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On Ada Lovelace Day – a day to celebrate the various achievements of inspirational women in STEM careers – Rosie Stano is joined by the wider Netcel team to explore the challenges and opportunities facing women in tech.
Since 2009, the second Tuesday of every October has marked Ada Lovelace Day – a day to celebrate the various achievements of inspirational women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. Named after Ada Lovelace, a pioneering English mathematician of the 19th century, the day was founded by social technologist, Suw Charman-Anderson, who felt that women in tech were often invisible. Indeed, it can still be a challenge in 2018 to encourage more women to enter tech-based careers. Rosie Stano, Digital Marketing Executive at Netcel, spoke to women in the Netcel team to question whether there are enough female role models in the industry and discuss how we can address this imbalance.
Marcela Maneos: I am a Senior Interface Developer with 18+ years of experience in building websites. My typical working day begins with a cup of coffee, dealing with emails, prioritising my tasks according to the resource plan and attending stand-up meetings. After that, I am usually coding for most of the day, which is the best and creative part of my job.
Laura Clarke: As HR Manager, I’m responsible for attracting, recruiting and retaining talented people for our business. My role is very varied as it entails all aspects of people at Netcel, but essentially the role is about optimising our talent and making Netcel an attractive and great place to work.
Sinead Finnegan: I am a Senior Business Analyst. This requires me to understand the clients goals and objectives to define the requirements that will help them achieve a measurably successful outcome for their project. No two days are the same; one day I could be researching a client’s sector, capturing how a current process currently works and mapping this out, another writing user stories for developers to deliver software against or reviewing customer insight data.
Dipika Gandhi: I am also a Senior Business Analyst. My typical day normally involves internal meetings, meetings with clients and prep for workshops.
Becky Crouch: And my role at Netcel is Chief Operating Officer (COO).
MM: Most of my family members come from a technical background. I have a civil engineering degree. I was introduced to HTML and CSS almost 20 years ago, and almost instantly I knew that's what I wanted to do - I still love it!
BC: I’d always been interested in both the arts and sciences all through school. My first degree was in art and I found it hard to find a career that I liked so I took a Masters in computer science with a view to getting into computer animation, which was indeed my first job. From there, the lure of the web in the late 90s was too great. It was relatively early days in terms of both the maturity of the tech and of the clients so an exciting place to be…and it’s been like that ever since!
DG: For my GCSE ICT project I designed and developed a database for a teacher to allow him to create, edit and delete records of students’ assessment marks. This started to highlight how technology can be used to help people in their daily tasks.
SF: Whilst I was studying, I had a job as the University Email & Web administrator. I found it really interesting and after graduating got a job with BT lobbying for changes in the law at UK & EU level to support the growth of Ecommerce...I’ve been getting closer to technology since!
DG: Being at the forefront of technology.
SF: I really like the variety of clients and finding solutions to their challenges. It's never dull or repetitive.
BC: Our clients are diverse and no day is ever the same. Amongst the evergreen challenges faced by agencies, there are new and interesting conundrums to find a path through and solve every day, both internal around running an agency and around challenges our clients may be facing and asking us to address.
MM: My work is never boring. We have many projects which means different requirements, skills and techniques. There is always something new to learn. Knowledge can be very powerful and satisfying.
LC: Working with a variety of skilled and knowledgeable people who are all passionate about digital and bringing that to life for our clients.
LC: As an HR professional I would hope so and we certainly try to encourage this, but I can see from my experience in recruiting for certain roles that there are significantly less women who go into Developer roles than men.
MM: During my career in web development, I haven't had any issues due to being a woman. I was always given the same opportunities as men.
DG: In my experience women have the same opportunities as men, I think it’s perception over reality of men having more opportunities. The tech industry has so many job types that everyone can excel in.
BC: I still think it’s harder for women to work in the tech industry than it should be. It’s still very male dominated in some of the more technical areas. However, there’s an increasing mix across the disciplines, and this is encouraging.
SF: In general yes, although the stats are still heavily skewed towards men. I think practices like adoption of the Agile Manifesto to discourage long hours are more family friendly to parents.
BC: For me, it starts from school and encouraging girls at an early age to be confident around their abilities in the STEM subjects and making sure this confidence persists. Providing flexible working arrangements for working mums (and dads!) is also extremely important and something we encourage at Netcel.
MM: Encourage them from a young age to explore technology and engineering, both at home and at school, avoiding gender stereotypes.
LC: It all starts at school. Schools are doing much more to encourage girls to continue with IT, computing and science subjects at school. Hopefully that will then continue to further education or the workplace.
DG: Show them the variety of the job roles available within the industry, it’s not just computer games and coding!
SF: I think we need to get past the perception of it being IT & tech and therefore all about coding. Obviously that is an important part of delivering solution, and it helps to have an appreciation of that, but the best solutions and technology are the result of rigorous scrutiny, bold creativity and great communication. These are all skills that aren’t tech-specific but are definitely transferable in and out of tech & IT.
LC: It’s debunking the stereotype of tech roles only being suitable for geeky men working at a computer all day. In reality, there’s a diverse range of roles available and skills required, many of which would appeal to women. We have some great examples of that here at Netcel in the form of Business Analysts, Front-End Developers and Support Analysts.
SF: To try it…you might like it! It’s a great industry that is always evolving with new things coming out all the time, so if you like new ideas and learning, it’s perfect.
MM: If it's something YOU like to do, YOU want to do, then trust your judgement and go for it! Learn, experiment and enjoy!
DG: Have a look at how technology is used around businesses, and how technology supports it.
BC: Believe in your abilities. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. And go for it – there are a wide range of opportunities in the tech industry worth exploring!