I was lucky enough to attend the Women in IT Awards Dinner in London last week – a fantastic gathering of accomplished women and rising stars in the IT sector. So ‘how do I find the IT sector as a young, female recruit?’, someone asked me recently. Here goes.....
Clearly, there remains a significant gender imbalance within the IT sector. That said, entering any professional service with a degree in Maths and Management Science is likely to serve up a similar picture and the gender imbalance is just part of the landscape, although slowly changing. I suppose the challenges this provides gives even more incentive to choose a field one has a passion for. The lure of IT at Informed Solutions is that my work strikes the perfect balance of the personal and analytical - problem-solving, building something which works for users. Challenging, satisfying work.
Certainly, part of the changing culture within IT is the availability of role models. This is something that stood out to me at the Women in IT Awards and I’m lucky to also experience this within Informed Solutions; there are some great female role-models who have advanced into management roles from their initial recruitment as graduates.
A job in this sector isn’t all smooth-sailing. As a scrum master, there have been times where I am working in sessions and the only female within a 15-strong team. I admit that this was initially overwhelming, but the chance to talk these circumstances through with my colleagues and mentors Sara Di Domenico and Lizzie Stutchbury is an enormous help. I know that challenges such as this will arrive during my career in IT but the Women in IT Awards were a perfect reminder of the growing and enthusiastic number of women who are passionate leaders in our industry.
It’s important to me to work somewhere that invests in developing my skills. Informed Solutions welcomes undergrad placement students and also recruits a cohort of graduates every year. Development is taken seriously, with both on and off-the-job training, formal and informal learning opportunities and a strong focus on coaching from the outset.
The invitation to attend the Women in IT Awards Dinner was also part of that programme. Elizabeth Vega, our Group CEO was joined by colleagues from Informed and numerous senior guests from techUK, the Digital Leaders Network and client organisations. It was great to be able to get to know them better outside of our workplace and normal roles, as well as to network with the other attendees at the WiT Awards Dinner.
So, back to the question: “young, female and new to the IT sector – how does that work?”
In short, it can work very well if you make the right choices. That includes picking a supportive, development-focussed leadership team and work environment, in which colleagues practice professional, respectful ways of working together, and where role-models make the time to offer you formal and informal coaching and mentoring.
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