Status

Roman Technology

I’m in Rome at the moment with my family and it’s amazing to think that over 2000 years ago the Romans had the knowledge and technology to create aqueducts and antiquities that weren’t possible elsewhere.

The Pantheon is an amazing structure with a self-supporting roof, the Romans knew to put the heaviest materials at the bottom and lightest at the top. We can all use this analogy when it comes to taking on a modern tech project… solid foundations of heavy code and a database as a base for softer web code to make it look good!

Aside

Life + Code

Take a look at Bekah Hawrot Weigal’s blog Life + Code… or follow her on Twitter @BekahHW

Learn about her personal reason of why she codes: https://bekahhw.github.io/blog/2018/04/23/How-coding-has-been-therapeutic-for-my-PTSD

And see here for a beginner explanation of html, CSS and JavaScript: https://bekahhw.github.io/blog/2018/04/13/The-House-that-Code-Built

I’ve found Bekah’s blog and articles included in this post, to be both inspiring and empowering!

Keep doing what you’re doing Bekah 💪🏻👩‍💻

Aside

Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least £5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. 🤓

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

Status

Share Your Story

Are you a woman in STEM?

If so… do you have anything that you’d like to share on the IT Girl platform?

I would love to create a collaborative platform where it isn’t just my opinions about the industry, but a wide range of experiences with the aim of inspiring younger generations of women to pursue STEM.

If you’d like to be involved, then get in touch!

Ways To Find Talented Female Coders

Ways To Find Talented Female Coders

Take a look at this article written by Beata Green, on ways of finding talented female coders even with a shortage of women coming out of computer science degrees.

https://scrappywomen.biz/tag/beata-green/

There is a marked gap between the number of male and female students enrolled in computer science in schools. That means very few women are entering into a computing career. Moreover, this is a concern, because the lack of women in information systems careers can actually slow down the economy. Not only that, but the risk trickles down to companies who are missing out on the more diverse teams that studies say will make their businesses more successful.

Status

Find Someone Who Understands

There’s a lot in the media about the film Oceans 8 at the moment (which I personally can’t wait to see!) but one of the worst things is about having a majority female cast is the rumours that the women all hate each other etc (🙄), which in pop culture happens a lot from Sex and the City to more recent TV and films. Whilst promoting the film Oceans 8, the actresses as part of their publicity are trying to shut down these rumours because they are apparently not true, and even if they were I don’t see how that makes a difference to whether they’ve produced a good film or not?

This is similar in business too, women are seen as “catty” and “bitchy”, and if they get passionate they are told they are too emotional. At the end of the day if you’re delivering your work and achieving what you want to personally achieve, you shouldn’t have to defend your actions because of your gender.

This is where having some one from a mentor to a colleague, who can relate to similar reactions from others or how you feel is important. Not just as a woman in tech or business, but in all walks of life it’s good to have somebody who understands you.

Sadly, there are many reports of suicide in the news at the moment of famous people who for unknown reasons feel that is their only way. There’s many more people every day who take their lives who aren’t reported about.

I personally want to aim to be approachable and personable for others around me, personally or professionally, so if anyone needs someone to understand them, I can try to be that person.

I encourage you all to do the same, because everyone needs that one person who understands.

Aside

Imposter Syndrome

by Sarah Lewis

I was at a couple of tradeshows earlier this week and attended Women in Technology events and almost all the conversations I had were around imposter syndrome.  It really does affect more people than we realise, me included.

The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologist Pauline R Clance and Suzanne A Imes and is a concept which describes people who have an persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.  People who exhibit the syndrome dismiss proof of success by claiming it was luck, timing or even making people think they are more intelligent or competent than they are.

I was introduced to this concept of the syndrome was about 7 years ago while having a session with a career coach.  I was trying to explain my lack of desire to progress my career further.  After chatting, we realised that this apparent lack of ambition was due to my fear of being discovered as a fraud.  The career coach promptly told me that almost every executive he had worked with felt like that from time to time, especially very successful women.

Just that one explanation had a massive effect on me, I wasn’t alone! So I started to look at myself, my career and my personal life and decided to make a change starting with “It’s time to fake it til I make it”.

I still class myself as being on the road to recovery but I wanted to share some of the tips that I wish someone had shared with me way back when.

1. Take time to learn and grow

It is not easy to take time out when we have such busy work and home lives but I found that taking the time to learn something new, work on a skill, understand the business better gave me more confidence and helped me to accept some of my weaker areas.  Strengths Finder is a great book to help this process.

2. Do not compare yourself to others.

I am fortunate to work with some amazingly strong, confident women and would always compare myself to those ladies.  I wasn’t as eloquent, I wasn’t as technical, I wasn’t as good at presenting etc etc.  So, instead of comparing yourself to others, look at your own strengths and focus on those.  You are good at what you do because you are you, and you don’t have to be anyone else.

3. Find a mentor

If you are lucky enough to find a mentor who you respect and admire and who believes in you, you are on to a winner.  You just have to remember, not to try and “be” them and to accept those compliments you are bound to receive.  Please don’t fall into the trap of excusing successes as “lucky breaks” or “team work” – another classic Imposter Syndrome symptom.

4. Learn as you go

There is nothing wrong with taking on a project and feeling out of your depth.  You are smart, you are talented – there is no reason why you cannot research, learn and practice as you go. You’d be amazed how many women just “fell into” tech roles and do not have a tech based education – please don’t let the lack of a technical degree damage your confidence.

5. Speak Out

It’s ok to talk to people about how you are feeling.  Try talking about your imposter feelings, it can help.  I discovered so many women in my circle feel the same way as I do and it really helped me feel less alone.  Try it out!

I’m not psychologist nor an expert on this subject but I hope that some of my tried and tested techniques give you some food for thought.

You can find more of my ramblings as well as curated news from around the web and details on our events at https://twitter.com/TheTechieGirls

Sarah Lewis is Director Field Marketing at Ivanti and the spearhead for Ivanti’s Women in Technology movement.  Sarah started off her tech career in an internal IT support role, moving on into IT Asset Management and was finally lured away into a marketing role where she happily combines technical knowledge with a sprinkle of creativity and indulges in her passion for supporting the women in technology community.

Status

Ignorance On Twitter

Social media is a double edged sword and I don’t often partake in “Twitter Wars”… simply because I don’t have the time nor desire to. But, I was on the train back from Nottingham on Saturday when I came across a tweet from @WomeninTechChat regarding blocking a person for whining about the use of the hashtag #womenintech. Out of curiosity I found the tweets involved and found that there were more conversations around the subject that this person was trying to stir and it was upsetting a lot of people, simply because what he was replying was kind of contradicting what he said he believed, and he was calling women who use the hashtag attention seekers.

So I felt compelled to say my piece because this person (who has this separate Twitter account to his personal one, specifically to “troll”) was saying that women only use the #womenintech because they are attention seeking and want extra privileges… I felt I had to reply because I wanted to point out that him saying that is part of the problem, we as women (not only in tech) do want equality, not to be seen as better than men or to have unfair advantages. Personally I describe myself as an equalist, not feminist, yet there are people like himself who think that I cannot express my thoughts as he feels confident enough to do… against a use of a hashtag.

After many replies going back and forth I suggested to him that when he went to work (he works in tech) on Monday morning that he should speak personally to each woman in the office and ask them to speak truthfully about their experiences in tech to #geteducated. The best reply ever came when he said that “sadly” he works with no women, it is an all male team. Which is exactly the point that started this whole discussion on Twitter off, that there should be equality, diversity and inclusion, and how could he say that women were just using the hashtag for attention seeking when his work doesn’t even have any women, it baffles me. He then went on to tell me that diversity isn’t a good thing and sent me this article.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and although I personally view his opinions as ignorant there are many who share those views or think stronger and that is what many women have to deal with on a day to day basis, whilst trying to smash the glass ceiling and just doing their job.

As I pointed out to this person, for me the use of the #womenintech is because I am proud that I was encouraged and choose to go into this industry and that I have completed a degree and work placement in IT. I use the hashtag in pride and as a way to network and reach other women in tech. And I will keep on using that hashtag, not because I am attention seeking, but because it is a fact that I am a women in tech.

You can see the Twitter conversation here and make your own judgements 🙂