Ten techniques to combat stress and anxiety at work

Stressed woman suffering from a burnout

Article provided by Liz Walker, HR Director, Unum

Practice mindfulness

Many of the techniques mentioned involve mindfulness, which is a popular method of combatting anxiety. Mindfulness can stop you worrying by bringing your attention back to the present through acknowledging your worries and letting them go.

Mindfulness allows you to get in touch with your emotions and recognise how you feel.

Take a step back

Viewing thoughts and worries as if they are show or film you're observing can be a good way to disconnect yourself from them and to finally put them out of your mind.

Accept strange thoughts

We all have strange thoughts from time to time, such as 'what if I scream during a presentation?'. These thoughts are natural and will jump out from time to time. When this happens instead of focusing on it, describe it to yourself as the curiosity it is and move on. Remember, our minds are creative with lots of little thoughts floating about.

Recognise false alarms

Everyone has the sudden worry they didn't lock the front door or left the iron on, however rarely do these things actually materialise. When you find yourself thinking along these lines and notice your body responding with a rapid heartbeat, recognise the situation for what it is. Acknowledge the thoughts and sensations but let them pass.

Positive Self Talk

Often, we're far harder on ourselves than we would be on others. Try to talk positively to yourself rather than putting yourself down, like you would if you were talking to a child or friend who was nervous. Telling yourself phrases such as 'this feeling will pass' and 'I will be ok' could help to reassure you and reduce stress or worry.

Set Aside Worry Time

Sometimes worries can niggle at us and prevent us from doing things we should be doing. When this happens jot down the reason you're feeling anxious and resolve to think it through later. By the time you get to doing that it's likely many of the worries you've noted won't be an issue anymore.

Question Your Thoughts

Feeling anxious can make our thoughts spiral out of control and think outlandish things. When you find this happening try to question your thoughts by asking yourself such questions as 'is this worry realistic?' and 'what is the worst possible outcome and would it really be that bad?'.

Learn to Say No

Don't take on too much, if you're overloaded with work and extremely busy but given more work, try to push back. Talking to your boss about the situation will give them a better understanding of your workload and could allow you to push back deadlines or receive some help with a task.

Keep Track

Keep a diary for a week or two to track which situations make you feel most stressed and how you respond to them. Record your thoughts and feelings and what you did as a result; this can help you find out what situations make you stressed and your reactions to it.

Talk About It

Voicing your concerns, worries or feelings to an attentive and trusted listener can feel very cathartic. The person you speak to doesn't have to 'fix' things, just listen to you even if it doesn't change the situation.

binary code, data scientist featured

Women in tech - the why, what and how of building a career in data science

binary code, data scientist

By Joanna Hu, Principal Data Scientist, Exabeam

With a growing number of organisations recognising the financial, social and cultural benefits of recruiting more women into data science, isn’t it time to explore the opportunities on offer?

Like many women who graduate with a tech degree, it took me a couple of years to figure out that data science was my niche. Thankfully, I eventually found my way and went on to forge a rewarding career in this exciting field.

With advancements like machine learning and big data now in the frame, I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to discoveries and solve real-world problems in healthcare, energy, and now – as principal data scientist at Exabeam – the cybersecurity industry.

I’m not alone in thinking that data science is a rewarding field to work in. Based on overall job satisfaction scores, the role of data scientist is ranked #7 in the Glassdoor ’25 best jobs in the UK for 2019’ listing – with an average base salary of £46K.

A long heritage

Historically, women have made a significant contribution to the evolution of computer science.  Before the invention of electronic computers, women were more prominent in the computer science field, and contributed a lot to the invention of the first electronic computers.  As well as Joan Clarke, who worked alongside Alan Turing to crack the Enigma cyphers during WW2, the other female codebreakers at Bletchley included Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever and Ruth Briggs.

More recently, there’s been trailblazers like Dame Steve Shirley, who first embarked on a technical career at the prestigious Post Office Research Station in Dollis Hill, where the Colossus codebreaking computers used at Bletchley were created. Founding her own software company in 1962, her team of female freelancers would go on to undertake many cutting-edge projects – including programming the black box flight computer used in Concorde.

Today, a new generation of women are forging their futures within the tech sector. Coming from a diversity of backgrounds, they’re making great strides in the field of data science – and many have done so without an initial background in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

A field rich with opportunities

Make no mistake, data scientists are in high demand. A recent study found that 80 per cent of UK businesses are looking to hire a data scientist in 2019, and IBM estimates that by 2020 the demand for data scientists and analysts will leap by 28 per cent.

That said, while women represent 47 per cent of the UK workforce, they only hold around 19 percent of all available tech jobs. Clearly, it’s time to redress the balance.

That’s certainly the opinion of bodies like the Alan Turing Institute and organisations like the International Women’s Day (IWD) movement. Indeed, the IWD #BalanceforBetter 2019 campaign is making great strides in changing hearts and minds – by showcasing how women in tech are achieving impressive outcomes for themselves and others.

The good news is a growing number of companies now acknowledge there are significant gains to be won by addressing the issue of gender inequality in their tech workforces. As a result, they’re eager to hire more female data scientists. Indeed, Gartner projects that in the next three years, both women and men will equally populate the role of chief data officer (CDO).

Why companies want more women in data jobs

Research organisations like McKinsey have found that highly diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform those that are not gender diverse. Alongside enhanced financial performance, reports by analysts such as Morgan Stanley, McKinsey and Gartner confirm that having more women in the tech workforce creates a more cooperative and collaborative atmosphere.

Their research findings also highlight how women are more aware of risk, which in the field of big data is a major plus. What’s more, women tend to excel at communication, team nurturing and problem-solving—all vital qualities when working in the field of data, where outcomes depend on asking the right questions, and listening to the answers.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, the research findings illustrate how women are strong advocates for data-driven decisions and tend to be more solution-oriented than male counterparts.

I’m not a rocket scientist – can I make it in data science?

Absolutely. If you’re a curious person, are passionate about innovation, and have an interest in technology, then this may well be the career for you. Stephanie Glen’s recent blog – charting her life-changing journey from office cleaner to data scientist – highlights that as far as she’s concerned, a love of logic problems is the most important pre-requisite for the job.

Typically, the skill sets required include math, statistics, coding and system design. But, as a recent article in CIO magazine highlights, exacting true business value from data requires a unique combination of skills that includes storytelling and intuition.

Truth is, women with a passion for learning who want to try something new will find there’s a number of big-name tech companies out there that only too ready to help you develop the digital skills you need to embark on a career in data science. Plus, there are organisations like Girl Geeks that are proactively supporting women to enter and progress in the field.

Top tips?

If you’re already working in the tech field, or are ‘data science’ curious, then teach yourself the data science knowledge and network as much as you can.  Before deciding this was the path I wanted to commit to, I spent time talking to people about their work, went on workshops, joined weekend meetups and tried out small projects from the online courses.

These days, there are lots of resources available to women who want to make a go at it in this field. Find out about which new tools you’ll need to learn, then use your free time to hone your skills – pretty soon, you’ll become an expert.

When it comes to seeking out new job opportunities, follow good companies and people rather than high salaries. Ideally, you’ll want to work for companies that have intelligent leaders and care about their female talent. Most importantly, hunt down a great mentor and commit to continuously learning from superiors and peers.

Finally, believe in yourself and, no matter what roadblocks you face on the journey, don’t let anyone limit your potential.

Joanna HuAbout the author

Joanna has rich industrial working experience within data mining and big data analysis for healthcare institutions, energy companies, and retailers. Through her work she aims to help them identify frauds, predict risk and outcome, reduce cost, and estimate product qualities.

Joanna has a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in Nanotechnology and a Ph.D. from University of Michigan in computational earth sciences. Before joining Exabeam in 2015 as a senior data scientist she worked at Ayasdi as a data scientist building and improving algorithms for client healthcare institutions to produce the best treatments for patients. Since October 2018 Joanna has been principal data scientist at Exabeam.

Why dyslexia shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving great things | Sheridan Ash

Sheridan Ash leads on technology and innovation, and women in technology, at PwC. She is also the founder of Tech She Can. 

It is hard to imagine a more unpromising start to a career in technology.

I left school aged 16 with no qualifications, as well as undiagnosed dyslexia. I was a single mother in my early 20s. Pulling together a few savings, and with the help of friends and family, I decided to invest in my education as I needed a long-term career that would provide security for me and my son. With a lot of hard work and the support of some amazing people, I began to acquire qualifications: ‘A’ levels, a degree and eventually an MBA at Imperial College Business School where I became interested in technology.

I have worked in a variety of roles, including in sales for a pharmaceutical firm, and as a technology management consultant for Accenture. At one time, I became an independent consultant working for a local authority in the North of England. I have a lot of experience of the challenges of using technology in the NHS and in pharma. Two things became increasingly clear to me. First, that technology was crucially important in shaping the modern world. Second, women and girls were severely underrepresented when it came to technology careers.

The absence of females in technology careers is more than just a case of bias, it is a critical issue for business and society. By involving women you not only get both the brainpower and insights of half the world’s population, but you also access their skills of creativity and collaboration which are essential in the world of today that is increasingly being shaped by technology.

When I joined PwC ten years ago, there were very few females in its technology workforce. But, over time, with lots of initiatives, and learning about what works and what doesn’t, we have doubled the percentage of women to over 30%

There is a fundamental issue around increasing this number though, for PwC and as well as other firms: the pipeline of girls and young women choosing technology subjects at school and university is persistently low. Research I commissioned found that only 27% of females would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males, and only 3% of the girls surveyed said technology would be their first career choice.

I established the TechSheCan Charter alongside some other passionate women from organisations such as RBS, Zoopla and Tesco, in 2018 to address these problems. There are now 150 organizations signed up to a Charter to further technology careers for women. And we have a female-friendly technology curriculum developed for school children being used in over 200 schools, and growing daily.

When I was younger I thought dyslexia was a barrier to working in technology, but what I’ve learnt is to utilise the things I’m good at to give me an advantage. I’m not an academic or a brilliant coder, but I’m innovative in how I look to solve problems, I have strong emotional intelligence, and favour collaborative ways of working. I’m also an immensely determined person, and its these skills and characteristics that have led to my success. When you are young you don't know what you don't know which is why it so important for me to make sure that girls and young women are educated and inspired whilst still at school about the possibilities of working in technology.

Not having a tech background, or even having a disability such as dyslexia, is not an obstacle to having a career in technology. What matters is being persistent in reaching the ambitions you have for yourself, and being passionate about developing your skills and using them to do good in the world.

About Sheridan

Sheridan’s career has taken anything but a conventional route, after leaving school at 16 with few qualifications, having undiagnosed dyslexia, she was spotted by an agent and entered the world of runway modelling. She completed her first degree in her 20s and has worked her way up ever since.

Sheridan commissioned PwC’s Women in Tech: Time to close the gender gap research which tells us that a lack of female role models in technology is a barrier to more females joining the sector, so Sheridan is personally playing her part in raising this issue, but also using her own experience to act as a role model by appearing in the media and at events to champion the benefits that an inclusive and diverse workforce can bring. This includes appearing on BBC News to discuss the importance of role models in technology.

Sheridan has more recently founded The Tech She Can Charter which is now backed by over 75 organisations.

Career in STEM

How robotics competitions can help get girls into STEM

As the Competition Support Manager for VEX Robotics in the UK, Bridie Gaynor has witnessed first-hand the positive impact educational robotics can have on primary and secondary students.

Bridie’s role requires her to travel frequently around the UK to facilitate the smooth running of local and regional events, with the competition season culminating every year for the VEX UK National Finals in March. These events are comprised of the VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) and the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC), designed respectively for schoolchildren at Key Stage 2 & 3 and Key Stages 3 to 5. Whilst VIQC robots are created by teams of students using plastic, snap-together parts, and VRC robots are built with metal & steel parts, both platforms feature impressive control systems, including a brain that can be programmed using VEXcode IQ Blocks (powered by Scratch Blocks) or VEXcode Text.

What is perhaps most striking about the competitions that Bridie attends is the increasing number of young females who are participating. At the 2019 VEX UK National Finals, more than 50 per cent of the 700 students competing were female, a highly promising figure considering the current STEM shortage and the level of engineering, programming and design skills required to compete. Bridie hopes that she can inspire even more females to take part in the future, as the events continue to grow in stature:

“It’s amazing to think just how many female students are getting involved in VEX competitions and at such a young age, particularly when you consider the lack of gender diversity in STEM industries."

"What makes VEX stand out from the crowd is the perfectly balanced practical and theoretical aspects of both the VEX IQ system and VEX EDR system."

"We need to be showing girls that engineering, coding and tech isn’t just for boys, it’s for everyone and there’s so many different avenues in STEM to discover.”

Having worked at VEX Robotics for over six years, Bridie has been part of the journey of several all-girls teams who have been successful in serving as ambassadors for STEM in the wider community, including East Barnet’s Girls of Steel and Welwyn Garden City’s Microbots, both of whom have shared their experiences with tech-industry heavyweights form across the globe.

With the growth of the VEX community and the increasing uptake of female students competing overall, Bridie says it’s important to have more women in leadership roles like her to inspire the future generations:

“What’s fantastic about my job is that I get to serve as something of a role model that girls can look up to."

"It’s great to be in a position where aspiring STEM students can see that women can really succeed in these industries and take charge of what is typically a male-dominated environment."

"I truly believe that robotics systems like VEX give females a chance to get involved in STEM in a fun, exciting and engaging capacity, whilst setting students up for future careers in STEM”.

About the author

Bridie Gaynor is the Competition Support Manager in the UK for VEX Robotics.

She is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Career in STEM

Apprenticeships: Championing alternative routes into STEM careers


It is widely known that the tech industry is made up of only 17 per cent women and that less girls study subjects in Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths (STEM).

Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

So with fewer females in the pipeline what are companies doing to attract students to join their firms and why would an A-Level student choose an apprenticeship in STEM rather than attend university?

We asked a selection of experts from technology and engineering to share their experiences of recruiting young people.

Jenny Taylor, ‎UK Graduate, Apprenticeship and Student Programme Manager at IBM, said: “We should of course not deter students from entering university, but we need to educate them about all the options available for their career path.”

Taylor said there is no denying that there is a lack of uptake across STEM subjects as well as a huge gender imbalance within industries requiring these skills.

“For many years now, only a small percentage of females have been attracted to working in the technology industry, and as leader of IBM’s graduate, student and apprenticeship programmes, I am passionate about addressing the situation. The business case for diversity in the workplace is very clear and at IBM we focus particularly on engaging and inspiring younger girls through our Girls' Schools' Outreach programme,” she said.

Taylor explained that one of IBM’s current employees - Sadie Hawkins - was inspired to join the IBM apprenticeship programme after attending one of the company’s school outreach events: “She then went on to achieve the National Apprentice of the Year Award 2013, which we are extremely proud of. Sadie is now an integral member of the team within our Global Business Services Division.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to encourage uptake in STEM disciplines and it is clear there needs to be more championing of alternative routes into successful roles with a clear career progression.”

Elaine Rowlands, Head of HR at PCMS, a retail technology developer, is just as passionate about apprenticeship programmes.

She said: “I am passionate about apprenticeships being a credible alternative to university for women looking to break into the tech world - particularly in a fast-paced industry like retail technology, where new products are shaping the consumer experience every day.

“Apprentices have an immediate edge by going straight into on-the-job training, gaining the real-life work experience essential to thrive in a competitive sector.”

Bradbury Group Ltd a UK manufacturer of steel doors, security grilles and cages and currently employees three female apprentices; two work in its technical department and another is a member of its marketing team.

Paul Sweeting, Technical Director at Bradbury Group Ltd, said: “Recruiting technical staff can be a struggle, so we want anyone — male or female — to feel that they’re welcome to join our team if they have the necessary skills or drive to learn.”

Sweeting said it can be difficult to find women for its technical roles, due to the lack of women coming through the pipeline: “It’s more difficult to find female candidates for our technical department, likely due to the fact that engineering has long been considered a male-oriented field.

“Therefore, we make an effort to encourage more women to consider a career in engineering. For example, we supported National Women in Engineering Day 2016 through our social media channels and website. Plus, we published two blog posts written by our female technical apprentices about their experiences with our company.”

Bradbury Group Ltd has been working on its strategy to recruit and retain young talent in general: “When we began recruiting apprentices, North Lindsey College helped us access and review potential students. We ran an open day and 20 students applied for positions. Six were successful and joined the Bradbury Engineering Academy, which our female apprentices are a part of.

“We recognise that these young people have become valuable assets to the company and we want to give them a career. Therefore, they’ll all be offered full-time jobs with us after completing their training.”

A new centre has opened in Oxfordshire aimed at tackling the skills shortages faced by technology and engineering companies in the area.

The centre will train 125 young people annually and is a joint venture between the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Training provider JTL has been appointed to manage the centre.

The training aims to create ‘work ready’ trainees, apprentice engineers and lab technicians through training in the workplace. As a not-for-profit, all funds are set to be invested back into delivering training.

David Martin, UKAEA’s Chief Operating Officer and ex-apprentice himself, said: “With the support of high tech sector companies in the area, Oxford Advanced Skills will help resolve the critical skills shortages we are currently experiencing. This venture highlights how seriously we take the need for exceptional quality young people making it into the workforce in this area.

“JTL has huge experience in providing work-based learning across England and Wales, with over 6,000 apprentices currently working towards qualifications with them across the building services engineering sector.”

Jon Graham is JTL’s Chief Executive, said: “These are really exciting times for apprentices in the Oxford area. We have been working in Oxfordshire for many years but decided recently that in order to be able to provide the quality of training that young people deserved we needed to launch our own training facilities, which we have now achieved with our premises at Culham.

“Through the work we do there and what UKAEA have seen while on site, it became obvious that there was an opportunity to expand our remit and join with UKAEA to develop this new facility, targeting exceptional young people who are needed by high technology companies operating in Oxford and the Thames Valley.”

IT short courses instead of apprenticeships

David Baker, Director of Datrix Training, said in today’s market we are saturated with technology, and IT skills are more important than ever.

He noted that in the competitive job market skills such as word-processing, using databases, spreadsheets, using the Internet, social media & email and even designing rudimentary self-publication web pages are often asked of as standard.

“Currently the UK is facing an IT skills gap which is affecting businesses ability to grow, thankfully more of us are showing an interest in gaining further IT skills in order to bridge this gap,” Baker said.

“Gaining digital and IT skills is a great way to equip yourself with employability armour, currently two fifths of UK businesses are having trouble recruiting staff with suitable skills to drive their business. A technical IT course, from Microsoft Office to Java Fundamentals is right for any business as the need to succeed in the digital market becomes a key part of all company’s success. These skills will be learned through university or an apprenticeship but can also be accessed through short term flexible learning courses that suit millennial living.”

Baker said gaining technical skills through a short-term course is a great way to jumpstart your career and “give you that digital edge without the commitment to a three or four year course.

“These can often be more suitable than university courses as they don’t have as much ‘red tape’ and the syllabus can evolve quickly with the demands of the IT skills market, always ensuring the courses are up to date. The digital age isn’t slowing down and gaining IT skills that are highly relevant in today’s world is a great way to increase confidence, improve employability and drive career success in a market that’s crying out to hire skilled candidates.”

Lynne Downey, Head of Online Learning at University College of Estate Management, said increasing numbers of industries, such as engineering and chartered surveying, are now focusing on widening participation – both in gender, ethnicity and more.

“This current drive to accommodate employees outside the usual demographic empowers women to pick and choose the facets of both academic education and vocational training that best suit their needs – and find viable solutions for their career path. However, the decision between attending a university and taking an apprenticeship is not as clear-cut as it once was, with many alternative options now available.”

She added: “A traditional degree programme can be the right choice for someone interested in a field of study that focuses on sharing knowledge and carrying out research. Yet for those who want to ‘earn while they learn’, the option to study a degree programme online is becoming increasingly popular. While an apprenticeship may suit someone with an interest in a more vocational field, an apprenticeship programme that takes a blended learning approach – with the opportunity to gain a degree and become accredited in the field - may be the best option all round.”

“Both traditional universities and apprenticeships providers are widening their scopes each year, and opening up more and more varied options for following a career path. With this in mind, it’s essential that the individual chooses a route which best suits their skills and ambitions; whether it’s studying a traditional degree, joining an apprenticeship scheme – or a mix of both – the options are no longer just either attending an institution every day or combining classroom education with a job.”



female data scientist, woman leading team

The world needs more data scientists

female data scientist, woman leading team

Dr Anya Rumyantseva, Senior Data Scientist at Hitachi Vantara

Data science is often referred to as a ‘dark art’.

As a data scientist myself, I don’t think the field is that mystifying. But for those outside of the profession, there is some lack of awareness of what a data scientist actually does, and what pursuing a career in the field entails.

This can be a real problem – because today, data makes the world go around.

Most companies, regardless of industry, are seeking new ways to leverage the vast amounts of data at their fingertips as a tool to drive efficiencies and transform their business model. But like any tool, data is only useful if it’s in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. It’s easy to forget that digital transformation is as much about people as it is about technology.

The talent deficit 

The UK has been struggling with a skills shortage for some time now. As digital transformation influences every sector, businesses are turning to experts who can help them harness their data. Companies are on the hunt for data engineers, machine learning engineers and data scientists. One study found that in the UK, the demand for people with specialist data skills has more than tripled over the past five years, while another projected the data scientist role will account for 28 per cent of all digital jobs by next year.

It’s a case of supply and demand – but unfortunately, many companies are encountering a sparse talent pool to recruit from. Some estimates even suggest that Europe needs around 346,000 more people trained in data science by 2020. That’s a big gap to fill – and it’s only going to get wider unless the industry takes action.

The data landscape is getting increasingly complex – how much data we’re generating, the types of data and how we’re storing it is changing. To put this in perspective: I’m working on a project right now that uses a petabyte of data. I’m able to work with this huge amount of data because today we have the infrastructure to store it, process it and apply machine learning models. Rewind to the 80s and it would have cost around $600 billion just to store that much data.

Now that we have the tools to work with such large data sets, we’re able to leverage data in exciting new ways. However, this also means we need more people capable of doing so. Considering that IDC forecasts a massive 163 zettabytes of data will be generated by businesses every year by 2025, it’s no wonder UK businesses are worried about a deficit in data specialists.

So, how do we mitigate an impending skills shortage? Well, a good place to start is by changing perceptions of what a data scientist actually is and what they do.

Demystifying the ‘dark arts’

I’ve been a data scientist in Hitachi Vantara’s Solution Engineering team for over two years now. When people ask me what I do, the answer may not be what they expect. My role is to understand the business challenges of our customers, consider potential analytical approaches to solving these challenges and prototype solutions by using advanced analytics, machine learning and deep learning techniques.

In short, I leverage data and mathematical techniques to solve business problems. It’s an exciting field to work in – and can have a significant real-world impact.

As an example, consider the UK rail system. It’s one of the busiest in the world, ferrying thousands of people from point A to B every single day. When you’re a passenger, you probably don’t think about the intricate and nuanced system that keeps your train running. That is, until something goes wrong. Like when a train door gets jammed and is prevented from leaving the station on time. One seemingly minor fault can have a huge knock-on effect further down the line, causing delays and disruption for thousands of passengers.

That’s one real-world problem that I’m trying to help to solve right now. Leveraging data collected from thousands of sensors on the trains themselves and working directly with rail engineers, as a data scientist on the project I bridge the gap between engineering and mathematics, uncovering insights that can drive efficiencies and reduce delays.

Diversity matters

Hopefully now you’ll think of a data scientist as more than just someone who sits behind a computer screen doing equations all day! But the tech sector needs to work hard to build a more inclusive environment where young people – regardless of their background, gender or race – consider data science as an attractive career option.

At Hitachi Vantara, we run a data science internship programme in our London office for talented and intellectually curious young people from diverse backgrounds. Our interns roll up their sleeves and get stuck into analytical projects. They are an important part of the team and their opinions matter. We challenge them to think creatively, asking them to leverage publicly available data to uncover insights into real-world problems – like using data from the Department of Transport to think up new ways to reduce carbon emissions from private and commercial vehicles in the UK. It’s not just a fun thought-experiment – it’s an accurate glimpse into the life of a data scientist.

Data science is a diverse, interesting and constantly evolving field – so it needs people who can think differently, bring new ideas and offer fresh perspectives. If we’re going to tackle the skills shortage, the industry must hold the door open for people from all walks of life.

Anya Rumyantseva, Senior Data Scientist, Hitachi VantaraAbout the author

Anya Rumyantseva is a Senior Data Scientist at Hitachi Vantara. Anya received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Southampton and BS/MS degree in Physics from Lomonosov Moscow State University. Anya is also a fellow of the Nippon Foundation (Japan). Her PhD thesis was focused on using IoT data obtained from marine robotic systems for improving our understanding of phytoplankton blooms and their impact on the global climate. At Hitachi Vantara, Anya is working on projects that use advanced analysis and machine learning techniques to improve business operations in the railway, manufacturing and other industries traditional for Hitachi group. 

learning on the job, retraining, woman on computer

How to write a CV for jobs in tech

learning on the job, retraining, woman on computer

By Rhona Kennedy

I’m a Technology Recruiter with over six years’ experience – I look at dozens of CVs each day (I dread to think how many CVs I’ve cast by beady eyes over in my career!) and I talk to the people doing the hiring every day about what they need/like/hate to see in a CV.

I know that CV-writing is a) daunting and b) very important to get right because there’s a lot riding on it.

After years of pestering my clients for what they see when they look at a CV, here are some of my top take-home tips.

Start with the good stuff

There’s an oft-quoted statistic that the person reviewing your CV spends only 7-10 seconds looking at it before making up their mind.  With this in mind, a “skills matrix” or easy to read summary of the technology and tools you’re comfortable with is a good place to start. Avoid dumping on loads of tools you’ve only touched or read about or haven’t used since University – stick to things you’re actually capable of working with.

Your CV is a marketing document. Its purpose is to sell you enough to secure an interview. It may not come easily to you to big yourself up – but you need to do it. Asking friends/colleagues for help with words/phrases that describe you might help with the cringe factor.

Also make sure your vital information is front and centre and easy for the reviewer to access.

How long is too long?

Be concise. Choose your words wisely. Write in a succinct manner – and then take more out. Like, Coco Chanel said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

However, if your CV is longer than two pages, don’t stress – especially if you’re a seasoned professional with many years of wisdom/experience. As long as it’s all relevant stuff, then it deserves to be there. If you’re really struggling to condense your CV, bullet points might help. Bullet points are also easier for the human eye to digest than large walls of text. Helpful when you consider the point about 7-10 seconds, above.

Get your CV past the robots!

Assuming you’re applying for a job in 2019 and not relying on snail mail, the first person to read your CV will, most likely, be a robot, or at least a piece of parsing software. It is increasingly common for technology companies and Recruiters alike to use an Applicant Tracking System or ATS. Here are some tips to get your CV past the robots:

  • Don’t have critical information (contact details, name, location/postcode) in headers/footers – the software often doesn’t “read” these. In fact, skip headers/footers altogether.
  • Keep formatting simple – avoid unnecessary tables/images which will inevitably get reformatted in a less-than-pretty way.
  • Word documents are generally handled better than PDFs.

Some CV basics

Some of this advice might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often these points can be neglected!

  • Please proofread your CV – if spelling and grammar are not your forte, rope in a pal (or a friendly Recruiter!) to look it over.
  • KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep your formatting simple; stay away from headers/footers, text boxes/columns and fancy graphics/images.
  • Choose an appropriate font (and size and colour) and keep it consistent throughout. Remember the “don’t use Comic Sans – we are a Fortune 500 company, not a lemonade stand” meme? Yeah… don’t be that guy.
  • Don’t get too smart – your CV is a video game? Cool… but how do I contact you? How do I share with my client?
  • Location (including postcode) is essential – it’s how Recruiters and prospective employers find you.
  • Weird one: be sure to use a portrait orientation, not landscape.
  • In the UK, it is not a requirement to have your photo on your CV, and many managers I’ve spoke to really dislike this practice.
  • Unless your hobbies are really interesting, I’d skip it – we’ve all read Harry Potter and we all say we go to the gym…
  • Spell check again, just to be sure!
  • Finally, if you’re ever in doubt, let us help you! We look at dozens (hundreds?) of CVs every day and we’re here to help! Rope in a “professional CV reviewer” or Recruiter, as we’re more commonly known. Or have a friend who works in your field review your CV.

About the author

Rhona Kennedy is a Principal Consultant at IT Recruiter Consultancy Cathcart Associates; for the last six years she has been recruiting Software Developers across Scotland for some of the country’s most innovative and exciting organisations. Rhona also volunteers with Girl Geek Scotland and is a passionate advocate for women in STEM and loves working with and supporting female Developers at all stages of their careers. In her day job, she leads a team of Recruiters and is responsible for motivating the team, setting targets and is heavily involved in the hiring and training of new recruits.

female data scientist, woman leading team

What is an agile workforce and why should your tech firm care?

female data scientist, woman leading teamArticle provided by Rae Evans, marketing executive for managed and professional services cloud tech consultancy, Solutionize Global

Agile development methodology is evolving swiftly – and it’s proving to be more difficult for some enterprises than others, as every organisation does its utmost to remain relevant and competitive.

There’s often not a week that passes by without a company adopting a ‘fresh and agile’ approach, tweak, or innovation. But why is it becoming more pertinent to transform an organisation this way, especially within the tech sector?

Perhaps the answer lies at the very heart of innovation. For companies exploring a digital-first process, it must be understood that they not only have to possess the capability to respond to any change in an agile way – but ensure it’s done rapidly too.

That’s because disruption in the tech sector is often significant and constant. Therefore, savvy enterprises – with the correct infrastructure in place to deal with transformation swiftly – are in a much stronger position to deliver compelling value propositions.

It’s something many businesses are currently focusing on too, in order to stay ahead of the curve. According to a recent KPMG study – which surveyed professionals across Europe, Asia and US – 81 per cent of organisations have delivered at least one agile transformation project within the last three years. The study also found 63 per cent of leaders see agility as a strategic priority for both the entire firm and the IT infrastructure it has in place.

With an agile workforce comes a greater, more enriched, responsive experience that’s efficient, embraces change positively and adapts to capitalise upon emerging trends. Overall, it’s about being agile rather than doing agile.

But how can tech leaders help their employees embody such a cultural mindset? And what does an ‘agile team’ look like?

Having the ability to adopt a flexible approach

Top tech teams work flexibly, invest in learning, drive evolution – instead of responding to it – and are consistently motivated by change. They typically know when their firms should undergo transformation, and take proactive steps long before the project or strategy has even been launched.

Maintaining a competitive edge

Shifting market trends and changing project requirements often create a moving target that can drain resources and hinder project success. Therefore, it’s up to an agile workforce to understand how revolutionary a business model can be – and its importance when providing a commercial advantage.

With any strategy, the end goal is always achieving the optimum customer experience – and enterprises showcasing nimble and adaptable traits can evolve their plans to maintain a killer instinct.

Rolling out swift decisions

Technology provides businesses with the ability to analyse data so they can make key commercially driven judgements and think on their feet – and both are critical if they are to become an agile organisation.

Forward-thinking firms should also already have adopted a flatter hierarchy which encourages teams to be self-managing and provide them with the necessary tools so that they don’t have to go through countless phases of approvals, in order to enforce a decision.

Possessing the willingness to upskill

There has never been a greater time for tech organisations to motivate their existing workforces – thanks to the extensive development opportunities now available online.

With teams expected to deliver value at speed, every colleague has a pivotal role to play in making every project a success. That often means growing and learning together from one iteration to the next, motivating everyone to all pull in the same direction.

Following Randstad’s recent Workplace study – which found 68 per cent of employers believe the majority of their organisations will have an agile work arrangement by 2025 – this shift means business leaders are rethinking their office needs and roles. Therefore, a modern-day culture has become an incredibly important asset when attracting, and retaining, top talent.

Embracing a diverse environment

No revolutionary company even begin to be agility-focused without having a workforce that boasts a variety of technical and soft skills, perspectives and backgrounds. Quite simply, diversity provides a fresh and dynamic approach to digital disruption.

Having such a range of skills is not only crucial for a digitally savvy atmosphere to survive and thrive in a challenging marketplace, but it should enable organisations to bring something different to the table – so it maintains a competitive, disruptive edge.

Agile adoption will prove to be an easier concept for some organisations over others, but it’s no longer enough to rely on harnessing the best technology. Enterprises must delve deeper and foster a culture that encourages innovation and creative output – whilst attracting the right people who can deliver strategic, commercially driven and transformational goals.

Women on Laptop, Digital Marketing

4 tips for women seeking senior level roles in the digital marketing industry

Women at Laptop, Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is playing an increasingly significant part in many businesses' marketing strategies, heightening the demand for agencies and opening up more job opportunities.

But, as it’s a male-dominated industry, women need to know how they can compete. Here, Bridie Gallagher, Managing Director at Glass Digital, shares her top tips for women looking to reach senior level positions in the digital marketing industry.

We live in a world where it’s possible to do almost anything online and, for businesses who want to make the most of their marketing budgets, this also means taking to online platforms to promote their brands, set targets, and get results.

While this raises the demand for agencies that can help brands with their marketing campaigns, digital marketing is still a male-dominated industry, with women accounting for less than a third of the digital marketing workforce (Thrive Global). And, with females securing just 37.2% of UK managerial positions in total (Catalyst) it's worth knowing how you can break into more senior roles in this sector. Here, I'll be sharing my top tips for women who are looking for top level opportunities in digital marketing.

Create your vision

As women, we can be a little too critical of ourselves but, when you want to reach your goals, you need to believe you can do what you're trying to achieve. And, one good way of doing this is to create a vision in your mind about where you want to be.

While you mightn't know how you'll get there, it can pay to observe other women in senior level digital marketing roles, and take note of the skills they have and what makes them successful. For example, perhaps they are in charge of one department but have a good understanding of the work that all the other teams do, and are able to come up with well-rounded plans as a result.

If you're unsure of your own strengths and weaknesses, try asking colleagues and managers about what kind of leader they think you are. This will help you to identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be, so you can begin planning how you'll reach the top.

Take more risks

Women typically like to play it on the safe side, but doing this can actually restrict your career progress and stop you from going for fantastic promotions or new roles. In fact, it's suggested that only 43% of women are willing to take big risks that would boost their career (KPMG). So, it's important that more women start breaking down the boundaries that we set for ourselves and taking on more opportunities to give us the best chances of success.

For me, this meant moving on from my career in client relations within the financial services sector and welcoming the new opportunity to set up a digital marketing company in Newcastle. The success of the company was never guaranteed, so taking the plunge was nerve-wracking, but I'd never have gotten to where I am now without taking on the new challenge. Trusting your instincts and believing in yourself is incredibly important in business, and more women need to have the confidence to do both of these.

Increase your visibility

To get noticed, you need to be noticeable. And, that means doing everything you can to highlight your accomplishments to your current or future employers. I personally think the best way to do this is by having a portfolio of your work, as it'll clearly show employers how you've been able to affect client campaigns.

You'll also benefit from taking advantage of networking opportunities, especially if you can establish contact with other women in roles you aspire to be in. This way they may see your potential and be able to recommend you for senior positions, or give you tips to get into these roles.

I've met a lot of talented people throughout my years in business and each has taught me something invaluable about my career and myself as a businesswoman, so don't be afraid to seek advice from others in the industry and make as many connections as you can.

Accept the help you need

Trying to find the right work/life balance is never easy, especially if you’re a working mother. But, what both roles at work and home have taught me is that you'll never be able to have it all. However, you can still look for other ways to make your career goals a reality, even if you have other obligations.

I'm lucky to have a great family support system who can help me with school pick-ups and drop-offs for my daughter when I'm tied up at work. However, sometimes I have to make both my job and home life work together. For example, if I need to be in the office early, I'll bring my daughter here before school, and vice versa if I need to stay a bit later. That way we get to spend time together and I can still get the stuff done that I need to do.

Although it's natural for mothers to feel guilty if they can't be everywhere for their child, it's important that if an extra pair of hands are there to help us juggle our commitments, we use them when things start to pile up.

Confidence can go a long way for women looking to secure senior roles in digital marketing, so make sure you're following my top four tips to get you on track for a great future in the industry.

Bridie Gallagher headshotAbout the author

Bridie Gallagher is Managing Director of digital marketing agency, Glass Digital, and mother to a 10-year-old: two roles she has had to learn how to juggle as the company has grown. Bridie believes women can achieve anything they put their minds to, and her story is testament to that.


Using Social Media to Advance Your Career

Social-Media-MasterclassArticle by Veronica King, Founder of EDS Coaching & Consulting.co.uk

We are currently at a place whether we are starting, developing or advancing our career it is greatly affected by the increased use of social media.

The extensive use of social media by recruitment agencies and employers have become the order of the day and as a result most people have their profiles available on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms.

Individuals can now identify a job via one simple search of their chosen Agency site. In addition, there are numerous Apps coming into the marketplace, that facilitate job search more quickly than ever before, providing prospective candidates with information at speed. This facility to provide Job-on-the-Go is an ever increasing one.

Competition for both available jobs and recruitment agencies are stiff and as a result prospective employees and those seeking to advance their career, whether via promotion or job change, have to be in a position to interpret what is on offer – how it suits their desires and interest, and which Agency is suitable for them, that is, that meet their specific needs.

Because jobs and careers seekers today have an extremely wide choice in terms of platforms, they can drill down into the areas, the organisations and influential individuals in those organisations of their choice.

In addition, they can also segment their career choice via social medial. Another great benefit to job and career seekers.

They can go to any site, or, site listings to discover what suits them best. You will often discover a numerical listing. For example, LinkedIn is the No. 1 spot for job seekers and those currently employed, or, looking to advance their careers. There are others such as, Twitter with Blog or LinkedIn URL, Jobster, Facebook, Craiglist, MyWorkster with Indeed Recruitment agency, and VisualCV and this is not an exhaustive list.

So how can you use social media to advance your career?

Let’s take the number one social media platform for jobs and careers. LinkedIn is a wealth of information for career development firstly because of its search engine. This can be used to research the types of organisations you want to join. It will also provide the details of the people within those organisations you may want to target for your career choice. It will also provide you with the locations of organisations world-wide. It will tell you how many employees those organisations employ and their positions. You can also search those organisations for the role you are seeking and get a description of those roles, first-hand.

You can set up your profile, listing all your skills, experience, qualifications, your talents, and your achievements in some detail, on LinkedIn.

All of this gives you a head start in your search and provide you with vital information on how you can proceed to making enquiries. Here you can submit a separate Curriculum Vitae (CV) or you can make your profile available to prospective organisations.

You can also set up a jobs alert facility. The downside here that it is not always precisely what you are looking for, but it can nevertheless be valuable in creating awareness of what is the jobs market and in your chosen field or expertise.

A great advantage in using social media for career advancement is that you can use your social connections or social networking to help your profile or CV to move up the career stack. Linked is known for facilitating ‘influencers’. These could be people in your social circle, people who are ‘in the know’, or, people you know who know those people. This can be a useful way to boost your career.

A useful facility on LinkedIn is the ability to ask for recommendations or testimonials from people you have worked with, or organisations you’ve worked for in the past.

All the above helps to you to build a strong profile from which prospective employers can glean information about you that are relevant to their searches.

It is important then that you ensure you are also relevant and that your information is current.

The most important thing to remember is that by applying these actions you are on your way to building a strong brand of ‘You’ so that you can achieve your career success. Your approach to this is pivotal. The purpose of the exercise is to attract the best recruiting manager to you, in an informed way. The saying ...’your network is your net worth’ rings true in building your successful career in the same way it applies to building a successful business.

Grow your social network, fully engage with them, and utilise their expertise and their wealth of experience. This will pay dividend. MashableUK, a multi- disciplinary site in social media, reports that 80% of jobs are not advertised, they are often found through network of connections.

Using social media to advance your career, like anything else, takes work so this requires so patience and persistence and will be very much worthwhile.

It is a great way to build your resilience for your new and upwardly mobile career.