On Wednesday 21st February 2018, I was incredibly fortunate to win the Outstanding Information Technology Student Award at the 99th Business Luncheon at the Armourer’s Hall. For those unfamiliar to the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), it is the 100th Livery Company of London, focusing on honouring tradition but also modern innovation and charitable contribution.
The luncheon was fantastic, I was able to network and meet professionals from a variety of IT backgrounds who are at the top of their fields and are either Freeman or Liveryman of the WCIT.
I received the award after being nominated by my tutor at Brunel, even being nominated was an amazing achievement for me, but to win it was astounding. I was nominated on the basis of 4 criteria: 1) Academic Excellence, 2) Overcoming Adversity, 3) Entrepreneurial Skills, 4) Contribution to Charity or Community.
I was asked to give a speech, which I would like to share to you below:
I feel very proud that everything I have done has led me to this point.
At the age of 17, I had several options available to choose from for further education, including English Literature and Art. I owe a lot to two key people, among others, who as IT professionals and educators intrigued my interest in pursuing IT at university and as a career. My IT teacher at high school pushed me from GCSEs to do ICT and as a result, I thought I would at least attend a computing taster day at Brunel University, before I made my choice. This is where I met Robert Macredie, who took the time to speak to me that day… and continually supports me to this day. That taster session made my decision for me, I wanted to explore IT. It is now my hope… as I go forward in my life, that I can be that person who supports and encourages future generations.
There are so many developments happening in all corners of our industry, such as autonomous vehicles and blockchain technologies that are on the cusp of being everyday norm, and something that could be very beneficial to our society.
Likewise, I think it is likely there will be further developments in how IT is viewed as we all become more dependent on it. My experiences on my placement year at GSK, helped to teach me how important it is to have a good relationship with the rest of a business, therefore by creating that transparency and having that communication is something I aim to do in my career. I hope there will also be progress in widening gender diversity within the IT industry. I knew going into my degree and placement year that I would be in a gender minority, spending the majority of group projects and meetings with men. I was never made to feel vulnerable or inferior, but I was still very aware of it. This isn’t the fault of the university or company, there just simply isn’t enough girls wanting to go into the technology sector and that stems from little engagement from an early age. IT isn’t a typical job that at an early age you are taught to aspire to, yet it is so important to everybody’s future, that it should be.
This is why, I particularly hope to ensure younger generations of women know they can bring a brilliant skillset, new ideas and opinions, and to be equal in all things IT. I’m excited for the future in this industry and I will do my very best to justify my receiving of this award.
I am very grateful for that opportunity and for the doors it has opened to me, such as being asked to speak at an event for International Women’s Day at the WCIT Livery Hall on 5th March.
It has encouraged me to speak further about topics I am passionate about and I hope it inspires others to trust that hard work is rewarded.