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Sarah Lewis – IT Testimonial

I am one of the many people who just fell into IT to be honest.  In fact, I am currently running a Women in Tech Survey and initial results are showing nearly half of the women interviews (who work in IT), just fell into their IT jobs!

Anyway, my story is that I was looking for a new challenge and change of environment.  The employment agency recommended an admin job in an IT department for a software company.  I have to say, I was not excited at the prospect as I imagined it to be a very “male” environment and that it would probably not be for me, I really didn’t want to work in an “IT Crowd” type of environment!

However, I went along for the interview and when I arrived I was very surprised to see one of the interviewers was a lady.  Almost immediately I felt more at ease knowing that, if I was to get the job, I would not be the only female in the department.  There is a lot to be said for having women on the interview panel and it was a smart move by the hiring IT Manager nearly 18 years ago!

Anyway, I really enjoyed the interview, liked the idea of this interesting new challenge and he rest is history as they say!

By Sarah Lewis, Founder of The Techie Girls

Twitter: @LDSarahLewis, @TheTechieGirls

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Bekah Hawrot Weigel – IT Testimonial

I got into coding because I was dealing with PTSD and my husband, a web developer recommended I try it.

When I coded, my brain stopped cycling the trauma I had been through. I found the group Moms Can: Code to support me in my motherhood and coding journey and the amazing program at Flatiron School to keep me engaged and part of a wonderful educational community.

And then all the pieces fit together to get me in tech.

 

By Bekah Hawrot Weigel

Twitter: @BekahHW
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#DoIT – Testimonials

Throughout this week of #DoIT, there have been many posts from me to say why I have personally chosen to do IT as a career, and why I think you should also. But today, there will be several women telling you why they choose to #DoIT.

If you’d be interested in learning more, sharing your story or simply just connecting, feel free to get in touch via social media or leave comment 🙂

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#DoIT – Diversity

10% of IT A-level students are females. 20% of Computer related degree graduates are females.

Many people ask me what can we do to increase the amount of females within the technology industry… I simply reply reach out to younger generations and encourage them to pursue it. This is one of the reasons I’ve created this blog and this is the aim behind this campaign is to try to inspire and encourage girls that STEM and IT is possible for them.

Only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women.

Diversity stretches further than female/male ratio, in the USA not many businesses have Latino, Black, or other racial identities beyond 4% of their total employees, Forbes wrote a good article on this, read here.

Social media is providing an amazing support network for anybody who feels that they are a minority within the industry, there are many Women In Tech chats, Moms Who Code, @BlackGirlsCode etc. If you’d like to be connected to any of these through Twitter, then let me know and I can help make that happen!

I’d love to have the answers to what can be done to improve upon these statistics, but I’m encouraged that we are at least moving in the right direction. For me, to improve diversity it is all about creating a good level of communication, and achieving an equal status. Treat others as you would want to be treated.

If anybody has any thoughts or theories upon this subject and how we as individuals can help, it would be great to hear, so say it in the comments or social media 🙂

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#DoIT – Jobs

It wasn’t until I started looking for my placement year jobs that I learnt what roles in IT actually were and what was expected. The IT industry is so vast, just saying you work “in tech” doesn’t really narrow it down! For me personally, I think IT jobs are split into three types: 1) Hardware, 2) Software, 3) Business-Facing (which is what my placement and graduate job is in, as I identify myself more as a people person)

It is good to understand a bit about different jobs in IT and to do work experience, which innovative apps such as Placer, can help you with! But how do you know what to apply for if you don’t know what the job role is all about?

Target Postgrad, have come up with a brilliant explanation of different IT job roles and responsibilities, see below a selection or you can view the full article here.

1)Hardware

Technical Support: These are the professional troubleshooters of the IT world. Many technical support specialists work for hardware manufacturers and suppliers solving the problems of business customers or consumers, but many work for end-user companies supporting, monitoring and maintaining workplace technology and responding to users’ requests for help. Some lines of support require professionals with specific experience and knowledge, but tech support can also be a good way into the industry for graduates.

Network Engineer: Network engineering is one of the more technically demanding IT jobs. Broadly speaking the role involves setting up, administering, maintaining and upgrading communication systems, local area networks and wide area networks for an organisation. Network engineers are also responsible for security, data storage and disaster recovery strategies. It is a highly technical role and you’ll gather a hoard of specialist technical certifications as you progress. A telecoms or computer science-related degree is needed.

2)Software

Software Engineer: The work of a software engineer typically includes designing and programming system-level software: operating systems, database systems, embedded systems and so on. They understand how both software and hardware function. The work can involve talking to clients and colleagues to assess and define what solution or system is needed, which means there’s a lot of interaction as well as full-on technical work. Software engineers are often found in electronics and telecommunications companies. A computing, software engineering or related higher degree is often needed.

Web Developer: Web development is a broad term and covers everything to do with building websites and all the infrastructure that sits behind them. The job is still viewed as the trendy side of IT years after it first emerged. These days web development is pretty technical and involves some hardcore programming as well as the more creative side of designing the user interfaces of new websites. The role can be found in organisations large and small.

3)Business-Facing

Business Analyst: Business analysts are true midfielders, equally happy talking with technology people, business managers and end users. They identify opportunities for improvement to processes and business operations using information technology. The role is project based and begins with analysing a customer’s needs, gathering and documenting requirements and creating a project plan to design the resulting technology solution. Business analysts need technology understanding, but don’t necessarily need a technical degree.

Technical Consultant: The term ‘consultant’ can be a tagline for many IT jobs, but typically technical consultants provide technical expertise to, and develop and implement IT systems for, external clients. They can be involved at any or all stages of the project lifecycle: pitching for a contract; refining a specification with the client team; designing the system; managing part or all of the project; after sales support… or even developing the code. A technical degree is preferred, but not always necessary.

Project Manager: Project managers organise people, time and resources to make sure information technology projects meet stated requirements and are completed on time and on budget. They may manage a whole project from start to finish or manage part of a larger ‘programme’. It isn’t an entry-level role: project managers have to be pretty clued up. This requires experience and a good foundation of technology and soft skills, which are essential for working with tech development teams and higher-level business managers.

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#DoIT – Money

Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but in an increasingly commercial world where materialistic objects are a trophy of wealth it is hard not to desire to earn well.

Where I live the house prices are growing rapidly, and I’m an hour outside London in a tiny town with no train station and 20 minutes from a motorway… so how am I supposed to get onto the property ladder without moving elsewhere? The answer is #DoIT

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t right that you can earn more money in corporate companies than working within the NHS or Education system, but that is how it is currently. On average the salary within the technology industry in the UK is £62,500.

As was mentioned in the theme of Education yesterday, “Subject choice can make a big difference”, take a look at the graph below demonstrating which graduates earn the most five years after graduating (taken from a BBC article).

mediansalary

Tech may be trendier than banking, but it looks like its salaries are beginning to catch up too.

Take a look at this list of the top salaries within the UK Tech Industry (from this article):

topjobs

Money isn’t everything, but the technology industry is unique in the fact that you don’t have to have gone to university to succeed and earn well, it may not seem like it but it is also an exciting, ever-changing industry with a lot of opportunities and is necessary in every company and organisation around the world.

If you desire to have flexibility in your work/life balance, job types and sectors, whilst  earning a very good salary, then #DoIT!

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#DoIT – Education

School curriculum changes depending on the country, the government, what county you are in and what kind of school you go to… but whichever circumstances you are in, you should do IT/Computing and this is why:

You will need technology skills in whatever job you do, whether you are working in a supermarket and need to learn how the tills work and the stocking systems, to working in an office where 9 to 5 each day you will need to know how to competently and professionally reply to emails and pick up new IT software skills to improve your job. Although the GCSE’s and A-levels may not be as advanced as you would hope, it is still a great foundation for you to build your skill and often schools are creating more opportunities, read here.

Just 20% of Computing Science GCSE’s are female, falling to 10% at A-level

An article by Clare McDonald, read here, explores the lack of females taking Computing GCSE and A-level, that relays onto higher education where on average under 20% on a IT course at university are girls. If you were one of the girls to go through GCSE, A-level and university doing IT you stand a much better chance at getting a graduate job.

Standing out is good, IT is an exciting to get involved in. If you want to learn more about what it means to take IT/Computing at GCSE and A-level, I encourage you to take a look at these BBC Bitesize pages which are free and can give you a bit of an overview of what to expect: https://www.bbc.com/education/subjects/z34k7ty

Don’t be overwhelmed by what you think computer science, computing or IT is, take time to find out and ask your teacher’s opinions on whether you think you’d enjoy it. Fight back if somebody says you can’t do it if you aren’t good at maths or science, that is OK, I was not strong in those subjects either and I achieved a First Class degree in Computing… I did Art, English Literature and History alongside my ICT A-level, which meant I couldn’t meet the entry requirements to some universities. But actually it has helped me, because I am able to write reports at work and understand better user experience and colour schemes of apps etc. Don’t worry that you aren’t good enough to do well in IT!

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#DoIT

So what’s this all about? What is #DoIT?

#DoIT is a campaign aiming to encourage and inspire to go into IT/STEM and to create a network through a platform for women to meet likeminded women to gain confidence that they can #DoIT!

Throughout the week Monday 30th July – Friday 2nd August, we will be uploading blog posts related to a different theme each day!

So keep your eyes on us 👀👩🏻‍💻