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Vacancy Spotlight: EMEA Technology Associate Programme | Invesco

Invesco logoDid you know that there are great careers for IT professionals within Investment Management?

When people think about Investment Management firms, they don’t always think about the huge variety of career paths there are for people who are not fund managers. There are many teams behind the scenes who make incredibly valuable contributions to the success of our firm.

We are one of the world’s leading asset managers, solely dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life.

The Invesco Technology Associate Programme

We are looking for enthusiastic graduates to join our EMEA Technology Associate Programme in Henley. This rotational program will begin on in December 2020, and is designed to infuse our technology teams with fresh, innovative thinking and increase collaboration and partnership across the Technology organisation.

You will experience classroom-like training, in addition to completing a case study, followed by multiple rotations throughout Technology. At the end of the programme, you will roll off into a full-time position within the organisation. This full-time role will be awarded through a collaborative conversation involving you, the Associate Programme leader, your mentor, and relevant people from the business and HR.

Following the initial classroom style training, participants will commence rotations and ongoing fixed assignments to support technical, leadership and management training.

You will be pushed outside of your comfort zone with technical project work. Each Technology Associate will be assigned a personal mentor to help guide, coach, and provide support throughout the programme.

Rotation Opportunities

Several exciting rotations are available, which will allow you to get an understanding of the varying types of roles on offer within the investment management industry.

Distribution Engineering

A truly agile team which is creating a world class client experience when accessing the Invesco global web platform.

SIP (Strategy, Innovation and Planning)

Maybe strategy and innovation are your passion? This team is changing the way we use and interact with technology in a corporate organisation so that we remain cutting edge.

Investment Engineering

The core of our business revolves around how we manage our client’s money. Be part of a team that manage and have insight into the systems that support these processes.

Enterprise Architecture

Help set the strategic technology direction for our firm, learn from our team of experienced architects to gain knowledge that will last a lifetime.

These rotations and the course content will help give you a great start your career in one of the following roles

  • Engineer
  • System Architect
  • Solution Architect
  • Scrum Master
  • Technology Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Enterprise Architect

During the programme, you will:

  • Complete the required classroom-like training and the programme case study over 1-2 months
  • Participate in delivery of technology solutions end to end. Build one or more of the following core capabilities (business analysis, project management, application development, web development, enterprise architecture, quality assurance)
  • Learn the end to end Invesco business model and growth strategy (product, investment, sales, operations and corporate services)
  • Participate in 2-3 rotations within the Technology organisation over the course of the program
  • Participate in cultural, technology and management training
  • Collaborate with the EMEA Associate Programme Sponsor(s), personal mentor, and other people from within the business

To be successful in this role you will:

  • Possess a relevant degree in Science, Technology or Engineering
  • Have a keen interest in technology and how it can be used to shape an organisation
  • Use transferable skills acquired from your degree to help you excel in your new role
  • Have the ability to communicate and work with both technical and non-technical partners
  • Possess excellent communication and networking skills
  • Love collaborating and working with great teams
  • Have a resilient and innovative attitude, with the ability to challenge the status quo
  • Be willing to challenge the definition of a well-rounded technologist
  • Strive for success beyond title and status; go beyond manager’s expectations
  • Collaborate with multiple departments and effectively influence positive change and ideas
  • Keep up with the latest trends and be a disruptive thinker

Our commitment to you

We recognise that everyone is different and that the way in which people want to work and deliver at their best is different for everyone. As part of Invesco’s commitment to ensuring our teams have the broad range of experiences and backgrounds required to promote diversity of thought, and to maintaining a positive, engaging work environment, we champion flexible working.

Please feel free to discuss flexible working options with us.

The Good Stuff

Joining Invesco is just the start. We focus on nurturing internal talent, offering a variety of tools to support your career advancement, including ongoing learning and development and internal career opportunities.

We have an outstanding benefits package, which includes

  • Competitive salary and bonus
  • Company-provided healthcare
  • Annual leave + bank holidays
  • Generous pension provisions
  • Income protection
  • Health and wellness benefits
  • Volunteering days
  • Enhanced parental leave
  • Life insurance
  • 26 days' annual leave

Our Commitment to the Community, the Environment and Responsible Investing

We partner with charitable organisations globally to make an impact in the communities where we live and work. Our people are encouraged to support the charities they feel most passionate about and are offered two days’ volunteering leave annually.

We are committed to adopting and implementing responsible investment principles and practices that uphold our fiduciary responsibility to our clients, as well as being good stewards of the environment.

Invesco is committed to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. We serve our clients in this space as a trusted partner both on specific responsible investment product strategies as well as part of our commitment to deliver a superior investment experience.

Join Us

We’re driven by a passion to exceed. Our people are our greatest asset and we take pride in supporting our colleagues both personally and professionally. If you're looking for challenging work, great colleagues, and a global employer with a social conscience, we invite you to explore your potential with us.

People with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to apply for employment with Invesco may request this by sending an e-mail to EMEA- Talent Acquisition. Please include your name, the job you are interested in, and the type of accommodation you are requesting.

Closing date for applications – 14th October 2020


Navigating the Journey to Success in UX

By Elite Avner Torbit, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK

Elite Avner TorbitElite Avner Torbit is Lead UX Designer at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK.

She is focused on introducing design thinking methodologies that put customers at the centre of the design efforts of the company’s tax and accounting solutions. She is responsible for creating the environment for everyone involved to be creative, experiment and collaborate every day, with the ultimate goal of delivering products that customers will love.

What do you do?

For the past seven years, I’ve been a digital UX designer predominantly focused on B2B applications. For the uninitiated, UX is the applied practice of guiding users on helpful, easy and satisfying user journeys, both in digital products, and physical products as well.

I have worked with a wide range of businesses, from large retailers and finance companies, to independent businesses, SMEs, non-profits and start-ups. It’s been a tremendously varied career so far, but what is common among all my roles is my focus on user experience at the centre of all design. I enjoy helping businesses relate to their customers and solving complex problems by making solutions simple. I also love the variety of facilitating workshops, running user research, sketching ideas and creating wireframes and prototypes.

How did you get into UX as a career?

In my career, it’s safe to say that pre-UX I was a bit of a digital generalist. I held different digital roles in project management, digital strategy and CRM management. I also managed project delivery for websites, and this was what piqued my interest in UX. UX designers are a bit like conduits as they talk to all the different people involved in producing a product or service. I liked that, because I’ve always been the type of person who liaises between everyone, acting as a bridge to various project needs.

I was looking for a new career direction…and began studying UX independently, applying what I’d learned along the way for charities and small businesses either on a voluntary basis, or for nominal fees. I did this for a year, and after that year, I had a portfolio I could use to begin applying for ‘real’ UX jobs, which is exactly what I did. 18 months after my self-directed journey into UX began, I got my first proper UX job as a contractor through an agency.

It goes to show how important it is to have a portfolio in UX, as, in my experience, companies won’t hire designers without a portfolio of work. They want to understand your thought process and how you approach something, whether you know the domain well or not. In most roles, the end result is usually the most important thing, but in UX, the process takes precedence in many ways. When you create a portfolio, it’s important to show your own journey through each project. You want to demonstrate how you contributed to the deliverables of each project phase, showing that you understand the UX process and everything that goes into it.

It’s all based on design thinking. Generally, I focus on B2B, but it doesn't actually matter whether you’re designing a gardening app or a large-scale tax and accounting solution, which is my current focus: the process is the same. Design thinking is about empathising with users, exploring the problem and understanding how the people who use the product or service may behave in the moment, and why.

The importance of talking to customers. We start with a short discovery phase. This gives us a chance to learn, up front, about our customers’ needs so that when it’s time to start building a solution, we’ve already had a thorough validation of our ideas, and we deliver great outcomes based on research.

What’s it like being a UX designer at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK?

I enjoy the fact that we’re effectively a ‘floating resource’ and can join any team that needs us at a specific time. For example, UK UX designers recently joined the Wolters Kluwer Virtual Code Games, where teams of developers collaborated and connected to develop inventive solutions as part of our ongoing innovation stream. With over 500 participants and 100 teams across the globe, it was an amazing initiative to be part of, and we loved helping teams tell their stories by considering the user journey at all times.

Within our local community of UX designers, and more broadly at a global level, there's a lot of support and activity taking place. We have coaching and best practice sessions, and we help each other to embed UX firmly across a future-focused technology business – it’s a great place for any UX designer to be, and I’m glad my journey has brought me here.

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

The Importance of Female Role Models in STEM

Sophie DenhamSophie Denham is a Senior Engineering Manager in Technical Project Management for Shark Robotics. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunities her career in Design has given her, enabling her to work at world-leading companies and study abroad.

She puts much of this down to the incredible female role models she has been lucky to have around her. Here she discusses her experiences and why she jumped at the chance to get involved in SharkNinja’s WeLead programme, an innovative global support network for women across the company, as well as education and entry avenues into STEM through joint ventures with universities and schools.

For most of my childhood, I had my heart set on joining the Police Force, but also knew I wanted to go to University first. During secondary school, I studied Product Design and was fortunate enough to have a truly inspiring Product Design teacher, who had built the department up using the very latest technologies in 3D printing and had worked in the industry for years before turning to teaching. This meant I was exposed to what Product Design was, both as an industry and what it could mean as a career, whereas in most other subjects, it was difficult for me to perceive how they would be used in real life. I loved the ability to combine maths, physics and creativity to produce products that people actually wanted and needed, so felt this was the perfect degree for me. I studied BSc in Product Design at Brunel University - it was rigorous and demanding and I could genuinely see myself pursuing a career in design if it weren’t for my dream of joining the Police. Yet upon graduation, I didn’t even look at Police recruitment. By the end of those four years, I realised how much I had loved my course and the real insights I had given me into the worlds of design, engineering and technology.

So, I began my career as a Design Engineer with Dyson and following that, moved to Auckland to work for a medical company Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Here I specialised in consumer research and front- end design, taking a leading role in running global clinical trials on an innovative new technology to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Across these two roles I was involved in designing technology leading to three patents, which is a great achievement for any designer. I then joined SharkNinja when I returned to the UK, first as a Design Engineer before transitioning into Technical Project Management.

After over two years working in the Ninja category, I left the company to pursue another interest, joining a small startup in London that makes hardware and software to empower young people to learn to code in a creative environment. Here, I learned a vast amount about software development, becoming a qualified Scrum Master as well as taking a leading role in restructuring the manufacturing division of the company.

Earlier this year, I then rejoined SharkNinja to begin an exciting new challenge within the Robots division, combining my experiences in hardware and software as Senior Engineering Manager, Technical Project Management. In this role, I am responsible for ensuring the products within this Robots category are delivered to the requirements set by both the consumers and the business, by ensuring collaboration and cohesion across the different teams within the global Robots division.

I am truly thankful for the opportunities my career in Design has given me, enabling me to work at world-leading companies and study abroad. Much of this I put down to the incredible role models I was fortunate enough to have in school, university and workplaces. As a woman in STEM, it is especially important to have these role models, yet shockingly, only 22% of students are able to name a famous female working in technology. Having spent much of my career being the only female within an engineering team, I am so grateful to the incredible support network of female mentors and colleagues who have guided me along the way. With their support; whether that has been highlighting when I’ve done something really well, or given me a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge when I have made errors in work or judgement, I have grown from being a timid, quiet member of the team to someone who feels confident speaking out. Without these incredible female role models, I fear I would still be the quiet mouse of the team, afraid to speak out when I have ideas.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to get involved in SharkNinja’s WeLead programme. This is an amazing initiative which provides a global support network for women across the company, as well as education and entry avenues into STEM through joint ventures with universities and schools. Naturally, this is something I wanted to be a part of; to connect with the wealth of talented, strong women at SharkNinja, both to offer my support to others and to continue to support myself.

SharkNinja has such an array of female talent and having the chance to expose that talent to girls and women who may not have considered a career in STEM is also hugely important to me. Throughout my life I have been passionate about exposing more school aged children, particularly girls, to our industry, by tutoring STEM subjects through to A-level and speaking in schools about what real jobs look like within STEM. WeLead gives me an incredible platform to continue this at SharkNinja.

The importance of female role models in STEM is unparalleled and I am so happy to be working for a company which recognises and actively promotes this. The future is bright for women in tech.

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

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Victoria McKay

Victoria McKay appointed CEO of #techmums to reach more digitally excluded mums in post COVID-19 age

Victoria McKayVictoria McKay has been appointed CEO of #techmums to help reach more digitally excluded mums in post COVID-19 age.

Victoria McKay founded and ran the Women's Jewellery Network, a global community of women in the jewellery industry. She was also Chief Operating Officer of the highly respected, London Diamond Bourse.  Victoria also serves as Clerk to The Worshipful Company of Lightmongers.

Victoria succeeds Lauren Allison, who served as CEO of #techmums since 2019. Lauren successfully transformed #techmums into the organisation it is today, launching popular national clubs and launching a new online offer.

Speaking about her appointment, Victoria said, "Ensuring mums have great digital skills is the best way to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and build a fairer and more inclusive society."

"My own professional success started with someone giving me a computer, dial up and an opportunity."

"Digital literacy is vital to communities and my aim is to scale our ability to make a difference to reduce the digital skills gap."

"We need to ignite the potential in even more mums, who in turn can then become tech role models for their children."

"We need to invest more, so that mums are better represented in the tech sector."

"I look forward to advocating for that."

#techmums was created by Professor Sue Black OBE in 2012 as a direct response to the noticeable lack of  female representation in the Technology Industry, which still only sits at around 17% in 2019.

#techmums works with partners to train mothers in key areas including social media, The Cloud, staying safe online, right through to the basics of app design, web design, and coding.

Black said, "We recruited Victoria not only for her professional expertise in growing an organisation, whilst being a champion for female inclusion but also, because she identifies with those we seek to help."

"At 20, having had a disadvantaged upbringing  she was single with a baby, living in poor temporary accommodation."

"She’s now risen to become an established business leader."

"Learning tech skills helped her do that. We are delighted to have recruited someone who understands challenge and transformative opportunity.”

Kate Platonova, #techmums Chair and herself a #techmum added, "Victoria brings considerable experience and shares the vision of the #techmums board."

"This year, we have revitalised our board with two new additions including me and we have spent the summer working with Victoria to define our future growth strategy."

"We all very much look forward to working with her to deliver support to #techmums in raising awareness of the need for greater digital inclusion, particularly for people from hard to reach communities."

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.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

watching a virtual conference on a laptop, zoom call, video call

Being a woman in STEM and working on the frontline during the pandemic

watching a virtual conference on a laptop, zoom call, video callHere, Antonia Purdie, ICT Project Manager at Glide, reflects on her experience around being a woman in STEM and working on the frontline during the pandemic.

How long have you been at Glide for and what is your role?

“I have been at Glide for just over two years now as an ICT Project Manager. Prior to joining Glide, I served in the British Army for six years within the Royal Corp of Signals, where I carried out three tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Would you please be able to talk us through some of the different network projects you managed during lockdown? 

“One of the projects I worked on throughout lockdown is replacing BT fibre with our own dark fibre in Coventry. This has been really successful to date. I have also been working at the University of Worcester on a new managed service project which is quite a big project for Glide, as well as a number of other student accommodation projects across the Midlands.”

How was your experience of working on the frontline to deliver connectivity during the pandemic?

“It was definitely a different experience. It was challenging in terms of there being a lot of delays on site due to COVID-19 restrictions and numerous building works being halted. Once the sites were deemed COVID-secure we were allowed back on site, where we had the two-metre social distancing restrictions to adhere to as well as all of our health and safety documentations that had to be updated. It was also a priority to manage our customers’ expectations with projects being delayed.”

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

“It hasn’t been as bad as I envisioned it to be, as everyone is aware of what’s been happening and have been very understanding. The delays haven’t really been on our side because we have been waiting for building contractor. Therefore we can only go in and do the install once the building has achieved PC (Project Completed) status. In that respect, the pressure has been taken off of us slightly. I am currently doing some work where we are undertaking a migration from a previous provider to our network. This has been quite challenging with tight timescales and a backlog of work.

How has your past network engineering experience enabled you to work effectively during lockdown?

“I think my past experience of being a Field Engineer working for Thales France out in Afghanistan has helped me work effectively. It is quite restrictive over there and working with the military is obviously very vigilant, with a key focus on ‘expect the unexpected’. You don’t see any family or friends and it is very isolating, so in that respect, it is similar to the restrictions during the height of lockdown. Continuing working through this lockdown has also helped to keep my mind occupied and has certainly helped to keep a sense of normality during this time.”

Do you have any advice for other women pursuing a career in engineering or in the fibre connectivity field?

“Just to follow your dreams, if that is something you’re passionate about, then go for it. There are so many more opportunities now for women within this sector. When I first joined Glide there were not many female project managers, so I was one of the first in some time and now we have numerous females. This isn’t just a man's world, there are now equal opportunities across the board.”

Antonia PurdieAbout Antonia

Antonia Purdie is a Project Manager with over 12 years of experience, working as part of a project delivery team within Glide. Antonia specialises in project end to end delivery of I.T Managed Services for student, residential and business customers across the Midlands region. Antonia is a highly motivated and enthusiastic Project Manager with an international working background, who demonstrates project and leadership skills throughout a highly successful and challenging career. In her free time, Antonia likes to hike with friends and spend quality time with her 6yr old daughter.



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

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

woman working on laptop featured

Kickstart your career in tech from the comfort of your own home

Article by Shan Beerstecher, Club Executive at AND Digital

We’ve all seen the stats. Despite a decade-long push to try and encourage women into tech roles, females still only represent around 19% of the digital workforce. It’s time to make a change. 

As the events of Covid-19 encourage us to chase new talents and pick up new skills, we now have a unique opportunity to kickstart a career in tech. And thanks to the shift to digital, this can all be done from the comfort of our own home. Here are a few of my tips.

Expand your network

It really is true that empowered women, empower women. Joining online forums and attending virtual meetups is a great way to meet people with a mutual interest in learning about tech, to trade tips and boost confidence in those early stages. This is also a great way to build your network within the industry. You don’t know which new connection might be working in the company of your dreams, have the intel on the next big hiring spree or be able to guide you into your ideal role.

It’s also very important to remain inspired while pursuing your new career in tech. Find motivating female role models on LinkedIn or listen to their Ted Talks. If you come across someone that really strikes a chord with you; follow them, listen to them, and if you can, connect with them.

Sign up for online courses

The most obvious way to test the water of your tech career – just give it a try. There are a lot of great online courses out there, many of which are free to encourage interest in the sector. When you can give coding a go without parting with your pennies (or leaving your sofa), there really is nothing to lose.

For example, Code First Girls (CFG), an online community dedicated to empowering women in tech, has created a range of great free courses to develop your skills in the programming world. Its eight-week Coding Kickstarter course will launch on September 7th, offering an introduction to frontend development, JavaScript, and equipping you with all of the skills you need to try building your own website from scratch. The fantastic team at CFG have worked hard to create courses that cater to different interests in tech, so if Coding Kickstarter isn’t quite what you are looking for, you can browse the rest of their sessions here.

Focus on your soft skills

One of the biggest myths I encounter in the industry is that you need a tech degree to work in tech. It just isn’t the case. I’m not technical and my tech career has spanned nine years. On top of there being an abundance of non-technical roles within the digital industry, from owning and understanding products, to driving delivery, designing, and leading teams; soft skills can be a lot more important than what you have written down on paper. What you need is a passion for what technology can give you, your community, our society and a willingness to learn.

Can you collaborate effectively within a team? Are you a great listener? If you can showcase soft skills such as empathy, respect and creativity, you’re already halfway there in securing your new tech role. Remember, technical skills can always be learnt.

A great way to showcase soft skills is through your own pet projects – side hustles if you will. Taking time out of your personal schedule to pursue a new hobby shows genuine interest in the topic, an ability to prioritise your time, and most importantly, spotlights your personality. Another popular myth to bust is that we are not all robots working in tech. We all have interests outside of work, and this is the side of you your new employer wants to see.

This is something we are big on at AND Digital. Even our job descriptions are double-barrelled. For instance, while my official role is Club Executive AND Proudly South African – a testament to my home country and obsession with Nelson Mandela leadership styles - my team consists of fitness fanatics, amateur bakers and body poppers, to name just a few! It adds a personal touch to our email signatures but also makes for a great conversation starter - who really enjoys small talk anyway?

Have confidence

Pursuing a career in tech is not as daunting as it may seem. I’ve actually found it to be one of the most inclusive and supportive fields I have had the pleasure of working in. Digital is virtually limitless, attracts some of the best minds of our generation and is guaranteed to continue going from strength to strength in coming years. Tech is booming across the world, but there will always be the need for a strong digital workforce to drive it forward. Why shouldn’t you be one of them?

If we continue taking steps to support each other, make use of online resources and accentuate the brilliant qualities of our ‘non-work’ selves, I’m confident we can overcome gender misrepresentation in digital and encourage many more women into tech.

Shan BeerstecherAbout the author

Shan is an innovative and collaborative digital leader with experience across diverse industries and geographies. Bringing a balance of business, people/culture, digital and agile delivery into all of her work, Shan has led digital transformation projects for a number of large financial services organisations and created value for global brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness.

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 learning to code featured

Entering the tech industry as a woman: 5 pieces of advice

Jutta Horstmann, Chief Operating Officer at eyeo

woman learning to codeIt's no secret we still have a long way to go before we can truly say we live in a gender equal society.

Whether it is the gender pay-gap or a lack of women in leadership positions, there are still so many areas where women experience setbacks in their career or in daily life based on gender.

The technology industry is a clear example of where women are still the minority. In fact, a recent report revealed only 27% of female students say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males, and only 3% say it is their first choice.

I first noticed the huge gender divide in the tech sector when I started working as a system administrator and database developer back in the 90’s and got involved in the open source community. For me, it goes without saying more needs to be done to get women interested in tech, but probably now, in a global pandemic, more than ever. In light of this, I want to share 5 pieces of advice for women looking to start a career in tech.

Own the room

Don’t let anybody tell you that tech isn’t for you. It is one of the most creative and innovative spaces to work in - and very well paid I have to add. How could this not be your cup of tea?

There will be lots of voices telling you otherwise: Family, teachers, and even the way you find women depicted in the media. But this is just not the truth.

I graduated in Computer Sciences and I went through a dozen different roles in tech. Believe me: It is fun, and you can totally do it.


So now you feel confident - great! But I know that there will be times when being a minority by gender in your area of work will be exhausting. This is when you will need a network of other females in tech. Use it to exchange knowledge in your field, and to share experiences. Don’t fear that this will be a group of gruntled moaners. Your network will support you by sharing success stories, best practices, and learnings from failure. For any tech area, there are related groups of interest for females in that field. Google is your friend.

Additionally, I highly recommend attending conferences and local meetups. And as I am sure you will have something interesting to share from your experiences, make sure to also speak at them!

Be patient

To be clear: When I advise to be patient, I definitely do not advise to tolerate either misogyny or sexism. You might face both. But often they come from a lack of education and understanding of male privileges and are easily reversed as soon as you explain to the person how their action affects you.

Patience and always assuming best intentions first before proven otherwise will help you to pick your battles, and not wear out.

Be yourself

As a minority by gender, it might seem useful to adapt to your male peers' behaviour and preferences. You expect to blend in, and to find more acceptance.

First, this rarely works out. Second, it hurts you if you try to be somebody you are not.

But most important, it is proven that diversity in a team leads to best results.

So being your best self-will highly benefit the product or service you are building.

If the environment you are working in is not yet as up-to-date to appreciate this - change the environment! If this means to speak up at your current place or to change your employer - be ensured that the industry is looking for tech talent and you will easily find one that wants exactly your true self (hint: we are hiring as well!).

Enjoy the ride!

I cannot stress enough how happy I am about having chosen a career in tech.

I was and still am able to have an impact on one of the most important aspects of everybody's everyday life.

In any of the tech areas I have worked in throughout my career, I found my work to be highly satisfying, and have also found my work environment and colleagues inspiring and kind.

Being a minority in any area always comes with some difficulties. But rest assured that the benefits always outweigh the negatives.

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

female data scientist, woman leading team

Good data science requires diverse data scientists

Article by Justine O’Neill, director, Analytic Partners

female data scientist, woman leading teamAsk someone to picture a data scientist and what do you think they are most likely to conjure in their minds?

Somewhat depressingly, I’d hazard a guess that they would imagine a man, and quite possibly a ‘geeky’ man. In some ways they wouldn’t be wrong – most data scientists are men.

According to the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) research carried out earlier this year, only 15% – 22% of data scientists are women. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it will take concerted effort on many people’s part to change it. About 55% of university graduates are women, but from that point onwards the funnel narrows. Only about 35% of STEM degrees are held by women and that drops in the workplace with around 25% STEM jobs being done by women.

So, how to unpick this challenge? Firstly, there is a distinct image problem for data science, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in general. There has been plenty of hype around AI and how it will quickly answer so many of society’s problems and automate mundane and labour-intensive roles – but the media is also full of stories about its limitations and the problems that have arisen when too much weight is placed on algorithms at the expense of human insight.

Most recently we’ve had Ofqual’s disastrous algorithm for A level and GCSE exam results which tipped schools and universities into chaos and was met with derision from teachers and students alike before the government was forced to ditch it entirely. Oh, the irony as we try to make a case for improving data science’s image and appeal among this cohort of students.

But the other challenge centres on data science’s lack of appeal for women specifically. This seems to be partly because when assessing career options, female STEM students are looking for applied, impact-driven work – they want their jobs to have a tangible effect and don’t see data science as fulfilling that.

There is clearly a job to be done among all businesses looking to hire graduates to explain more clearly how data science solves business problems – to promote its demonstrable attributes. Everyone working in the industry should share their inspiring stories about the rigours and rewards that come from their jobs. Students want to hear specifics and get to grips with what the day-to-day expectations and experiences of this job would be – show why it’s not just the domain of the nerds.

Diversity in our sector is imperative. As the author Margaret Heffernan says, “algorithms are opinions encoded in numbers” – we need the broadest range of voices building and working on those algorithms to be alert to the bias that can be built into the data sets used to create them. If your team has genuine breadth of thought and experience, then it is more likely to identify biases and produce more accurate and balanced results.

The business case could not be clearer – ensuring a company has diverse teams is not just because gender balance is a ‘good to have’, it’s essential for strategy and success. It is why men should be championing diversity with the same enthusiasm as women.

No one says this is easy. It may require a root and branch rethink of how your organisation fills its roles. I suspect many people involved in hiring data scientists will bemoan the disproportionate number of men applying to women for every role. But even from this starting position, businesses can successfully achieve a better balance in their workforce.

Everyone needs to look at the wording of their job ads, the tone of voice used and where they are placing their adverts. If you use recruiters have you explicitly requested more diverse longlists of candidates? Look at who internally is involved in the interviewing; changes can be made at all points to help nudge toward a more balanced workforce.

I work for a global analytics consultancy where three of our senior team are women, starting with our president and CEO. This is not the case for many of our competitors, but it does show how diversity can be possible.

A shift is taking place – clients want to work with more diverse agency teams, conferences want better balanced panels and speakers, younger candidates want to be in organisations that better reflect the world outside of work. The business and moral argument are aligning, and everyone needs to get on board.

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

Interested in a Career in Cybersecurity? Here’s How to Make a Meaningful Impact

Article by Meera Rao, Senior Director of Product Management, Synopsys Software Integrity Group

cyber securityI was a software developer and continuous integration practitioner for over 20 years before I accidentally was thrown into the security field.

When I initially joined this field, I had no clue about anything related to security, and was quite nervous when talking to my own colleagues let alone speaking to clients or at conferences, as I do now. Being able to speak intelligently about the field and sharing my knowledge at conferences helped me a lot in my career in the security field. Having a solid understanding of software development, end to end knowledge of the software development life cycle, and a deep understanding of software architectures was instrumental to my success in the security field.

From data breaches, to open source security issues, IoT devices vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and unsecured servers, we have seen it all and continue observing these security issues pop up almost every day. So, how can you be part of an industry which has a severe talent deficit, make a positive impact, grow your career, and be well compensated?

In all honesty, having advanced degrees in information security is not necessary to be a leader in this industry, and I am the prime example of this fact. Let me walk you through the job requirements for some of the latest AppSec focus areas, and offer some guidance around how to contribute and be part of the latest trends in the industry:

Cloud Security Practitioner: Cloud is the talk of the town these days. Every organization (big or small) wants to move to cloud. To work as a cloud security practitioner, you need to have experience in building, communicating, and managing cloud environments. You also need to have managed migration to the cloud, delivered a cloud native project, led and/or delivered cloud automation, and have a working knowledge of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud platforms. Knowledge of RedHat / OpenStack would also be highly valuable.

DevSecOps Engineer: Who hasn’t heard of these industry buzz words: DevOps, DevSecOps, SecDevOps? If you are interested in being part of a great DevSecOps team as a DevSecOps engineer, then you should gain experience in containerization technology—preferably Docker and Kubernetes, have written enterprise Java applications using the JEE technology stack, have deep knowledge of build automation using tools like Jenkins, Bamboo, release automation (e.g., Jenkins, Puppet, etc.) and experience using scripting languages (e.g., Ruby, Python, etc.).

Security Champion: Security Champions are software developers. They allow for application security development and architecture to provide the first level of defense when it comes to providing application security guidance to development teams. If you are part of a development team, have good communication skills, and are curious to know more about security, you can be a security champion candidate.

The following roles require that you have a solid understanding of application architectures, frameworks, threat landscape, and some security background.

Threat Modeling SME: Threat modeling identifies the types of threat agents that cause harm and adopts the perspective of malicious hackers to see how much damage can be done to a system. Threat modeling subject matter expertise would require you to review the system’s major software components, security controls, assets, and trust boundaries, and then model those threats against existing countermeasures. You would then need to evaluate the potential outcomes.

Threat modeling requires an experienced security architect with knowledge in three fundamental areas: architecture and design patterns, enterprise application technologies, and security controls and best practices. Performing threat modeling is a difficult and an expensive undertaking for most organizations. Finding skilled resources is oftentimes a challenge.

Security Consultant: Do you like traveling (a requirement under traditional circumstances)? How about working within different industry verticals such as multinational media corporations, healthcare companies, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and so on? Do you like the idea of parachuting in wherever software insecurity invades and work to stomp out bugs and flaws wherever they hide? Then you would enjoy life as a security consultant. In this role you will be able to perform source code analysis, software penetration testing, secure software design and architecture, and will become an indispensable advisor to customers.

I want to leave you with a final word. What I’ve shared with you today presents a teaser of all the exciting career options you can have in the AppSec industry. However, the key to being successful is constantly learning about new attacks, threats, and above all, helping customers exterminate bugs and untangle the flaws that make their systems insecure.

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


AI isn’t biased, society is

desk-with-laptopNatalie Cramp, CEO of data science company Profusion discusses how bias found in AI-driven initiatives is a symptom of larger problems.

Over the last few years we’ve heard many stories of AI-driven systems being inherently discriminatory. From Amazon’s sexist recruitment algorithms to Nazi-sympathising chatbots, there is growing evidence that all is not quite right within the world of AI. The recent BLM protests have placed renewed focus on issues of diversity and inclusion. This has naturally led to fears that, unless something is done, there could be a wave of AI tech that perpetuates inequality. However, identifying the issue is a far cry from solving or even understanding the problem. The reality is that tackling bias in AI is a much more complex and difficult challenge than most people realise.

The first thing to understand is AI - or more accurately, machine learning algorithms - is not a sentient being. We are many decades away from that level of AI. What is currently used is essentially a series of algorithms, designed by data scientists, that analyze datasets and ‘learns’ as it goes to become more accurate. The outputs from AI are a reflection of the data it ingests. Therefore, if the data itself is biased then so too is the AI.

So how do we make the data less biased? Sadly, there is no quick fix. Data will always have some form of bias. Even if you were to erase potentially morally objectionable variables from a dataset such as gender and race so that an AI algorithm cannot use them as predictors, there are likely to be other variables in the data that correlate with these factors. The algorithm will then make predictions based on these data points and end up producing answers that are influenced by factors that people may find deeply uncomfortable.

This is not to say that AI is in any way a lost cause. We just need to think of the problem in both the short and long term. We can start by recognising that AI is at the start of its journey and approach the results with a degree of scepticism. Just because it was produced by fancy algorithms does not mean it should override human judgement. Knowing that the way an AI behaves could be discriminatory will enable those that action its outputs to tread with caution.

In some cases we can also lessen the chance of sampling bias. Often, organisations rely solely on their own customer data to fuel their algorithms. The data collected is naturally limited to a representation of that organisation’s customer base. In certain circumstances this sampling bias can lead to groups of people being misrepresented and subsequent analysis - including the outputs of an AI algorithm - becoming discriminatory. By supplementing data with information collected from more diverse sources at a much wider level, a more representative sample of the population at large can be gathered and, as a result, the chance of bias outputs can be reduced.

Next, we can look at the people who create the algorithms that underpin AI tools. As is the case in most parts of the tech sector, data science is dominated by white men. Through no fault of their own, they can inadvertently design tools or create models that are inherently discriminatory. This is simply down to a lack of different perspectives and experiences. By diversifying data teams we can bring in more views that will help to identify applications of AI that could be problematic before they leave the drawing board.

Of course, both these approaches will only help us go so far in eradicating biased AI. Long term, AI will only be free from these problems if society itself is less discriminatory. AI is, after all, a reflection of the data and the data is a representation of society. We cannot have ‘moral’ AI until society itself is fair and just.

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