BT & Code First Girls partnership

BT launches partnership with Code First Girls to close the UK gender skills gap in tech

BT & Code First Girls partnership

BT has announced a new strategic partnership with Code First Girls, to work to close the gender skills gap in the UK technology sector.

The partnership, which includes funding from BT, helps enable Code First Girls, to provide £10,000 worth of free education to every woman undertaking a course with them and to upskill upwards of 900 women. Participating women will also benefit from the expertise of BT’s world class technologists who have helped to shape the Code First Girls courses, ensuring the next generation of women in technology are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic risks having regressive consequences on gender equality due to the economic impact on employment and retention. To tackle this, and to boost the representation of women in technology roles, BT is committing to provide the tools, support and skills women need to excel in the fields of technology and IT. Within BT, TechWomen, an award-winning 12-month development programme, encourages and equips more women to move into senior technology jobs across the business. Meanwhile, BT’s new strategic partnership with Code First Girls will address the need for an increased pipeline of female talent with the technical skills required for tech-focused roles.

BT’s new strategic partnership includes financial support for Code First Girls to provide their services for free, along with offering support for the design and delivery of Code First Girls courses, which are available free to women in full-time education and recent graduates. These courses include nanodegrees, classes and open online courses in a range of skills from Python and SQL coding to website development.

Code First Girls’ nanodegree offering was influenced by their furtHER programme, a 4-month intensive full-time coding course for women, designed and delivered with the help of BT technologists. The aim of these courses is to boost recruitment of women from non-STEM backgrounds into technology jobs and to equip participants with the technical skills they need to begin an entry-level or graduate technology role.

Speaking about the partnership, Cathryn Ross, Group Regulatory Affairs Director at BT Group, and sponsor of BT’s TechWomen programme, said, “It is critically important that our tech sector reflects the diversity of the society it serves."

"At BT, as a leading UK technology company, we are playing our part to help close the gender skills gap in tech."

"Our TechWomen programme helps pave the way for women in technology to progress into senior roles at BT, but our work can’t stop there; we must support the next generation of women outside our organisation and before they enter the workforce too."

"We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Code First Girls and our new partnership signifies an important milestone in our shared ambition to support and encourage women into technology roles.”

Anna Brailsford, CEO at Code First Girls, added, “At a time when women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, our priority is to help women achieve fair employment in the tech industry."

"We have seen a vast increase in interest for our courses, since the first lockdown, with over 800 percent growth in registrations for classes."

"Through our new partnership with BT and expanded corporate partnerships, we’re able to provide more women than ever with the opportunities to learn coding, build confidence through mentorship and gain access to a wide range of careers in technology.”


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.


Rising-Star-Awards-2021-Banner

Nominations are now open for WeAreTheCity's 2021 Rising Star Awards

Rising Star Awards 2021 Banner

WeAreTheCity is delighted to announce that nominations for our 2021 Top 100 Rising Star Awards are now open.  

NOMINATE NOW

Now in its seventh year, the Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level. Our strategic goal, set in 2015, aims to showcase 1,000 outstanding women by 2022. By highlighting the accolades of these women, WeAreTheCity are not only promoting the amazing female talent that exists across the UK, but actively encouraging organisations and business leaders to invest in and recognise these women as leaders of tomorrow and individual contributors to their respective industries.

These awards will recognise and celebrate a further 100 female individual contributors from over 20 different industries that represent the leaders and role models of tomorrow. These winners will join our award’s alumni of 650 previous winners, across the UK and India.

New for this year, we are also excited to introduce a new “Global Award for Achievement” category to our awards to expand our search for global talent. This category is a female individual who works within any industry, outside of the UK, whose current position is below director level.

Alongside these categories, we are also calling for nominations for Champions, Men for Gender Balance and a Company of the Year. Our Champion award recognises the achievements of five senior individuals, of any gender, who are actively supporting the female pipeline outside of their day job. Nominations for this award are individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to gender, e.g. HeForShe supporters, network leaders, directors, MD’s & C-Suite individuals who are championing women either inside or outside their organisations.

The Men for Gender Balance category is for men who are championing women and gender balance either inside or outside their organisation. Nominees must be at least Director level (or equivalent) or above, and must demonstrate that they have actively supported the female pipeline either through their current work role or external activities.

The Company of the Year award recognises the achievements of a company who can clearly demonstrate that they are actively supporting its female talent pipeline through their initiatives, training, development programmes and internal employee relations and diversity network groups.


In previous years, the awards have been supported by an array of FTSE sponsors and this year is no different.

The 2021 Rising Star Awards are powered by the Royal Bank of Canada and supported by 3M, Accenture, Barclays, Bloomberg, the British Army, C&C Search, Cancer Research UK, Citi, CMI Women, Elysian, Goldman Sachs, GSK, Highways Sector Council, HSBC, Lloyd's Insurance, National Grid, Northern Trust, Oliver Wyman, Oxford Said Business School, and Reed Smith.

Rising Star Sponsors 2021(2)


The Rising Star Awards nominations process opens today, 11 January 2021, for all categories.

A shortlist of ten women from each industry category will be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges and will be published in April. The shortlist will then be open to a public vote. Judging for the final five winners for each category will take place with independent judges in May. The Top 100 Rising Stars will be announced on 25 May 2021.

Our 2021 winners, Rising Star alumni, judges, sponsors and supporters will be invited to a prestigious ceremony - details to be announced.

Watch our 2020 virtual awards ceremony below:


Categories including in the 2021 Rising Star Awards are as follows:

  • Rising Stars in All Other Industries
  • Rising Stars in Banking & Capital Markets, sponsored by Goldman Sachs
  • Rising Stars in Charity & Not-for-Profit, sponsored by Cancer Research UK
  • Rising Stars in Defence, sponsored by The British Army
  • Rising Stars in Digital, sponsored by Barclays
  • Rising Stars in Diversity, sponsored by Citi
  • Rising Stars in EA/PA, sponsored by C&C Search
  • Rising Stars in Education & Academia, sponsored by University of Oxford Saïd Business School
  • Rising Stars in Energy & Utilities, sponsored by National Grid
  • Rising Stars - Entrepreneurs & Start-Ups
  • Rising Stars in Healthcare, sponsored by GSK
  • Rising Stars in HR & Recruitment
  • Rising Stars in Infrastructure, Transport & Logisitics, sponsored by Highways Sector Council
  • Rising Stars in Insurance, sponsored by Lloyd's of London
  • Rising Stars in Investment Management, sponsored by Northern Trust
  • Rising Stars in Law (The Lynne Freeman Award), sponsored by Reed Smith
  • Rising Stars in Professional Services, sponsored by Oliver Wyman
  • Rising Stars in Science & Engineering, sponsored by 3M
  • Rising Stars in Technology, sponsored by Accenture
  • Rising Star Champions, sponsored by CMI Women
  • Rising Stars Company of the Year, sponsored by Bloomberg
  • Rising Stars Men For Gender Balance, sponsored by HSBC
  • Rising Stars Global Award for Achievement

Criteria for entries

  • Open to all women regardless of age
  • Nominees must be below senior management level (e.g. below Director level)
  • Nominees must be working within the industry of the category for which they are nominated
  • Nominees must be working in the UK (with the exception of the Global Award for Achievement)

How we define a Rising Star

  • Someone who is or who has the potential to be a role model in their business or sector
  • Someone who strives to achieve success and results
  • Someone who gives back or inspires others
  • Someone who is recognised by others as having the potential to become a future leader in their industry

Awards Timeline

  • Nominations open: 11 January 2021
  • Nominations close: 08 March 2021
  • Shortlist announced and public vote*: 19 April 2021
  • Public voting closes: 30 April 2021
  • Winner's announced: 25 May 2021
  • Award's ceremony: Date TBC

*There is no public vote of support for the Champion of the Year, Global Award for Achievement, Company of the Year or Men for Gender Balance award

If you have any additional questions about the awards, please contact [email protected]. For details of entry criteria, please visit here.

NOMINATE NOW


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.


WeAreTechNetworks supported by The Tech Talent Charter

WeAreTechWomen launches new collaborative networking forum for Women in Tech Network leaders

WeAreTechNetworks

SUPPORTED BY

Tech Talent Charter

WeAreTechWomen are proud to launch WeAreTechNetworks, a collaborative networking forum for individuals who are leading their organisations Women in Tech networks.

WeAreTechNetworks will welcome the chairs, co-chairs and D&I leads from a broad range of industries and sectors; and allow them to share best practice and collaborate. Founding members of WeAreTechNetworks are PwC, Visa, HSBC, Barclays, Oliver Wyman, Credit Suisse and KPMG. The group will meet for the first time in January 2021. The new network is also supported by the Tech Talent Charter.

WeAreTechNetworks founding membersMembers of WeAreTechNetworks benefit from four networking and learning events a year with topical speakers, network hacks, gender and tech headlines and speed networking with other members. Members contribute to an annual company-wide survey, which details their strategic objectives, how they are engaging male allies and the governance of their networks.

Members also benefit from hotline access to a WeAreTechNetworks co-ordinator for advice, networking matching and connections; bonus networking events; gain access to other relevant events and activities; and share the latest insights, front-line experiences and best practices.

 

 

Debbie Forster, WeAreTechNetworksWeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen have extensive experience in bringing together the chairs and co-chairs of networks to share best practice and collaborate. In 2009, CEO, Vanessa Vallely OBE launched Gender Networks, the network for women’s network leaders. This group has now grown to 100 FTSE member firms and over 400 members. Gender Networks members have benefited from cross company collaborations, sharing of ideas and best practice as well as hearing from speakers such as Baroness Goudie, June Sarpong OBE, RtH Nicky Morgan, Jo Swinson, Sadiq Khan, Shola Mos Shogbamimu and Dr Helen Pankhurst CBE.

WeAreTechNetworks’ members comprise of individuals who already chair or co-chair a corporate or public sector women in tech network; and individuals who are looking to set up a women in tech network within their organisations.

Find out more, register your interest or become a member here.


Computer Weekly Top 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Marija Butkovic, Sheree Atcheson & Sophie Deen amongst those named on the 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech list

Computer Weekly Top 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Marija Butkovic, Sheree Atcheson & Sophie Deen are amongst those named on Computer Weekly's 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech list.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, CEO, founder and head stemette at social enterprise Stemettes topped the list for 2020. Stemettes is an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics roles via a series of events and opportunities. In three years 7,000 girls across the UK, Ireland and Europe have had attended Stemette experiences. As part of the initiative she has also Co-Founded Outbox Incubator: the worlds first tech incubator for teenage girls. She sits on the boards of Redfield Asset Management, Urban Development Music Foundation and Inspirational YOU. She has previously worked at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers.

Imafidon recevied an MBE in 2017 for her services to STEM.

In September 2020, Imafidon joined the Hamilton Commission, a research project set up by race car driver Lewis Hamilton to help find and break down barriers to recruitment for black people in UK motorsport.

Now in its ninth year, the 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech list, was introduced in 2012 to make female role models in the sector more visible and accessible.

While the original list in 2012 featured only 25 women, it was expanded in 2015 to include 50 women, going on to also introduce annual lists of Rising Stars and a Hall of Fame to ensure as many women in the sector as possible are given recognition for their contribution to the tech sector and the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the IT industry.

Also recognised in the list were Marija Butkovic, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables; Sophie Deen, CEO, Bright Little Labs; Sheree Atcheson,director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Peakon; June Angelides, venture capitalist, Samos Investments; Liz Williams, CEO, FutureDotNow; Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank; and Carrie Anne Philbin, director of education, Raspberry Pi Foundation.

You can view the full list here.


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.


Not just London - Why we need to support women in tech nationally.

Watch and listen to Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, TechUK president, on why is it important to support women in tech #notjustlondon.

Question posed by Ortis Deley, Host and presenter of the Channel 5 show, The Gadget show "Why is it important to support women in tech not only in London but the whole of the UK." Filmed live at the Leadership Panel Discussion at the WeAreTechWomen Conference 2019.

Because we do a lot in London so we should share it, you know we are a whole community and not just London. But I think we are reaching a point in technology where it is a noble cause where we should have equality.

https://youtu.be/NbeqrFs9Ge8

 


Science

The truth about women in science and engineering

 

Elrica Degirmen, is a second year physics student at the University of Leeds. Here she provides her account of being a woman in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

scienceSomehow, I stumbled upon an article on the WeAreTheCity’s website where they reported that the IET has complained that only nine per cent of the engineering workforce are women.

It is not that difficult to browse through the internet to see the supposed reasons as to why the figure is seen to be so low. However, I think the issue runs deeper than women are put off from having a career in engineering or because there is a lack of female role models in the industry. In fact, I think it has nothing to do with that.

I am currently a physics undergraduate and I personally want to work in the fusion sector one day, be it in plasma physics, fusion materials or nuclear engineering. It is a multi-disciplinary field and I wanted to study physics for the solid foundation that I believed would help me enter into one of these three pathways into the future, irrespective of what I eventually decide in the end. As someone who has already had undergraduate research experience in national laboratories, I fail to accept the notion that the sector is not welcoming to women. This assumption that the scientific and engineering industries are off-putting to women is lacking in evidence and arguably counter-productive as it reinforces impressionable teenagers that STEM industries are sexist, when they are not.

I have a possible explanation as to the low rates of women in engineering. The normal way for one to obtain experience is to apply for engineering internships. It should be mentioned that an accredited engineering degree gives you the specific skills and knowledge that allows you to be chartered – providing you eventually fulfill all the academic requirements. Many summer internships stipulate that you must be studying an engineering subject, which automatically closes off potential applicants who may have the ambition and attitude to succeed in an engineering career, but just happened to have studied another STEM subject at eighteen. It is far harder to be chartered as an engineer if you studied a different subject at the age of eighteen.

I am aware that the Institute of Physics provides its own pathway to be chartered in engineering if you have studied physics, but even so, one has to get into the engineering industry in the first place. Thus, how does a science graduate compete with someone who already has studied engineering in the first place? The answer it seems, is pretty difficult. There are no obvious or even formalised schemes for those who are studying quantitative-heavy degrees to pursue an engineering career.

Engineering is worse compared to other sciences in terms of the proportion of women studying it. If women do not choose to study engineering, they are almost closing off their options later in life to be chartered as an engineer. Even if one decides to pursue postgraduate studies in engineering where their science qualifications are accepted, then there is the issue of finances. Engineering programmes are relatively more expensive to run, and the £10k loan recently introduced by the government can only go so far. Perhaps more funding should be directed for postgraduate engineering courses that allow science graduates to “convert”.

I feel that the profession closes off potential people, irrespective of gender, who may want to have a career in engineering, but just happened to have studied physics or computer science or even mathematics as their undergraduate degree.

I personally do not subscribe to identity politics, and I do not care about the proportions of women in whatever industry so long as the best people are working in the jobs. However, I feel it is a major distortion of the reality to suggest that women do not want to work in engineering. Even if people decide later on to pursue an engineering career, they find that it is too late because of the choices that they made whilst applying for university during school.

Perhaps it is the case that that there is a lack of awareness of what engineering is, or the value of studying engineering at university. Even so, I do not think that specific efforts to increase uptake from pupils to study engineering deals with the specific issue of many students whereby they later decide they want to do engineering.

I know that I will find it much harder to get into engineering (if I choose that as my desired career path). Not because I am female, but because I just happen to have studied physics as opposed to engineering at eighteen. Considering that only a relatively small percentage of women even take up engineering in the first place, I am shocked that the figure is as high as 9% personally as for a wide variety of factors not all those who study engineering will go on to pursue an engineering career.

In my opinion, if you are going to complain about the lack of women in the industry, you have to understand the real reasons why the statistics are as they are, rather than assuming it is owing to false claims of sexism or misogyny. Competition for a restricted number of engineering internships (which for many people is the first step to enter an engineering career) is already competitive by those who have studied engineering. The reality is that it is difficult for anyone, but if women do not make the right A-level choices at sixteen, then greatly hinder their chances of studying science and engineering at eighteen. I think it would help if there were a wider variety of routes for young people to enter engineering. I appreciate the need for vocational training schemes such as apprenticeships, and I fully support it but even then, you have to decide early on to pursue this. There seems to be only one academic route, in other words choosing to study engineering at university during sixth form.

I think that the IET, and other professional engineering institutions, should develop alternative routes for chartership for those who have not studied engineering but have studied a scientific subject. School outreach programmes are not enough, and talking about the perceived sexism in these industries is counter-productive.

 

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Deborah O'Neill featured

Inspirational Woman: Deborah O’Neill | Partner and Head of Digital, UK & Ireland, Oliver Wyman

 

deborah-oneil-featuredIn her time at global management consultancy Oliver Wyman, Deborah has supported some of the world’s biggest financial institutions and developed a passion around user centricity for business reporting. She is an alumnus of Imperial College, London, and recently co-authored an article for the Harvard Business Review entitled “Using Data to Strengthen Your Connections to Customers.” Deborah is actively engaged in mentoring the next generation of tech experts and is using her role as a senior team member in Oliver Wyman Digital to help support the female talent pipeline. You can follow her on Twitter: @DeborahLabsOW

You’re very open that you specialised in technology relatively recently. What advice do you give to other people and women in particular – considering a career change into digital and technology sectors?

The first thing is to just believe in yourself and that you can do it. Seriously. It’s that simple. It’s a common anecdote that from a list of ten criteria on a job description, men consider meeting five of them as a reason to apply, whereas similarly skilled women view “just” five out of ten as not being enough to support their application.

In my case, I’d found myself working more and more on data, systems, and tech issues, which I really enjoyed. I decided that would be where I would focus my career, incorporating my other strengths of managing projects and clients and being a fast learner and a team player. The business – Oliver Wyman – recognized my potential and supported my move to our technology arm – Oliver Wyman Digital – because of those skills. So, my advice is to go for the jobs you want and, when you get them (which you will), consider moving away from lists of requirements in the job descriptions you write.

My second recommendation is to ask for help and feedback and proactively seek out a mentor. Many people are great at giving constructive advice on how you can develop but wouldn't think to share their experience unless invited to. If your company doesn’t run a mentoring program, you can encourage them to join the 30% Club who provide mentoring for women in business.

Don’t forget that mentors come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t have to be in the same industry as you, or be female, or even be more senior than you. Sometimes the best advice I received was from peers or junior members of my team who have a different perspective on how I could be more effective in my role. Giving colleagues permission to share their constructive feedback and suggestions builds trust within a team and benefits the business overall.

According to Madeleine Albright, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” What should senior women be doing more of?

Possibly the best advice I was ever given was “lead from the centre, not the top.” Senior women shouldn’t be afraid of acknowledging the gaps in their experience or skill sets and using this insight to surround themselves with people who fill these gaps and elevate the whole team. This approach is far more effective than leading from the top as a means of control. I’ve seen both styles in practice – and I know which one I’m constantly striving for.

Where possible, I think senior women should offer themselves as mentors for other women and advocate for them. It’s also worth remembering that just because they made it to a leadership position, it may not be as easy for others – for a wide range of circumstances – and senior women could be using their privilege of seniority to champion a fairer playing field.

In recruitment situations, I would ask all interviewers to understand the motivations of each candidate. For example, are they looking for a particular development opportunity, and do you believe the role will provide the appropriate challenge? People who are appropriately challenged and motivated will flourish, which is what you need if you want to create a high-performing team.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

I’m incredibly lucky with the company I work for and the way they supported me moving from financial services consulting into Oliver Wyman Digital. They’ve taken a conscious decision to enable and encourage employees to work in ways that work best for them. Whether this is reducing hours to start a family or a business, they’ve recognized that the best talent may not want to work a five-day week with standard office hours and they’ve adapted accordingly. This has given me a lot of reassurance about my future and that I don’t have to trade off career success against other personal ambitions.

This means that in ten years’ time, I can see myself doing anything I want to do – whatever that may be.

If you had to tweet your top three career tips, what would they be?

In your #career, don’t hesitate to ask for feedback, & for help if needed. It's a strength not a weakness.

Remember: other people DO want you to succeed. #mentoring #career

Go for it! Bring your uniqueness to the challenges you face. #diversity


Muslim woman on computer

Why women shouldn’t give up on a job in IT

Muslim woman on computer

The numbers don’t add up.

This year’s A Level results reported that 50.3 per cent of students studying science were female so why do women only make up 16 per cent of UK’s Tech workforce? The efforts to encourage girls to engage with STEM subjects at school seem to be working but female interest drops off by the time they get to university, with only 35 per cent of STEM students in higher education in the UK being women.

Salaries are on the increase in the IT industry.  According to Global Knowledge’s IT Skills & Survey Report 2019, IT professionals earned, on average, £4,000 more this year compared to 2018.  The average global salary for an IT professional is £71,895 – the highest it’s been in the 12 years that Global Knowledge has prepared its report.  Technology can be a highly flexible career and draws upon creative, organisational, problem-solving skills. Women should be well placed to join the industry and well rewarded when they do.

Having a more diverse workforce is beneficial to the employer.  Much has been written about how important it is to have a better balance of genders, backgrounds and ages for a positive working environment.  However, the need to draw in female candidates has become even more urgent. The workplace has undergone significant change in the last decade, with outsourcing, the gig economy and technology-enabled flexible working shaking up the business world as organisations push forward to find better ways to innovate.  The next big breakthrough will come from expanding the workforce to increase its diversity, including people with different backgrounds and life experiences to influence innovation and, ultimately, improve productivity and the bottom line.

The history of the IT industry reveals some of the reasons that it has become so male-dominated.  During WWII thousands of women were hired to work with technology, in particular in computing.  Programming and software development were seen as behind the scenes roles, often done by women, and often without the status of hardware developers.  That changed dramatically when Silicon Valley became a technical Emerald City and software gurus Steve Jobs and Bill Gates became heroes.  Computer games were originally sold as toys and, as toyshops divide their products by gender, were on the boys’ aisles, sending a message from a young age that girls wouldn’t be interested.  There is also a view, perhaps unfair, that the type of men moving up the ranks in the IT profession were those who found it difficult to interact with women and so felt much more comfortable in hiring a man for a vacant role.

Despite the IT industry’s historic track record of keeping women at a distance, today we’re in a much more sought-after position.  Too many women still think IT is about creating code or running cables and I can’t stress enough how wrong that is.  My own career has challenged my intellect and people-skills, drawing on my passion for helping people and breaking new ground.  My advice?  Meet a real-life female IT professional or, better yet, try to get an internship or a chance to experience a day in the life on the job before making up your mind.  In addition, if you are wondering if you could survive in a workplace that is currently still male-dominated, here are my suggestions:

  1. Have confidence in yourself – be assertive enough to ask for what you want and push back when necessary. I think women believe if they work hard, they will be offered a new opportunity, whereas men position themselves to ask.  You are in demand so have confidence in your contribution to the IT team.
  2. Find a mentor or support group – there are many good Women in IT networking groups. Find one local to you and engage with other industry women.  A female mentor can help you build a satisfying career by sharing their experiences and helping you overcome any hurdles.
  3. Keep learning – one of the most inspiring aspects of a role in IT is the life-long learning that you will be undertaking to keep up to speed with technology advances. Ensure your skills are up to speed and find time to learn, formally and informally.
  4. Play to your strengths – there are so many skills and specialisms required within the IT industry. Don’t limit yourself by thinking that IT is only programming, or that you’ll need to successfully make your way around a motherboard to get a good job in technology. The skills most in demand at the moment, according to our survey, are cybersecurity, IT architecture and project management skills – and not a screwdriver in sight.

Rosemary Gurney picAbout the author

Rosemary Gurney is ITSM Training Consultant at Global Knowledge, a former Chair of the Board of Directors of itSMF UK, and a contributing author and examiner with Axelos.


Inspirational Woman: Louisa Spicer | Software Engineer, Echo

 

Louisa Spicer is a Software Engineer at Echo.

Echo was founded just over three years ago and already has 100,000 patient downloads so far and a Net Promotor Score of 83. Echo is on the NHS Digital app store, one of the approved digital tools available to patients, and is an NHS GP Systems of Choice, which ensures GPs and practice staff have access to the best technology to support patient care. Echo were also recently awarded the Best British Mobile Startup 2018 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and won the 1st Mayor of London MedTech Business Awards last month.

Echo is a prescription management app which empowers patients in the UK to take control of their health and has the potential to significantly ease the strain on health services. In the UK, 40 per cent of patients do not take medication as directed, costing the NHS billions each year and leading to approximately 20 million unnecessary GP appointments. Echo is on a mission to transform the future of healthcare, and is the first app to improve lines of communication between GP, pharmacist and patient.

On the app, patients are able to order repeat prescriptions when stocks are running low- and will also receive reminders for when to take medication and when to order more. Echo also seeks to improve communication lines between GPs and their patients, making sure that information is clear and informative without being either patronising or too clinical and therefore hard to understand.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve grown up loving anything and everything to do with the Creative Arts. Finding it difficult to choose what career path to take, I just went with what I was most intrigued about at the time - the theory behind the cinematic arts. I graduated with a degree in Film Studies and went on to become a Digital Producer at a media agency. This involved helping to oversee Film and TV asset deliveries to various digital platforms like iTunes and Netflix.

I soon started to miss being able to express myself through some form of creativity though, so I started looking for other career paths that would satisfy this. That’s when I discovered the world of coding and haven’t looked back! Just over a year and a half ago I wrote my first line of code and attended an intensive 3-month coding bootcamp, Makers Academy, where I learned the very basics of Software Craftsmanship required to land a job as a Junior Developer.

I am now a Junior Software Developer at Echo; part of a team building many exciting developments of an internal software application. There’s always something new to learn and that’s what I love the most!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I found it hard to pin down exactly what I wanted to do, but the various careers I thought of always revolved around creativity. Unfortunately I didn’t realise a career in Software Development was even a possibility for me until a couple of years ago.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

A major challenge of mine was having the wrong mindset. It’s a typical story but it was/is hard to get over that “imposter syndrome” feeling and thinking that I’m not the right kind of person to be “good” at coding, due to many factors including not having the typical Mathematical or Technical background that a Computer Scientist graduate would have. This cloud was at its peak when applying for my first job as a Developer, carrying over well into that job too.

What really helped me to overcome these thoughts was being told about the Growth Mindset. In the most basic terms, this is just about realising there’s no limit to what you can achieve if you’re persistent and open to putting the effort in.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

To always be treated with fairness and equality. What more can you ask for?

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

Show young girls (and boys) how creative and fun a career in STEM can really be. As much as I appreciate that I was free to choose whatever subjects I wanted to do at secondary school, I’m sure I would have been willing to learn more about STEM fields at an earlier age if I had more guidance from teachers on the exciting range of things you can do and build.

There’s an amazing amount of free or cheap online courses to learn and play with code - this means that it’s now easier to develop skills in your free time, at whatever age.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Believing in myself enough to commit to learning to code and not stopping when it gets tough.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

To gain more confidence and keep growing my coding skills to the next level so that I can pass on some knowledge in the future. It would be amazing to build up enough confidence to get out there and be more active in the movement to help inspire and guide more girls and women into STEM.


Olga Adamkiewicz

Inspirational Woman: Olga Adamkiewicz | CEO, Synthrone

 

As a female CEO within the technology industry, with extensive experience in various marketing and product roles at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Olga believes that the last few months have been revolutionary, with women’s voices finally being heard like never before.

Olga believes that the future is bright for women in the technology industry, which will ultimately dramatically change the context, empowerment and social perspective in the industry.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am the CEO of Synthrone, an ecommerce content management platform that offers a fully integrated, end-to-end solution for brands wanting to streamline their ecommerce offering. At the beginning of my career I spent almost nine years at Procter & Gamble, successfully working in all marketing departments, from brand management, product development and design to new business and media and communication.

I have been based mainly in Central Europe throughout my career, but I have managed projects on a regional and global scale.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I wouldn’t say I necessarily sat down and planned my career. I have a passion for brands and marketing which formed from my experience whilst working for global businesses in several different areas.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

There are many challenges, big and small, that I have faced during my career, and as a CEO you face challenges every single day. I always deal with them by thinking of the positives, but I am very lucky to be surrounded by such a fantastic team that help me along the way.

How would you encourage women and girls into a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths)?

It is very important for women and girls to firstly, know that they too can have a career in either science, technology, engineering and maths. These industries are not just for men. Secondly, I would encourage all girls and women to follow your heart, follow your dreams and to never be put off by thinking it is a man’s world, when it is far from it.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

In the technology sector I can already see a change in the level of female empowerment. Women are no longer following men; they are increasingly creating their own paths in the workplace and aren’t afraid to voice their own opinion.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I am extremely proud to be a female CEO and one of my biggest achievements to date has to be the amazing team I have built around me who help me run Synthrone. I am very proud that the team and myself have made a dream come true with the creation of Brand New Galaxy, which is home to Synthrone alongside other sister brands.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am currently spearheading Synthrone, building it into the primary content developer for ecommerce, delivering an unrivalled end-to-end process for its users.

We have identified a gap in the market for a fully-integrated management solution, which compares favourably when benchmarking against competitors, that can only offer one aspect of the ecommerce management process.