Three weeks on, and in the build up to celebrating International Women’s Day, we caught up with some of the FDM consultant participants and continued the discussion around the myth of having to study IT to work within the industry.
What did you study and where are you working now?
“I graduated with a degree in Mathematics and am now placed with Worldpay as a Test Analyst after going through the Software Testing stream at FDM.”
“I studied Business Studies at university, but am now a SQL Developer at Deutsche Bank.”
“I have a degree in Business Economics and am now working as a Test Analyst at Worldpay.”
“My degree was in Applied Biomedical Science, but now I am a DevOps Engineer at Standard Chartered Bank.”
Having not come from a technology background, what made you consider a career in tech?
Danai: “I learnt about programming whilst completing my Mathematics degree, where I was introduced to algorithms that would help solve real life problems. After that, I knew I wanted to get involved in a career in technology; to be working in an environment that is constantly evolving and changing, I wanted to be a part of that change.”
Sarah: “I always felt like I was a ‘jack-of-all-trades, master of none’, apart from when it came to doing an IT module at university. This, combined with wanting to get into data visualisation after a project I worked on, pushed me to get into IT and start working with data.”
Joey: “I wanted a new and exciting challenge. Technology is intertwined into our everyday lives and I love the fact it is constantly evolving with opportunities to grow in all different areas. I wanted to be involved in that and contribute to future creations.”
Tamika: “My mother was a Software Tester and I have several friends in the industry. However, my personal interest in technology stemmed from my desire to learn more about automation and medical science in the context of eHealth/mHealth.”
What challenges did you face coming into the tech industry?
Danai: “It is challenging, but nothing is impossible if you are passionate and willing to work hard to get where you want to be. The most challenging thing for me was the fact that I didn’t have any theory knowledge regarding IT and computer science, but I was so eager to learn that I didn’t let this hold me back. I was amazed by how much the FDM’s training programme had offered me - it was intense, but worth it. I am also fortunate enough to have met amazing co-workers that are always guiding me whenever I need help.”
Sarah: “I do face challenges daily, not having that logical programming mind-set that many people from STEM and computer science backgrounds have. It takes me longer to grasp some concepts, however I still feel pretty good that I get there in the end.”
Joey: “I left my comfort zone joining FDM as I pursued a career with no prior experience, and I do face challenges having not coming from an IT background. However, I have enjoyed every moment of learning new skills and acquiring technical knowledge.”
Tamika: “Every day is challenging not coming from an IT background, however I knew I could overcome this by going the extra mile with online training courses. It has been a steep learning curve, but IT is an industry that is constantly evolving - the learning never ends.”
What does it mean to you to be a woman working in the tech industry?
Danai: “As a woman in IT, I would love someday to inspire women to put their fears behind them and get involved in the tech world, so that we can eliminate the gap between males and females in the industry. It is not about proving that females are better than males, but to encourage more women to join this experience of working in tech.”
Sarah: “Being a woman in tech can be tough at times, especially when you look around a room or an important meeting and realise there are no other women there. This can be a difficult environment to be in, but the only way to change this is to integrate with it. I'm excited about the future and welcoming more women into tech.”
Joey: “I feel energised and proud to be working in IT and am positively encouraged that more women will be inspired to work in tech now that times are changing, and more companies are championing the gender balance within this sector.”
Tamika: “I think being a woman in tech is a beautiful act of defiance, as it differs from traditional gender roles. I find working in technology very exciting, especially as technology divulges deeper into our everyday lives. Currently, I am the only woman in my team and admittedly, I feel pressure to set a good example as I take great pride in paving the way for others.”
What were the biggest things you took away from FDM’s everywoman in tech forum event?
Danai: “During Melissa Di Donato’s speech, she used the phrase: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’. Her advice really stuck with me and I will always keep that in mind from now on. The speakers all spoke about having role models and mentors. Since then, I have followed women in technology on social media. Their lives inspire women like me who just started their career and help them to walk on the right path towards success.”
Sarah: “The forum was a fantastic event; I really have to commend the team for putting it together. It was great to be surrounded by so many bright, young women with such great potential. To hear their ideas and opinions opened my mind and some of my views changed because of their input.”
Joey: “The biggest things I took away from the event is that for every forum, conversation or wide-scale event that you are a part of, you can be inspired or inspire those sharing the journey with you. I had a great time.”
Tamika: “The event was inspirational; it was an absolute pleasure to take part. Going forward, I think having a gender-balanced audience will help take this dialogue amongst women to a conversation within the workplace, because it should be everybody’s responsibility to get more women into tech.”