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There is still a huge gender skills gap in the technology sector, and at CompanyNet we are serious about helping close it.
We spoke to Tracy McIntosh, our Training and Adoption Manager; Kate Dunbar, our Programme Director, and Rebecca Witt, our Skills Manager, to find out all about their careers in technology.
Rebecca: “My interest in IT started when I was in school. I took the typical route from high school, studying Computing, into university to study Computer Science (the only girl in my graduating class) and then into a programming job.”
Kate: “It wasn’t a very traditional route! I studied Music at school, then Information Studies – basically knowledge management – at university, before joining the National Sound Archive. My first graduate job was in an IT department, doing user training and support.
“I was a techie for five years and I loved it, but there were far fewer women in the sector then than there are now. I went to the launch of the Java programming language, and I was the only woman there!
“For a while I ran my own technology company, before becoming a project and programme manager for IT projects.”
Tracy: “I worked in admin for years, and was part of an IT project in my last organisation. I learned a lot, and when the project ended, I decided that I wanted to continue my growth in the IT sector – so I joined CompanyNet.”
Tracy: “The fact that there’s always more to learn – plus the chance to add value to people’s lives by making software that is usable and can have an impact.”
Rebecca: “There was always a variety of computers in various stages of disrepair in my house growing up. My dad used to play computer games on the PC with me when I was small. I used to visit his offices at the weekends when he had to work.
“That all encouraged me to take computing at school, where I found it was a subject I was good at.
“When at choosing university topics, I stuck with what school classes I had enjoyed, but it was my internships in the summers between first and second year, and then second and third year, that made me realise I wanted to be a programmer. I enjoyed the logic problems of it and the satisfaction when it worked.”
Kate: “It’s really important to me that I play a role in changes to technology as they happen. You only have to look at how far we’ve come since the first graphical user interfaces to see the dramatic change and impact technology is having. I want to be a part of that drastic change.”
Rebecca: “I really enjoy the job that I have now. I would like to continue in my current career, keeping up to date with as much of the new technology as possible. I would like my job to help bridge the skills gap in our local area, help more people find a path into the IT sector.”
Tracy: “I want to help others continually grow and learn. My role also opens doors to less typical IT professionals, such as school leavers on our apprenticeship programme, and women.”
Tracy: “Don’t let stereotypes dissuade you from a career in IT. It is a fast-moving sector with many different roles, and you won’t have to sit for hours coding if you don’t want to!”
Kate: “A workplace works better with a mix of people – men and women – so don’t think your femininity won’t work in your favour.
“Women’s soft skills are often stronger than men’s, and you can turn that to your best advantage. You may start off in a tech position, but you could find those skills help you end up in a management role, if that’s what you want.”
Rebecca: “The idea of potentially being the only woman shouldn’t scare you from trying. There are so many aspects of IT that range from exceptionally technical to more managerial – just try it, and if you don’t like it you can always move to a more suitable section of the sector.
“There are more women in IT every day and the only way to improve it more is to be one of those women to bridge the gap.”
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