From the moment you finish your final exam until the moment you receive your results is a nerve wracking time, however much calculating of grades you’ve done and pep talks you and others have given to yourself, it is always on your mind.
A week ago I woke up very early morning to the news that I had achieved First Class Honours in Business Computing with Professional Practice BSc and an A* in my dissertation… it still feels very surreal! I’ve loved school and it feels weird that for now education has come to an end.
When I found out my result I was in Cornwall on a family holiday, staying with my grandparents whilst my parents were in their caravan at another site. So I went straight into my grandparents and told them, they hopped straight out of bed and then we spontaneously got ready and drove over to my Mum and Dad’s caravan to tell them… about 6am! The reactions of my family definitely were the best bit about achieving the result.
The messaging between all my friends from my course and finding out what others had achieved throughout that day was fun, very proud of my peers and how hard they have worked over the last 3/4 years! Especially finding out my tutor group’s dissertation grades was such a nice moment after spending many hours with them over the year. Cannot wait for graduation in a month’s time and to thank the staff of the Computer Science Department for all of their support over the last 4 years in person.
I know for sure that my experiences and my degree has set me up well for my future, and I will always be thankful for that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With all my travelling and plans this summer I know I’m definitely making the most of these few months before I start my graduate scheme in September. Making a kind of summer “bucket list” to make sure I do things that I truly want to do, in this free time that I will never have in the same way again. Feeling very grateful for the opportunity of this break and friends and family to share it with 🙏
One goal is to increase the audience and reach of IT Girl – any suggestions would be appreciated! ☺️
Love this “How To” guide from Beata Green, a lovely lady I met a couple of weeks ago, on how to be a successful business woman!
Take a look 🙂
Great things may come from anyone, regardless of gender.
Really appreciating Marie Claire UK for incorporating “power play” and how to be paid what you’re worth into a hit magazine that many women read. These are the kind of articles that do need to become a resident feature in mainstream magazines, to help build up strong women who know when (and how) to stand up to the gender pay gap and earn the money they deserve 💪
It’s been a week since I finished my last university exam and drove off to fly to Amsterdam where I had one of the best weekends ever, with some amazing friends.
When I returned to England, I came back to my parent’s house and went out for a meal to celebrate finishing university with my parents, sister, boyfriend and both sets of grandparents. I’m very lucky to have such a huge support system.
I then returned to Uxbridge on Wednesday to have lunch with my colleagues from GSK, nearly a year after I left and it’s great to be catching up with them, weird to not know whether I’ll see them again or not. That evening I went out for another meal with my dissertation group and tutor (Team Rob ftw!) which was great and we had such a laugh, really great way to end the year after all our worries and stress regarding our dissertation and the encouragement we got from our tutor.
Thursday was a great day too, I met up with a friend and we took her gorgeous little girl to a soft play area and out shopping! Later on I had a WCIT dinner at the Waterman’s Hall, which was magnificent to celebrate diversity and inclusion, much to my surprise I was sat at the top table and was mentioned in the Master’s speech, I very much appreciated his and everyone’s kind words. It’s really nice to be a part of that community!
Friday again was busy, met my friend for breakfast and then we helped with the Level 2 transition day for our department, anybody who knows me knows I love to talk, and I really do love chatting about how I found my placement year and this past year of university, giving them advice which I hope will be of value. I was also able to see one of my mentors, David Barker, on campus promoting the Placer app at the Brunel Careers Fair. After I rushed off to pack up my room into my car (not sure how it all managed to fit in my little Seat Ibiza), handed in my keys, and drove off into the distance. I am officially moved back to Hertfordshire now!
It’s been a hectic week but I love to be busy, better than having nothing to do!
(Now off to Corfu for a few days to actually relax… with nothing to do but read a good book whilst tanning)
Last exam was this morning… university is finished! So surreal