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Melinda Gates on Letterman

If you have a spare hour and Netflix, I’d suggest you watch the Melinda Gates episode on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction which is David Lettermen’s show where he interviews some very high profile people.

Melinda Gates discusses the importance of gender equality and women in technology, as well as philanthropy’s role in society; and her new book The Moment of Lift which I will definitely be ordering now!

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Are Paid Advertisements Misleading or…?

I think it’s safe to say that social media has become a platform for greatness but also a place in which people do not show the truth about themselves or others, I’m guilty of this too, most of my Instagram posts are from when I’ve been out doing fun things, not just of me getting home after work and watching Netflix most evenings. There is a culture motivated by likes and this often leads to photos or posts that distort the person behind them.

But I think it’s becoming ever more apparent the power that some people have on social media. We see this from the US President, so why shouldn’t be expect this from your everyday person?

So I was watching the Netflix documentary about the Fyre Festival, it’s shocking how misled thousands of people have been and I feel so bad for the rest of the Fyre company who were pouring their passion for tech into creating what they described as the “Uber of the entertainment industry”. The way in which the manipulation could happen is through social media (mainly Instagram) influencers and super models who they paid $250,000+ for one post about the festival. The result was disappointment from the customers who not only got ripped off by the “festival”, but that’s now reflected in who advertised it. Obviously, the models like Hailey Beiber and Kendall Jenner weren’t to know the fraudulent activity going on behind the scenes, but if they weren’t intending to go to the festival and be a part of it then is it ethical they take such a huge sum of money to persuade others to go?

The US government is now looking into stricter laws on how you advertise through social media, you’ll probably notice that when a celebrity endorses a product on social media and is being paid for it you’ll see the hashtags #ad or #sponsored etc. But that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily associated with that brand and product, they’ve just accepted a large sum of money for their PR team to send a tweet or for them to make a quick Instagram video.

Social media can be used for great things, but stuff like being paid to post something is a controversial matter if the person posting it doesn’t truly believe in what they are posting, it’s just adding to the fake persona of the individual whilst also influencing and manipulating others, particularly young and vulnerable people who think if a product is what their idol uses and they can have it too, that’s the goal.

I support the celebrities and influencer platforms, but I hope that something like the Fyre festival is learnt from and that kids aren’t getting caught in the paid advertisements.

Let us know your thoughts on paid ads below or on our social media @TashaITGirl 🤓📲

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Should there be separate sporting events for men and women?

I was watching The Grand Tour episode from Friday 8th Feb, and in their usual “Conversation Street” part of the show they started to talk about a new racing league which is going to be women only and their thoughts on the matter, and probably the best thing Richard Hammond has ever said is that we should be encouraging girls from an early age to be getting into go karting and racing.

I completely agree with this, it’s the same for the STEM industries, I always get asked how do we get more women into tech and to some extent it’s too late by the time they are at university etc, to gain a real increase we need to be putting the effort into exposing girls under 10 to what they can achieve in STEM.

I can understand why in sport there are segregated leagues and teams etc, especially if it’s to do with different types of weight categories, like boxing, however when it is something like racing I don’t think it’s necessarily encouraging to girls because often it can be seen as an inferior league, like it is in football with less TV coverage, sponsorship and pay. I think separate leagues are fine with different purposes, if there is maybe then an ultimate one that brings together all to compete?

Let us know your thoughts below or on social media 🏅🤓

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The Next Big Thing in Business…

There are many, many things that could be the next big thing in business. However, I would like to make an argument that maybe there shouldn’t be another thing brought into the mix, but actually an evaluation of current processes should be a priority.

I think it is hard to understand sometimes when you work in IT, that other areas of the business are in general less innovative. But, within IT itself we can start playing with gadgets and talk about buzzword ideas before looking at our own processes.

One of my biggest pet hates are manual reports.

Why is somebody still spending 3 hours a week manually gathering data to put into a PowerPoint slide to be emailed out?

There are tools (free and priced) that you do not need to be a data analyst to use. You just put the database source name and password into the tool, you can also have several databases going into one tool, and then it will extract the data automatically when you want it to and you just have to create a dashboard once and that is it.

You can export the diagrams as PDFs or Jpegs. You can also create PowerPoint presentations within the tool. And because these tools are web applications, you can give permissions to others for them to view the dashboards whenever they please, which means no more emails which are most likely to get ignored. No issues when the person who runs the manual report is off sick or on holiday. Even better is because they are web applications, you can have them to be viewed within your team’s business practices such as, as web parts on SharePoint or Teams.

My preferred tools are Qlik Sense and Power BI.

Top Tip: review your current practices before adding the next thing in business to your workload.

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Tech Vs Paper

As technology has become more involved in our lives we transition away from paper. With applications such as OneNote diminishing the notebook, our phone calendars replacing annual calendars and Outlook replacing letters; it is hard to understand where stationary fits into the modern world.

In some work paper is used more than technology, maybe we don’t want to get to a place where we rely completely on something that we don’t truly understand how it works. At least with paper, you have more control over it. But then what happens if you loose what you’ve written or there is a fire or confidential information that you’ve written down on paper is stolen? Paper information can’t be copied easily unless somebody writes it down multiple times, collaboration is limited.

Technology has the capability to auto-save anything you write down and save versions in the cloud so that nothing can ever be lost. You can invite others to view/edit/collaborate on anything you write or create.

I like having a notebook to physically write in, sometimes it helps me to think when I draw out diagrams on paper instead of staring at a blank screen not knowing where to start.

I want to know what you think is your preference: Tech or Paper?

Comment Below 🙂

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Communication: Better or Worse Now?

I quite often hear how communication is worse now as everybody is on their phones, not talking in person. I can take this as a point, but I don’t think it is necessarily worse, just different. Personally, I can talk to so many people who it would be hard to keep in contact with, yet it feels like I’m not missing anything because of instant messaging, social media and FaceTime.

I can agree that there are times where we should put devices down and speak face to face, yet there are also times where it is so useful to be able to be speaking to multiple people at once, it allows for collaboration and relationships that would be hard to be formed and maintained otherwise.

I think it is also key to remember that we haven’t always spoken the same language, our communication skills have developed, adding a device into the mix only highlights our ability to adapt and evolve. Being able to have a conversation in emojis mirrors the cave man drawing stories of animals.

I think communication is no worse, but better off given the tools that we now created!

What do you think? Comment below!

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Technology Trends To Watch For In 2019…

I think it is safe to say that the past couple of years have outputted amazing technologies, with the internet of things (IoT) becoming more of a must than siloed devices, I think it is safe to predict that 2019 will be the year of autonomy.

Companies with conversational interface devices such as, Amazon, Google and Apple are at the forefront. I have the Amazon Echo Spot and it is amazing and I’m not even using it to its full potential. The fact that you have the ability to control your whole house with your voice is simply incredible, not only for an average user but it has the potential to change disabled people’s lives by giving them greater independence by being able to control their homes simply by speaking commands. I can turn on my TV and navigate my Amazon Fire Stick through my Echo Spot, get a morning news briefing and play music really well through it, via the Spotify app. When I am able to get a house, I will be purchasing the Ring, which is a doorbell with a camera, connected to the Echo.

I think this is why it can be said that Apple is struggling to compete with Amazon, Google and other companies who are more collaborative. Apple’s business strategy with the iPhone was brilliant when it first came out, shutting down the competition by making everything exclusive. However, this is now back firing on them and frustrating customers. Personally, I think the iPhones are great but overpriced for what they are, I want the new Google Pixel 3, but I have an Apple Watch which will only connect to Apple devices… so I’m stuck in the Apple void. Amazon with the echo device line, has provided so many devices that are compatible with any IoT product e.g. WiFi controlled light bulbs, heating companies who have wireless heating controls like Nest etc. This has meant that it profits but also doesn’t mean that you have to buy only Amazon recommended products to be able to use it.

Autonomy isn’t only in the home, cars are now becoming more autonomous, Tesla is far advanced in this area with Google close behind. The research going into this is incredible, but it still isn’t commercially viable for a fully automated car. Likelihood is this won’t be coming out in 2019, but developments I believe will leap this year in this area.

Autonomy is also closely paired with AI, Big Data and Machine Learning, our goal in business is not only to automate simple tasks to increase profits, but is now to learn from what is automated, what data can we collect to then put in processes to make us more efficient.

Do you agree that 2019 will be the year of autonomy? Comment below!

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A Toast To The Old & New Year

2018 personally and professionally was a great year.

I completed my dissertation and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Business Computing from Brunel University; I started my job at Whitbread and are now 4 months into it! I won the WCIT 2018 Outstanding Student Award and was asked to become a Journeyman of the livery. IT Girl blog increased views immensely which was amazing to witness and documented my year, see the success of it here @ 2018 Reflection.

I travelled to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Cornwall, Corfu, Rome, Dorset and Edinburgh.

I hung out with friends and family a lot, doing loads of new things and carrying on traditions of others.

I’ve witnessed the struggles of my boyfriend getting into flying school (due to medical), then I’ve witnessed him flourish there and excel at his exams.

I brought in the new year with the same group of friends that I have since I was 14.

It has been a really great year, so I’ve been apprehensive that 2019 will continue the trend. My boyfriend made a good point to me, even though there aren’t the milestones that 2018 had within it, I can still create my own goals to meet; so here they are:

  • I want to expand IT Girl so that it reaches more people and extends what is posted.
  • I want to complete each rotation within my graduate scheme with at least 3 deliverables in each.
    • Architecture
    • Service Delivery
    • Project Management
    • And others to be decided…
  • I want to be able to improve on my public speaking
  • I want to be confident in my work
  • I want to deliver my services further within the WCIT
    • WCIT Charity Social Media
  • I want to help CityMaaS develop and deliver strong, in whatever capacity I can.

What are you milestones/goals this year?

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Things To Consider When Applying To A Graduate Scheme

Did you graduate this year or will be graduating next year?

If so, STEM graduate schemes will start to open from now… and you definitely need to apply NOW before you get too bogged down in your final year of university.

I know you are busy, trust me I was too and it is a long process, but I applied to over 20 graduate schemes in early September/October and by mid-December I had my graduate scheme confirmed at Whitbread, which took a lot of pressure off and I could completely concentrate on my final year and smashing my dissertation!

Before you start applying, it is best to understand where you can see yourself working, especially if you have not worked in the industry you are applying for or do not know what to apply for. There are plenty of aptitude tests you can also do, to figure out where you may fit into an organisation.

The 3 key things to focus on when deciding where you fit into an organisation is: 1) What industries do I care about? 2) What roles do I see myself preferring? 3) What size of business do I want to work for?

You also need to consider whether you want to do set rotations or flexible rotations, larger companies often take a larger intake of graduates with set rotations which you may not have as much of a say of where you’re going and what you’re doing, but this may not be what you want and that’s OK. I knew I didn’t want that, that’s why Whitbread is great for me, I am based in one office, I do rotations which are planned between myself, my line manager and HR and I can move around at different paces to gain more experience. Some of my friends from uni are doing consultancy grad schemes, which is where you get trained by one company and then sent to other companies for a fixed amount of time (3 months, 6 months etc) which is fun and you get to experience many companies, but it may inconvenience your travelling etc.

Another thing to consider with graduate schemes is whether they are offering a permanent role or whether you will be contracted for the duration of your graduate scheme. If this is not advertised then I would definitely ask about this, because if you are contracted you may not have a guaranteed job at the end of the graduate scheme.

Before applying to everything, also think about the salary and how you will get to the job and how that will affect your salary, it isn’t very British to talk about money but it is definitely important when budgeting and thinking about your living and work/life balance.

These are the websites that I used which are what companies use to publicise their graduate programmes:

Graduate-jobs.com

Milkround.com

 

Good luck and if you have any questions – feel free to ask 😊

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Top Tip if you’re in a male dominated team

When working in a male dominated industry (STEM) there can be some awkwardness and people deal with this differently. There is nothing to shy away from, but you must stand up for yourself at the same time, as people may judge a book by its cover… which is to be expected, because I think we all do that, even if we don’t want to or say we don’t.

I am a big believer in not changing yourself to suit your environment, obviously at work you are going to be more professional than at home with your family and friends, but you shouldn’t change your core values and personality. I think sometimes there is a tendency for women to become “laddy” to fit in with a male team, but I think that is a personal choice.

What is key to working well in a male dominated team is to want equalism.

Don’t be surprised if your male colleagues tiptoe around you at first until you’ve fitted into the team and shown that you just want to be treated like any other member of the team, regardless of gender. I personally don’t mind being in a team with all men, because it can be a nicer work environment… less bitchy etc (Women don’t really help themselves there!)

My top tip when trying to fit in with an all-male team is to just chat with them, show that you’re interested in what they’ve got to say, funnily enough try to treat them as you would your female colleagues and as you’d want to be treated.

Creating an equal playing field is down to everybody.