woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech

Carving a career in tech

woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech

Article provided by Becs Roycroft, Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree

There’s no arguing that when it comes to reducing the gender gap in technology, we still have a long way to go.

Despite increased awareness of the problem, the fact remains women remain underrepresented at every level.

It is promising that businesses and governments around the world are taking action to attract more women into technology. But to really succeed in recruiting as many women as possible into these roles, we must also take a micro-level view.

As someone who works on recruiting the best emerging young talent, I believe we need to go back to basics by committing to spreading positive messages about the diverse and rewarding careers technology can offer women. So, here I’d like to cover just a few of the benefits:

Job stability

As long as technology is the driving force behind the world, technology candidates will always be in demand. Technology professionals benefit from higher salaries and better job prospects, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has put science and technology under the spotlight, demand is likely to skyrocket. And given the industry is a huge champion for learning and adaptability, working in technology can help you reach the proper balance between growth and security.

Flexible career paths

From web development to cybersecurity, software engineer to AI, the range of roles within technology is huge. And the soft skills, emotional intelligence and technical know-how acquired through these roles can help you go anywhere in your career. Furthermore, roles are in abundance across the globe from leading technology companies to smaller niche organisations.

Making a difference

Beyond making things simpler for people day-to-day, technology can have a meaningful impact by invoking systemic change. When working in tech you have the opportunity to really make a difference in the world by helping to solve critical global issues, such as access to education and climate change.

Equal opportunities

From personal experience I’ve learnt that you don’t have to work in a technical role to succeed in this industry. Technology needs more than just developers and software engineers, it also requires HR experts, communications professionals and great financial minds. So if you don’t see yourself pursuing a technical career, there are still a great number of opportunities to learn more and expand your career prospects.

Becs RoycroftAbout the author

Becs Roycroft is a Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree - an emerging talent and training partner to global, blue-chip enterprises focusing on their technology and business operations. mthree is owned by John Wiley & Sons, the third largest research, publishing and education provider globally.  Becs is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive careers pathways in technology and has over 18 years experience working in recruitment and management across a variety of companies, sectors and industries. At mthree, Becs is responsible for Alumni and student engagement, client services operations and Re-Skill services globally.


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here. 

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woman holding a like a boss mug, career development

Career development - What I wished I'd known | Katharine Wooller

woman holding a like a boss mug, career development

Katharine Wooller has had a long UK fintech career, as Investment Director at industry leading peer-to-peer lender, and in senior roles at a specialist investment banking SAAS supporting tier one banks, asset managers and hedge funds.  More recently she has held advisory roles for blockchain businesses and is currently MD for a retail crypto exchange. She leads the Women Who Crypto initiative. 

Here, Katharine tells us what she wished she had known throughout her career journey.

Find Role Models

Admittedly, finding the perfect role models is easier said than done. In some of the businesses I’ve worked the male headcount has been as high as  99 per cent, so always feel free to look for inspiration outside your current network.  Find those you respect, wish to emulate, and source their guidance, either in person or by following the content they put out; never have leaders been so accessible via social media channels.

I also like having a ‘pick and mix’ of inspiration.  For me, I aspire to think outside the box like Anne Boden of Starling Bank, possess the quiet resolve of Theresa May, the positivity for the future of Cynthia V Davis, the spirit of Ginger Rogers.

Build your crowd

Women are, I think, essentially a social creature.  Surround yourself with like-minded women, you’ll likely find they are supportive, nurturing and natural networkers.   Ideally with an active WhatsApp Group, so you can keep in touch, and share the daily highs and the lows.  I believe that your ‘vibe’ attracts your tribe, and a significant number of opportunities are sourced on recommendation before they hit a broader audience.

It therefore pays dividends to be honest about what’s going well, or not, and what you are currently lacking; you may well be pleasantly surprised who you know and importantly, who they know! Crowd-sourcing solutions is a rich and often ignore vein of brilliance.   I host a regular ‘Women who Crypto’ online meet ups, where recent events have attracted 130 attendees, and I never cease to be amazed by the levels of support and inspiration in the content generated. ‘Women Who Crypto’ came from a simple idea that was crystallised from the amount of interest women had in wealth creation through cryptocurrency. By harnessing that thought and carefully structuring the approach, Women Who Crypto has become a great way of building a ‘like-minded’ crowd and a place where new friendships are cultivated..

No career trajectory is linear 

In my personal experience, no single job is ever the game changer, rather that each role brings its own unique set of challenges, learning and opportunity.  The portfolio career is increasingly common, and of course it is highly likely that coronavirus recession will rewrite some of the career planning rules we have hitherto held as self-evident.  Most people, at best, have had a job that didn’t work out, and alas too many spend years in a role they loathe, didn’t match up to expectation or they disagree with the general direction of travel for the business.

Whilst an unfulfilling job can quickly become disheartening, there are many reputable and talented recruitment professionals who will assist you in deciphering what parts of your current role and skillsets are marketable and will help navigate you into more fulfilling territory. Remember, it has often been said that few people entering the jobs market today will have  a job for life.

Define your value set 

It is much easier to navigate roles, bosses and career decisions when you take the time to analyse what motivates and fulfils you.  Too many talented women are stuck in jobs that do not cater for their emotional needs.  Personally, I have found retail business that build wealth, and disruptive agile start-ups the most interesting, and have certainly delivered my best work in these environments.

There is a huge amount of free content online around personal value setting to guide better decision making, which is time well spent.    You may be surprised that it throws up, and will assist you in working with businesses, colleagues, and projects that bring you joy.

In conclusion, fintech, in my experience and opinion is a very welcoming and fast-moving industry.  I am delighted to meet so many talented and motivated women.  One of my favourite quotes, is from the indomitable Charlotte Whitton, who in 1951 was elected the first female mayor of a major city in Canada:  “Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good”.

I am upset to sometimes to see this quote without the latter section: “luckily this is not difficult”.  We have more opportunity that the generations before us, and now is the time to make it count!

Katharine WoollerAbout the author:

Katharine Wooller is managing director, UK and Eire, Dacxi – a digital crypto fintech platform specialising in bringing cryptocurrency to the ‘crowd’.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

 

 

 

 


open plan office, people working an office

Reintegrating the team effectively after lockdown

open plan office, people working an office, returning to work after lockdown

With so many people hankering to get back to working face-to-face now that lockdown is being eased, there is one group who are less enthusiastic: Introverts.

With up to 47 per cent of people in the UK identifying as introverts, they are present in every walk of life and often drawn to work in tech as it can allow them to play to their strengths.

Some of the many myths and misconceptions about introverts are that they are shy, arrogant, boring, tongue-tied and lonely with no friends or social life.  The reality is that introverts may be quiet because that’s what they need to recharge their mental batteries. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, explained that the difference between introverts and extraverts is what drains and charges their mental batteries. Extraverts rely on interaction, active experiences and change to be energised, the very things that can drain an introvert. Their communication processes are different too in that introverts have the more considered and slower paced ‘think-say-think’ approach whilst extraverts tend to have a stream of consciousness, or ‘say-think-say’.  Unless people are aware of these differences, it can lead to people assuming that the introvert has nothing to say for themselves, no opinion, no contribution.  What’s more likely is that there hasn’t been enough thinking time or space in the conversation for an introvert to get to the ‘say’ part of their process. Consciously make the space, in a positive way, and you’ll often find that the quietest voice makes the most profound contribution.

It’s a sad fact that some really talented introverts will get overlooked for promotion because they are less likely to push themselves forward, hoping instead that their work will speak for itself. It’s part of the recognised extraversion bias as people mistakenly think they lack drive and ambition. Full integration and understanding this aspect of neurodiversity is an essential part of the diversity, inclusion & equity agenda.

The team-building misnomer

Listen to the chatter in some of the introvert groups and there is already a sense of impending doom about the ‘team-building’ that might take place once workplaces open up.  These types of activities are typically enjoyed by the extraverted team members as they usually involve the forced interaction and active experiences that recharge them.

Within the team, introverts are often considered arrogant and too serious when actually they just dislike small-talk, preferring instead fewer but meaningful conversations.  This means they don’t often engage in the social chit-chat and will tend to keep their heads down in an attempt to maintain their focus and preserve their mental batteries.

Many introverts have learned how to extravert in order to fit in with the norm but the price they pay can be too high.  It includes overwhelm and even burn-out, which seriously affects their wellbeing.  They’ll need to replenish their batteries just to get through the day and ultimately, feel deep sense of not being enough, as it’s only by pretending that they seem to be accepted.

Extraverted managers don’t always understand or even believe that people don’t enjoy the ‘fun’ stuff. The truth is that some might check to see if they have any annual leave left or even consider taking a ‘sickie’ on the day. The lack of understanding just compounds the bias and does nothing to integrate a team in a meaningful way.  Some people will be worried about their jobs and prospects following the lock-down, especially if they’ve been furloughed, so may feel backed into a corner, imagining they have no choice but to join in. If that happens, the results won’t be what you’re hoping for.

Having spent the last few months in lock-down, teams will benefit from establishing new norms of behaviour.  A useful process to remember here is Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing model of group development. Nothing will be exactly the same again and it’s been long enough for old habits and patterns to have been forgotten. The chances are though that introverts have quite enjoyed their lock-down experience and will be in no hurry to return to the workplace, especially if they have a quiet household. So true integration is likely to be a challenge.

So how to genuinely reconnect the whole team?

The following series of recommendations are going to enhance the likelihood of success.

  • Establish your desired outcome. In order to re-establish connection, are you looking for improved communication, reconfiguring workloads, establishing new working practices, rebuilding trust? Make it meaningful so that everyone can see the value.
  • Don’t try to make it ‘fun’ or even badge it as such. What people consider fun is very subjective and if you’re serious about integrating the whole team, don’t alienate half of them! Use exercises that positively explore the difference between extraversion & introversion so that understanding is enhanced, and the diversity within the team can be valued.
  • Consider exploring what each team member has found positive and challenging about their lockdown experience and use that to shape your team’s new norms. Tuckman later added mourning to the process, so letting go of the past and ‘what was’ is important for the healthy development of a team.
  • Design something that will really unite the team and improve trust, avoiding the old physical trust exercises. Patrick Lencioni names the lack of trust as being the foundation of a dysfunctional team. Creating a safe environment where everyone feels able to speak up, to admit to mistakes and to ask for help is the goal here. Take the time to establish people’s true strengths, rather than just what they’re good at, so you can enable them to play to those strengths wherever possible.
  • Be mindful of the introvert’s ‘think-say-think’ process, so give plenty of notice and allow sufficient preparation time. They don’t like things being sprung on them at short notice or being asked to make a decision without thinking time.

In Conclusion

Get underneath any assumptions and misunderstandings that may be present about introverts in your team.  There is no good & bad, just different. Engage the whole team in co-creating how integration and reforming might happen in an inclusive and meaningful way.  And, remember to listen to everyone’s views and voices for balance and equity.

Joanna RawboneAbout the author

Joanna has spent more than 24 years working with 000’s of international clients through her own training & coaching consultancy, Scintillo Ltd. During this time, and through her own earlier experiences, she has seen just how problematic the Extraversion bias in organisations is. It negatively impacts employee engagement, retention and productivity. It also impairs the physical and mental health & well-being of employees with the obvious consequences.

 Recognising that it was time for action, Joanna founded Flourishing Introverts, a platform to:

* support those who want to fulfil their potential without pretending to be something they're not.

* educate and inform organisations about the true cost of overlooking their introverts

* promote positive action and balance the extraversion bias

Joanna has a real passion for helping her clients make the small but sustainable changes that really make a difference. Being a functioning introvert, her clients value her ability to listen to more than the words, understand things from their perspective and co-create robust, pragmatic solutions.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.


man and woman discussing tech, women in tech, computers, code

Why now is the perfect time to upskill in tech

man and woman discussing tech, women in tech, computers, code

Ahead of a new fully-remote web development course starting on June 22nd, Anna Stepanoff, CEO & Founder of Wild Code School, the technology educator nurturing today’s digital talent, discusses why now is the perfect time to further career prospects in the tech industry.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is causing considerable challenges for us all, impacting all industries and sectors.

Vocational training organisations have certainly been challenged, although some providers, including Wild Code School, have been able to migrate activities online to ensure educational continuity for students. As a technology bootcamp, we are well placed to do this, with the technological know-how and proven remote learning methodologies already in place. And with 90 per cent of our students now working in the tech ecosystem, we know that our courses are aligned to the needs of businesses.

With the pandemic resulting in more time at home, and the tech industry offering flexible and varied career opportunities, could now be the perfect time to take advantage of the fully remote courses that are available and develop those sought-after digital skills?

Everything in place

Until recently, a reliable connection to a broadband network was still a major obstacle to online training’s accessibility, especially when it came to live remote training. However, access to a fibre network from almost everywhere in the Western world has been a game changer, enabling connectivity and access to learning tools such as interactive webinars for consumers and participants across the world.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have been fully established and accessible since 2012. On these online learning platforms, resources are freely accessible to students who can choose the pace of learning that is best suited to them and their personal preferences. MOOC are particularly well suited to autonomous individuals who are looking to upskill or acquire new skills to develop their careers.

In recent years, the tools and technology available have grown rapidly and been introduced to ensure an even higher quality of online courses. Video conferencing platforms, online chat and communication tools, as well as document sharing capabilities have helped accelerate the possibility of indirect interactions and made it possible for instructors or course tutors and lecturers to remotely interact with a community of students. Although online courses have been around for many years, they provide a shining example of efficient, practical and effective remote working.

Remote working expertise

As the majority of us have discovered during this period of worldwide lockdown, working from home requires a new set of skills. It is making us rethink our working habits and adapt to new tools and practices, forcing us to be more than flexible and agile than ever before. And with the future looking to be more reliant on remote working, learning in a remote environment is helping our students with both the digital and soft skills that will support future remote working.

Adaptability, proactivity, and communication, for example, are not only essential skills for the tech industry, but also for discovering opportunities in challenging situations. Online learning also allows individuals to develop autonomy, rigour and the ability to organise yourself more efficiently.

But these skills are not unique to the tech industry, and in fact people from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds are well equipped and suited to the training.

Helping career changers

Our first fully remote course began in April, and we’ve been canvassing the opinions of our first fully remote students to find out how it’s working for them and why now was the right time to learn new skills and make the change.

One of our current web development students, Leonore Ghisalberti, previously worked in design and product management for a fashion brand and is now working to building her own creative design agency. She realised her new world required further digital skills to complement her design credentials and told us:

“The main draw for me was that I needed to further my skills in order to progress my business. Front-end development especially, which this course focuses on, has many synergies with my design background. It is very visual and creative, and enables you to build something, and see it come to life with your chosen design.”

Another student, Gladys Pascual is a Chemical Engineer, qualified with a PhD and working in a Dublin-based startup. It’s a career she enjoys and finds fulfilling, but she has seen the flexibility that a career in tech can offer, as well as the opportunities in Dublin and abroad:

“Technology is a big industry here in Dublin, and indeed all across the world and I was keen to see what doors I could open through training that will allow me to consider a shift in career. While I have still been working full time, lockdown meant that all my travelling plans were cancelled and I’m not able to do any of the sports I’m used to – I’ve therefore got more time on hands and so it has posed a good opportunity to upskill and do something I’m interested in.

“Like anything new, at first I was a little overwhelmed – especially with a demanding full-time job. It is quite advanced, which is a good thing in terms of its long-term use and after just a few weeks I have had the time to focus and absorb what I’m learning.

“The multi-national nature of the course is also really cool; the class is made up of students from all across Europe and it means we get to work with people from different places and with varied backgrounds. This sort of environment is common in the tech world, so it’s useful to get a taste here.”

We’re looking forward to welcoming our next set of students onto the June course and excited to see both men and women embrace technology and realise its career opportunities.

About the author:

Anna StepanoffAnna Stepanoff is the CEO & Founder of Wild Code School, the technology educator nurturing today’s digital talent.

Founded in 2014, Wild Code School has more than 20 campuses across Europe. It has trained more than 2,000 students, with 90 per cent of graduates now working within the Tech Ecosystem. The School offers part-time front-end, or full-time full-stack web development courses that take place over a five-month period. Both courses will get the student to where they want to be, with the full-time course offering a more immersive environment that gets them there quicker. The school was founded by mother of three Anna Stepanoff, and is now the fifth largest school in Paris.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

 

 

 


Woman wearing a virtual reality headset, Women in RPA Initiative 1

Are you a woman aspiring to pursue a career in tech? Join the Women in RPA Initiative

Woman wearing a virtual reality headset, Women in RPA Initiative

Are you a woman aspiring to pursue a career in tech?  The Women in RPA Initiative might be for you!

The 2020 1 million Women In RPA Initiative is a skills development program which aims to train and up-skill one million women in Robotics Process Automation by 31st December 2020. Yes, we know it sounds impossible, that's why we are doing it.

Despite decades of progress towards achieving equality in the workplace, women remain significantly under-represented in emerging tech. The imbalance between men and women in the technology sector is unlikely to be remedied unless organizations, schools and universities work together to change entrenched perceptions about the tech industry, and also educate young people about the dynamics and range of careers in the technology world.​

Women currently hold 19 per cent of tech-related jobs at the top ten global tech companies, relative to men who hold 81 per cent. In leadership positions at these global tech giants, women make up 28 per cent, with men representing 72 per cent.

RPA Nuggets want to change this!

Inspired by Blue Prism, RPA Nuggets takes the baton to empower women and other underrepresented groups to take risks and realize their full potential in the workplace, particularly in emerging technologies.

Eligibility

  • Must be female or identify as female
  • Must be 18+
  • Must have access to uninterrupted WIFI and a laptop/PC
  • Must be computer literate, please note this programme does not teach basic computer literacy skills
  • Must be able to commit 4 weeks, 2hrs a day without absence, starting 6th July 2020 (times TBA)
  • Open to all countries and nationalities worldwide
  • Must understand English (NO EXCEPTIONS). Strictly, medium of presentation is English
  • Pay a non-refundable enrollment fee of $15 (excl VAT)

Program Details

  • Introduction to Robotics Process Automation using Blue Prism
  • Introduction to Connected RPA (Cloud, AI/RPA in Business)
  • Advanced Blue Prism Automation techniques
  • Learning material included
  • Practical based learning approach using real world simulation projects and case studies
  • Best Practice Automation methodologies
  • RPA professional skills and career development
  • RPA virtual career expo
  • Accreditation exam preparation
  • Networking with RPA experts ​
  • Closing date - ongoing

FIND OUT MORE HERE

RPA Nuggets, Women in RPA Initiative


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.

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Women in Cyber: Why there's never been a better time to kick-start your career

cyber security

Times change pretty fast in cybersecurity.

Blink and you’re likely to miss something very important. Even as recently as five years ago we didn’t have cloud configuration errors, IoT botnets, container threats or targeted ransomware. That’s a source of anxiety for some people, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and exciting aspects of working in the industry. There’s no time for coasting — you need to be continually looking at the cutting-edge, and how it’s likely to impact your customers or users in the future.

However, one thing that has taken much longer to change in the industry has been greater diversity in the workplace. Fortunately that is now changing, but women are still woefully under-represented; we comprise only around a quarter (24 per cent) of all IT security professionals globally, according to some estimates.

Getting started

When I started out almost over 20 years ago even the idea of taking a degree course in a technology-related subject was a novelty. Everything was business studies and there were only a small handful of places in the whole country that offered anything to do with information security. I chose the computer science and management undergraduate course at Royal Holloway and followed that in 2002 with an MSc in information security there. I’m glad to say I made the right bet that cybersecurity was going to be a pretty big deal.

Yet the reality is that you can only get so far with a degree in something as vocational as cybersecurity. The real value comes from real-world experience: getting out there and getting your hands dirty. In fact, there may be many women who may not have studied technology before, but have the right skill sets to be successful in this industry. Yes, most roles require a certain amount of technical aptitude. But it’s also about communication, problem solving, attention to detail, and a tireless passion for learning.

That’s why it’s frustrating to see many employers effectively tying one hand behind their backs by relying on outdated and excessively rigorous requirements for job-seekers. Your best candidates might not even have studied cyber at university, or have a mind-boggling array of accreditations and acronyms on their CVs.

At Trend Micro we’re passionate about closing the gender gap in cybersecurity. And we practice what we preach internally, by hiring not based on previous experience, but also on potential and aptitude. Hopefully more employers get on board by doing the same, especially as industry skills shortages continue to grow. It’s been proven time and again that greater diversity and equality in the workplace not only makes for a more loyal, productive and content workforce, but in cybersecurity brings a diversity of viewpoints together, which can improve problem solving.

Focus on what matters

So how can budding female cybersecurity professionals realise their dreams? I went down the helpdesk route, and then got a role in the network and security team. But it doesn’t have to be this way for you. It’s about finding a niche — something you’re good at, and enjoy —and working hard on excelling in this field. It may be in product sales, or you may find your talent lies with coding. Find an area, stick at it and gain the experience you need.

Some technical experience is necessary, of course, but so are people management skills, curiosity and adaptability — and these things are harder to learn.

The good news is that, while the industry is still pretty male dominated, there’s a large and growing female community out there, and plenty of networking events and support to help you. You’ll find that geeks are by and large lovely people.

It’s all about having the confidence in your own abilities, and understanding that while you may not see any female faces at your place of work, you’re certainly not alone. Information security can be a fantastic and extremely rewarding career. It’s also one which, amidst all the turbulence we’re currently experiencing in the UK, is still absolutely vital. A 100 per cent employment rate? You can’t say that about many professions.

Kiran KokharAbout the author:

Kiran is a cybersecurity engineer at Trend Micro, having recently joined the company in March this year. She has a wealth of knowledge under her belt and having worked both vendor- and client-side, Kiran has a deep understanding of the challenges of cybersecurity. She believes that cybersecurity should be built into the fabric of organisations, so that it becomes the responsibility of all departments, not just of IT. She’s passionate about the industry and enjoys working with clients to ensure that they can better equip themselves for the ever-changing threat landscape they face.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.


Advice-for-getting-into-tech-featured

The common misconceptions of women in tech and how to overcome these

 

Advice for getting into tech

“Women lack the education for a career in tech.”

Girls receive the same level of education in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) as boys, at least until the age of 16, so I don’t agree that there is a lack of education, but more a lack of interest - something, I feel, that comes as a result of the fact that in the past, young girls have not always been encouraged to pursue careers in STEM. As a result, we now have a generation of women with little/no interest in these type of careers, however, times are changing and we are starting to see that the next generation of women are beginning to receive that support. Hopefully, this will mean that we will start seeing more women enter tech careers over the next couple of years.

“You have to code to work in tech.”

Often people are under the impression that to work in tech, you have to be a developer or engineer or something quite technical like that, but in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nowadays, “working in tech” can mean anything! For example, my role at CoinCorner is head of marketing - I don’t code or do anything even a little bit “techy” - so while coding roles are certainly a big part of technology, they are only one avenue. From marketing to customer support to compliance, tech is much more than just coding!

“Techies are nerds that work in cubicles and never see the light of day.”

Do cubicles still exist? Certainly not at CoinCorner, that’s for sure! Our office has an open-plan layout with panoramic windows; our teams (including management) sit at work benches together and are able to speak to each other at any time. We’ve found this to be extremely successful in promoting an open and transparent culture, helping to break down the walls (literally) that can often prevent effective communication between team members.

“Girls don’t like/care about technology.”

Wait, what? Who doesn't like technology? Technology has given us amazing opportunities to connect and make our lives easier - smartphones, social media and cryptocurrency, to name a few! I feel it’s important to note that technology isn’t the far-removed concept that it perhaps was in the past. Technology is all around us (and has been for many years!) and is something that most people interact with in some way on a daily basis. The assumption that girls in particular don’t like/care about technology is simply inaccurate as most of today’s young women have grown up with technology as much as their male peers. It’s also the same for older women too - over the past few years there has been a huge uptake in older women using social media and technological devices.

In addition, there are now a lot of resources available for women with an interest in not only using technology but learning about the background of it too. For example, there are many STEM organisations specifically for girls/women - Code First: Girls, STEMettes - which are proving popular. This proves that girls are interest and do care about technology!

“Gender stereotypes”

There’s a stereotype that “boys are better at science and maths than girls” and it’s introduced to children at a young age. This can easily discourage girls from studying STEM subjects, affecting their confidence to even have a go at any of these types of subjects.

Education sets the tone for many people’s career choices and it’s important to look at how schools are shaping curriculum. With more encouragement at school, I might have pursued STEM related subjects, however, I wasn’t given the right support at the time and felt I should pursue more humanities-based subjects instead. Although this hasn’t affected my ability to get into a career that I love (marketing), it did limit my choices somewhat at an important stage in my young life.

Furthermore, there is actually very little difference in the average ability of boys and girls when it comes to STEM subjects - meaning that there’s no reason girls shouldn’t be encouraged to pursue courses in these areas. In order to attract more girls to study STEM subjects at university and pursue STEM careers, we should tackle these stereotypes earlier at primary and high school levels.

About the author

Molly Spiers is head of marketing at CoinCorner - one of the UK's leading cryptocurrency exchanges. Considered (almost) a veteran in the crypto industry, Molly joined CoinCorner back in 2015 (before crypto was “cool”) and has helped grow the company from start-up to success. Molly was recently named as one of the "Women To Watch: Top UK Women in Blockchain 2019".

In her spare time, Molly enjoys going to the gym, playing netball and spending time with her husband, Mike, and son, Charlie.


EdTech

EdTech and empowering the future of learning

 

As a CEO and owner scaling up my business, working in the technology sector is an exciting place to be.
Image via Shutterstock

My current focus is on transforming education and training using gamification and Virtual Reality. This has required a mix of problem-solving skills, creativity, the ability to demonstrate a clear vision and a value proposition.

Many entrepreneurs lose out because they do not articulate a compelling value proposition. Yet establishing a substantive proposition is critical if you want to start the journey from your “idea” to building a successful company.

Michael Skok, who writes for Forbes magazine on both entrepreneurship and innovation, describes how you can test a breakthrough idea through the 3Ds. Does it fit with one or more of the following:

Discontinuous innovation - offers transformative benefits over the status quo by looking at a problem differently;

Defensible technology - offers intellectual property that can be protected to create a barrier to entry and an unfair competitive advantage; and/or a

Disruptive business model - yields value and cost rewards that help catalyze the growth of a business.

It is a good sense check to use. It is important if you want to engage investors and the most sceptical of potential customers; something that I have learned from building two businesses. It has been critical recently as I look to reach out to angel investors for SEED funding for my new venture.

My new business, PurpleSmartie, was born from a deep dive into the simple fact that the future of work and the future of learning are strongly connected. A unique personalised training platform powered by ongoing skills data with a global perspective; it is an EdTech solutions business.

Put simply EdTech (education technology) is the study and practice of designing effective instruction using technology, media, and learning theory. While #edtech solutions open up a whole range of possibilities, to be fit for purpose they need both a software/platform delivery model, and content. The quality of the content determines the quality of the learning and development experience.

We have been successfully using Gamification Skills Analysis programmes with a range of clients, including those in the tech sector. We have developed a 30-minute, mobile ready leadership game. It uses typical gaming elements, such as point scoring, competition with others, rules of play, to engage and challenge users to solve problems.

It enables 100% skills gap analysis, business-wide; provides an unbiased skills analysis across departments and can assist with succession planning. With it you can obtain accurate skills data analysis, before and after training. We use it in this way so the client training we provide is focused on a high ROI. It is scalable, cross-generational and cultural, exciting and innovative.

Cloud and mobile computing, artificial intelligence, and increasing automation have created the potential to transform nearly every aspect of a business; learning and development included.

The industry analyst group Gartner produced a paper last year which cited nearly 40 per cent of Chief Information Officers report they are leaders of digital transformation in their enterprise.

What is more these CIOs are being given the opportunity to lead not only in managing delivery, but managing talent and executing effective leadership.

Interestingly, the importance of having both ‘soft’ skills and leadership capabilities as well as expert knowledge is something that I built my first business around. Skills4Stem Ltd is now a mature and successful corporate training business, working within the UK, UAE and further afield. Sister company, Skills4Stem Ireland Ltd, is building on the continued success of Skills4Stem in a growth territory that offers further opportunity and possibility for innovation.

Innovation and talent are closely linked. To encourage new talent into the tech sector we need to get better demonstrating at its practical benefits and multiple points of entry. I did not study Computer Science or Games Development, my first qualification was a BA (Hons) in lighting design.

My career has developed from there because I have an appetite to learn, evolve and am passionate about making a change. Government and educational initiatives are in place to help address the skills shortage in STEM sectors, but I wanted to bring some commercial perspectives to this issue.

Three key points of practical advice to pass on to others:

  • I had the benefit of a senior sponsor who helped me earlier in my career. Mentoring and sponsorship internally within an organisation is something I support as a beneficiary of this approach myself.
  • Networks and the ability to network are also important; and I value the input and feedback I get from these opportunities.
  • Career development and leading your own business requires some risk-taking and advocating for oneself; to paraphrase Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In, traits that girls are sometimes discouraged from exhibiting. But we can make a change – person by person.

About the author:

Sarah Davis FCIOB MCIoD, CEO, Skills4Stem Ltd sarah davis

With many years’ experience in the built environment sector, Sarah Davis founded Skills4Stem Ltd in 2014 with the objective of helping to address the current shortage of skills within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with a focus within the Built Environment.

As a graduate herself in the engineering field of Lighting Design, she is well placed to understand the issues that are currently being faced within industry.

Sarah is an FCIOB Chartered Construction Manager. Sarah was instrumental in setting up the CIBSE group: Women in Building Services Engineering (WiBSE). She was a member of the Royal Institute of Architecture (RIBA) Barriers to Women in Architecture Task Force in 2014 and is a current member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Built Environment Executive.

She was also a key member of the Government Task Force on Gender Diversity within the Built Environment with Meg Munn MP, which produced its Building the Future – Women in Construction report in March 2014. Today Sarah has an active role in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Women in Enterprise.

Sarah was a finalist for the 2015 Women of Achievement in Construction Awards and she was on the judging panel for the European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards 2015. In February 2017 Sarah won Bedfordshire Business Woman of the Year 2017.


Code First Girls - Career Switcher

Code First Girls launches subsidised coding courses in web development, python & database management

Code First Girls - Career Switcher courses

Starting in May, Code First Girls are offering 4 week, subsidised coding courses in web development, python and database management, specifically for those seeking a transition into a role in technology.

Who are Code First Girls?

Code First Girls are a social enterprise that provides coding educational interventions for women who are interested in a career in technology. Code First Girls launched in 2015, with a mission to transform technology through educational opportunity. So far, they have taught over 14,000 women how to code and have connected them with 40+ top employers.

What are the courses?

Delivered virtually in small classes of 15 with dedicated and experienced instructors, the courses are structured with two evening classes a week (6-8pm) for four weeks. Designed to help women develop industry endorsed skills through hands-on projects, participants finish the course with an applied knowledge of coding languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript, Python, or SQL. Courses start in May, June, and July and run for four weeks.

What comes after the course?

As an alumnus of Code First Girls, you will have access to exclusive webinars, events, continuous education, and job postings directly to the CFG community. You will be sent roles relevant to your course and if you decide to apply, Code First Girls will provide coaching and support to aid your application process.

What kind of jobs do Code First Girls' alumni find?

Graduates of their web development course find jobs as front-end developers, software engineers, or visualization architects. Those who complete their Python or SQL courses are in demand for roles as data analysts, full-stack developers, or technical consultants. Graduates of any course are also in demand for technology adjacent roles as recruiters, marketers, or project managers who understand technical teams and products.

What does the course cost?

The course is offered at the heavily subsidised rate of £685.

Go to Code First Girls' new website to sign up. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to professionals@codefirstgirls.org.uk.

Code First Girls

 

 


learning, digital experience

It's always a good idea to develop your tech skills | Sharing some thoughts on how to do it

learning, digital experience

It will come as no surprise to most or all of you that no matter how or where you earn your living, technology will play an important role in your career.

Helene Panzarino – of Centre or Digital Banking at The London Institute of Banking & Finance – offers her tips on skilling up on tech.

At the end of last year, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported that 62% of companies in the UK expected to retrain employees over 2019 – with over half of those businesses citing new technologies or new services as the reason.

While there is concern about the skills shortage in the UK’s tech sector, Britain’s digital skills gap is affecting all industries, even farming, according to Access Government. The workplace is simply becoming more digital. Every industry – from media, banking and recruitment, to health and education – needs more tech savvy workers, and every sector is coming to rely on technological expertise.

So, if your tech skills are good, you can look forward to some great opportunities. If you’re not so confident, now’s a good time to brush up. No need to panic – it could be easier than you think.

Tech skills are plenty, so if you are not looking to take a degree level qualification, which tech skills should you be learning?

This depends on you, your interests and where you want your career to take you.

It’s always worth taking a regular and objective look for gaps in your skillset and asking yourself what you need to take you to the next level.

If you’re in a business strategy role, consider learning more about data analysis for example. People in this sphere are highly valued by employers because ‘data is the new oil’ and plays a vital part in the overall business process. If you’re in marketing and comms, you need to know how to write for the web, what keywords are, and to understand search engine optimisation and user analytics.

Unsure of where you want to go next? Then talk to colleagues, managers, friends or family. Concerned about the cost? Your employer may offer you internal or external training funded through their learning and development budget.

Although it can sometimes feel like information overload, it’s useful to keep an ear to the ground for what’s happening in the wider world of tech. Free online publications, like WiredBusiness InsiderTechCrunchThe Verge and Engadget will keep you up to date. If you have a good idea of what’s going on, this will help you work out where your interests lie.

Once you’ve decided where you want to get to, the next step is to work out what to do to get there. The National Careers Service website offers an online skills health check and details of different careers – including a section on computing, technology and digital. This will help you identify gaps in your learning and experience. It’s also great to seek out inspirational role models in your chosen area, join groups or associations where members share their experience and expertise, or attend topical events, Meetups, and lectures where you can network with people who are doing or have done what you are looking to start.

Skilling up

If you are in employment, it’s always worth asking your line manager what sort of training is available through your employer’s learning and development programmes. For example, we work with banks and financial services companies to offer training in FinTech and digital banking. If training isn’t available in house, your company may fund you to attend an external course, especially if you can make a good case for how the training will support you in your role.

But if you can’t get training through work, all is not lost. There are plenty of affordable – even free – accredited online courses available.

The Open University (OU) has some free courses, including several on data analysis and interpretation, including Simple coding, which will teach you the basics of Python, and a course on Learn to code for analysis. You will be awarded a ‘certificate of completion’ for these when you finish which you can mention on your CV. The OU also runs courses up to degree level, so if you decide you want a career in digital, take a look.

Code Academy and Udemy run affordable short courses, that you can study online in the evenings and weekends. Another good provider is Lynda, which now belongs to LinkedIn and offers training you can do at your own pace at home. Their courses cover everything from computer languages at various levels, to user experience (UX) social media marketing, graphics and web programmes.

Shout about your achievements

Once you’ve completed a course, let your line manager know so that they can help you integrate your new learning into your work. This will be important for your next performance review or when you apply for a new job.

Give your digital skills and experience prominence on your CV and in any performance review with management. Show how you used your skills, what the outcome was and how it has had a positive impact on the business.

Improving your digital skills is a win-win. Apart from improving your salary, it shows employers that you understand what they need and that you have the initiative and ability to pursue your professional development.

Training in technology will help you with problem solving and analytical thinking - both of which are valued in the workplace – and will set you on the right path to succeed in your career.