I’m proud to say I’m a Woman in Tech. I was the sole female on my Network Engineering course at college, which at first was quite daunting. At times, I felt that my male colleagues in college never saw me as an asset, until the day I received the highest test score in the class and their slight shock was apparent. Never underestimate a woman, guys.
I began to feel the importance of the Women in STEM movement even more at university, as there was more articulation of women in technology and more emphasis placed on the availability of careers and opportunities in this sector for women. It inspired me, I suddenly thought of being a female as having an advantage, being a trailblazer.
Don’t get me wrong, I have many good memories from over the years in this male-dominated field. My classmates forever helped me with any problems and encouraged me to achieve my goals, and vice versa.
I didn’t particularly feel disadvantaged in searching for a job compared to my male counterparts. Nevertheless, I pushed myself to complete online courses that increased my skillset and enhanced my practical knowledge in order to make me more noticeable in my field to employers.
As a woman, anything that can make you stand out from the crowd in this sector is worth undertaking.
I promoted myself on LinkedIn and, through this, was invited to be part of a Women in Networking segment by a recruitment company, allowing me to engage with other senior women in tech who provided valuable advice on how to obtain my first job in technology.
This job turned out to be the first female Network Engineer at Beeks Financial Cloud, where I have now worked for three months. It feels great being able to put the skills I learned at university into real practice. I get on well with my (male) team, and day by day, feel more confident in my abilities.
My favourite aspect of the job is being introduced to a wide variety of technologies – Beeks is forever expanding so there is a range of equipment to be configured and I am constantly being challenged. Within a few weeks of starting, I was being assigned tasks involving equipment that previously would’ve been alien to me. What might have been a monotonous task to others was something interesting to me, and I really enjoyed configuring this new piece of equipment.
I feel strongly about promoting women in STEM roles, and in technology in particular. I’m proud to be a part of this industry, and want to help other women climb the technological ladder. It’s important to impress upon girls at school that this isn’t a sector for men, and it isn’t boring. I want girls to be able to code, configure and connect. I aspire to help to change these preconceptions and make a difference in the representation of women in STEM.
Women currently make up 23% of those in core STEM occupations in the UK, and 15% of management roles in STEM. Because we are still in the minority, we often lack senior female mentors and role models in this field. It is therefore essential to seek these connections, as women in senior roles can give you the support you need; they’ve all been in your position before. Women want to help other women.
To other females in my position, training and job-seeking in a highly male-dominated environment, there are several tips I would recommend for obtaining a job in technology and making yourself heard in this industry.
LinkedIn is an incredibly useful tool for showing yourself off to potential employers, giving you more free reign than just a CV would alone. They can see your interests from the things you share, and the ability to grow your network is boundless.
As I mentioned, making connections with other women is invaluable. I attended a Women in IT event at university where I was introduced to other women in senior roles promoting women in technology to the new generation and thus made several connections.
Joining groups of likeminded professional women can be highly beneficial, and again LinkedIn is a great tool for this. I cannot highlight enough the importance of connecting with female role models.
It’s important to learn about a potential company before you apply, to decide if it’s the right fit for you. You want a company that will be supportive and has the potential to offer further opportunities to help you grow.
I was intent on working for a company that promoted Women in STEM. I came across a company on LinkedIn that had highlighted the importance of women in technology in a post about their new recruits. After some research, messages via LinkedIn, and an interview, this company became my new employer.
Never feel intimidated by the fact that you are the only woman – you should feel empowered by this. Yes, it can be daunting but keep your head held high and believe in your capabilities. Push yourself to be the best you can be.