Today, we’re continuing to press for progress in tech by trying to increase the numbers of women entering technology careers. It’s a profession that is open to all ages and with many different routes to success, including apprenticeships, degrees, careers programmes, and opportunities for those who want to return to the workplace after a career break.
One thing that I am keen to highlight is that you don’t necessarily need a background or degree in science, engineering, maths or computer science to break into technology. If you talk to many of the successful women who are role models today, you will find that many “fell” into a career in IT. So, don’t think that because you don’t have a degree in computer science that you can’t succeed – you can, and here is some advice to help you get started.
Firstly, follow your interests and do some research to find a network to support you as you develop a deeper understanding of what might be possible. It’s also worth attending networking events where you can meet inspiring people and find a role model who inspires you and from whom you can learn. Look for someone who is in the field you’re interested in, is positive, calm, confident in themselves, hardworking, who demonstrates leadership and strives for bigger and better things. You can learn a lot from them.
Learning is something that you should do throughout your career – never cease to be curious. IT is great for this because it is constantly changing and evolving. You will never stop learning and this in turn will give you confidence. The more knowledgeable you are, the more confident you become.
Find mentors who can guide you. They may be people in your network or fellow employees at work. Identify what you want to achieve and remember that you can have more than one mentor depending what you want to learn from each of them. Alongside mentors, find someone in the company who will sponsor you; this will help you build your profile as you progress and take on new challenges.
Taking on new challenges is an opportunity to learn and develop, so stretch yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone. Be bold and ban the word ‘impossible’ from your vocabulary – when an opportunity presents itself, be the first to put your hand up and volunteer. You will gain a great deal of new experience by doing this, all of which will be invaluable to your development and career. Don’t worry about mistakes, we all make them. There are several important things to do when you make a mistake. Own up to it and concentrate on finding a solution. After you’ve solved the problem, you should take time to reflect and learn from the mistake and then move on. Without mistakes, you can’t have success. Finally, embrace everything you do and do it with exuberance and willingness.
So, on International Women’s Day, join us and press for change and help make technology more diverse. Together, let’s aim for the sky.
FDM is a proud sponsor of techUK’s Annual Dinner 2018.
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