I’ve been reading a lot about women in IT recently. The real fact is we need more people choosing a career in IT but for some reason women are being put off. By encouraging more women into the industry we can bolster the numbers which are so badly needed.
So how did I get into IT
It started when my parents bought an Amstrad CPC6128 computer for the family. I completed all the games that we had at that time, so I started entering the lines of code in the back of the book which built simple games like breakout. This lead me to trying to understand the various commands and what they did as I had a lot of debugging to do.
The next thing I did was pester a local computer company who built computers from scratch and also installed networks, to take me on for the summer so I could get some proper experience and training on the hardware side. The theory behind this was that in order to program I needed to know a little about the hardware. This proved really useful for modules later on in university such as networking.
So before I went to university to do my computing degree I had some questions
You need to be good at maths
Actually this is a myth. What you need to be able to do is to think things through logically and problem solve. Sure maths helps with that, but it is not the be all and end all, and should not put you off.
It’s all about programming
I was not someone who spent hours at the computer as a kid, and was not even sure I liked programming, but I did a BTEC in computing instead of A-Levels and during that course we had modules on how you translate the customers requirements into a working piece of software. This opened my mind up to the world of business analysis and also gave me an understanding that there were a host of roles involved within IT, which, as long as you can understand how IT solutions were built, they were a possibility. So even if after 4 years off university I was still not loving the programming aspect, I could still move into other areas within IT.
The one thing I will say about programming is “stay with it”. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing someone else using something you helped develop, and in a geeky way, a certain pride when you solve a problem and get a piece of software to work the exact way the end users want. It’s ok if it does not click with you immediately, everybody picks things up at different speeds.
I won’t really get to interact with people
Actually you are constantly interacting with people and it’s not all instant messages. As a developer you need to interact with other developers on the team as the different components people are working on need to work together. As a Business Analysts or tester you need to interact with the developers and also the customer on a daily basis.
A typical day for a developer involves a variety of things including, working ideas through on white boards, talking to the end users and generally communicating with other team members on the work you are doing and of course programming.
Also for the teams I work on, I place a ban on instant messages and emails as face to face is always a more efficient way to problem solve and give updates even if it is over video chat.
It’s a dull environment
This could not be further from the truth. If you went into some of the meeting rooms after I have been in them you would reach for your sunglasses as there is usually a vast array of multi coloured post-its all over the walls and windows by the time I have finished. A lot of the stuff I tend to do on a daily basis is creative and there is always some new technology or technique being used. This makes the environment exciting and gives me the opportunity to try new things out.
The people I work with also have loads of other hobbies apart from IT. You can find everything from digital photography to sailing, which means we don’t talk about nerdy topics all day long. We also do all inclusive post work activities such as Tag Rugby and Bootcamp which gives us an opportunity to get to know one another outside work.
And as a women …. It’s a male environment
I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good male and female role modals. I have always had opportunities to air my ideas, and these have been listened too an acted upon and I’ve never once felt that I’m working in a male dominated environment. I really enjoy the creativity and the fact that no one day is the same.
Regardless if you are male or female if you love problem solving and being challenged, and I mean that in a good way, a career in IT is something you should consider.