 different ways to approach it,« says Miria Emma Clausen Knudsen, who is a scrum master at Netcompany and is currently building the new Jobnet. There are hundreds of correct ways to do this. The blend of black and white and artistic elements is something Miria has embraced since childhood.

Computers and Art from Childhood

Miria grew up in Trørød near Vedbæk. Their father worked in communication, and their mother was a music school principal. Miria played a flute in a quartet for 13 years, and when they weren’t doing that, they sat in front of a computer.

»My father always had the latest fancy computer. When it got too old, my brother got it, and when my brother replaced his, I got the old one. All three of us would play Call of Duty 2 together. I also built a super-Nintendo emulator so I could play super-Nintendo on my mother’s computer,« Miria explains.

Miria could have taken two paths: music or engineering, and it was not obvious that one way was better than the other. They took programming at the C-level in high school and “hated” it. But when they later studied physics at the University, their friend posed them a good question.

»’What if we switch to software? We’re going to do the same thing in the end, we’ll just get a better starting salary.’«

In Trørød, there were plenty of woods and fields, and there Miria developed a love for nature.

Miria did just that, and they quickly found out that tech was far less black and white than suggested by its facade.

»I remember we had to program a game of checkers. We were four working on it, and we could run it exactly the way we wanted. That’s when I felt that I wanted to go down the path of tech.«

The journey from there to Netcompany was relatively short.

»It was a running joke at DTU that everyone ends up at Netcompany. But I actually actively sought the job (as a student, ed.), because if everyone ends up here, there must be something to it.«

A World of Tech

Miria started at Netcompany in 2021. At that time, they were still a student and had not yet changed their name. They still introduced themselves as a woman, even though they identified as non-binary.

»It was still very new and scary at that time.«

However, it didn’t take long before they made an active choice.

»I said ‘fuck it’ – now I’m coming out as a non-binary person. It’s one of the most terrifying things I’ve done, but people have been very open.«

»I said 'that's it' - now I'm coming out as a non-binary person. It's one of the most terrifying things I've done, but people have been very open«

Miria Emma Clausen Knudsen

Around that time, Miria met with a friend and colleague at a Client Engagement Seminar. They joked that they were the only two LGBTQ+ members in the company.

»We obviously weren’t, but it wasn’t clear who else was. So I wrote to him ‘what if we start a group for members of the community?’ And so we did.«

Miria started the ERG group LGBTQ+ and Allies and found out that they were not the only ones from the LGBTQ+ community in the company. Today, the group has around 15 members, and its goal is to reduce discrimination and strengthen internal communication about inclusion and tolerance.

»In elementary school, it was the popular kid who said that beyblades were the cool thing. And then beyblades became the cool thing. And a company is just a big elementary school, socially speaking. It helps when the cool people in the office take the lead in creating an inclusive culture.«

That doesn’t mean it’s something that needs to be forced down people’s throats. It’s all about room for diversity, both within and outside the LGBTQ+ community.

»I don’t represent all people in the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone has their own experiences of being part of the LGBTQ+ community, and it means something different to everyone. I only really represent my own experience, my own identity.«

This logic also influences Miria’s work as a scrum master at Netcompany.

What it means to lead without 1s and 0s

At the Agency for Labor Market and Recruitment, where the new Jobnet is being built, Miria and their team are in the process of replacing a lot of legacy systems. “It’s very much ‘Out with the old, in with the new,'” as Miria puts it. “And it’s really exciting to work with people who don’t have the same methodology as you do.”

There are many correct ways to solve the same problem.

In their free time, Miria plays Dungeons & Dragons and comes up with their own character and backstory. It’s another way to weave freedom and diversity into their existence. It’s a common thread running through Miria’s life. And being completely free would ultimately mean no longer having to see themselves as “different.”

»A good workplace for me is just a place where everything doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.«

People still often come up to Miria, take hold of them, and say that they are proud – or the opposite. But that’s not the end goal Miria is seeking.

»I understand where they’re coming from. But in the end, I also just want to be a face in the crowd.«