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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 💪🏻👩‍💻

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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?

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Degree Results

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.

DegreeResults

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.

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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.

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Confidence In Yourself

There are many theories to suggest that doing a superhero pose before a meeting will help you to feel confident or eating healthy and doing exercise. Whatever works for you individually is important to keep up, having confidence in yourself is empowering.

Of course, there are days where you don’t quite feel up to showing your confident side, and you need to be careful to not cross the line into cocky, make sure you are able to keep yourself grounded through your achievements.

Enjoy and celebrate your achievements, and be confident you deserve them.

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10 Tech Holiday Must Haves

  1. Make sure your phone and tablet never runs out of battery with a portable charger, I have an Anker Astro, fits in my bag easily!
  2. If you want some different holiday snaps, you can always take a mini drone in your suitcase, this quadcopter is recommended.
  3. If you are going to be around the pool or beach, you may want to invest in a waterproof case for you phone, to take it with you get some good underwater snaps!
  4. Print out your pictures whilst you are holiday with a portable printer
  5. If you are worried about somebody breaking into your suitcase, you can always use a bluetooth padlock
  6. It is always useful to get a waterproof speaker to blast out those summer hits whilst you tan by the pool
  7. Data roaming can be expensive, although many networks offer you to continue your contract abroad, but you can buy a mobile WiFi hotspot
  8. A range of eReaders are available, varying from basic to advanced tablets, I have the Amazon Fire HD and love it
  9. Wearable Tech is always fun to see how far you’ve walked round cities, recently in Amsterdam we were frequently hitting 20,000 steps! I have the Apple Watch 3
  10. If you are worried about your wallet and things getting pinched or you just frequently loose your things, you may want to buy this bluetooth tracking item finder device
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Bridging The Confidence Gap

The Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, feels passionate that it is not only about the need to encourage more girls into IT/STEM, but to help boost their confidence that their skill sets do match the skills needed for STEM. I think this is very important.

It is as much about smashing the STEM stereotype, as it is the glass ceiling.

There are many organisations like CodeFirst: Girls and Stemettes aiming to do this, but what can you?

Take a look 🙂

https://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/opinion/3031171/to-see-more-girls-in-stem-we-must-boost-their-confidence-not-interest

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An Opinion On Why There Still Isn’t Equality In STEM

It is hard to feel optimistic that equality in STEM is going to improve when reading this ladies’ thoughts on how she has seen the industry not develop in this way over the past 25 years, but did develop in becoming a “24/7 work culture” which she surmises is linked.

There is hope that with each women who does become a part of STEM, that they take the time and resources they have to inspire at least one other, in the hope it will cascade to others.

Take a look 🙂

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/progress-women-stem-starting-unravel

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What Does May Bring For Me?

It’s the last day of April and it is just dawning on me what the next month brings…

📝 I’ll have finished all 4 of my exams, which means I will have technically finished university and will just be awaiting the results.

🏡 I’ll have moved out of student accommodation and back home.

👯‍♀️ Moving home means I will be saying bye to my university friends, some who I’ve lived with, which will be strange not knowing when I’ll next be seeing them.

🇳🇱 I will have visited Amsterdam with my boyfriend and friends to celebrate end of exams.

🧡 I will have said goodbye to some GSK colleagues as I’ve ended my dissertation with them and will be moving away from where their offices are.

🇬🇷 I will be having another holiday with my boyfriend to Greece, ending on the last day of May and wrapping up what I presume will be a weird, yet wonderful month!