Women in IT: the undergrad

24 August 2017

Our series of interviews with women who work in IT and the technology sector was started by co-founder Claire. It's a response, in part, to the lack of female applicants for our job vacancies, which is just one reason why we're very pleased to have Georgina Scott-Picton working with us this summer.

As someone yet to embark on her career in IT, we wanted to find out more about her experience so far, and what motivated her to seek a career in technology.

What are you studying, at which university?

I'm studying Accounting and Financial Management at Loughborough.

How did you end up at Ideal, and what are you doing day-to-day?

I'm mostly here by luck! Indirectly I know Elissa, Ideal's HR director. I heard that there was a marketing executive position available, so I researched the company online, liked what I discovered and came for the interview.

I'm working closely with Dave, our head of marketing, learning and helping out with most aspects of his department's work. I've been spending lots of time in Hubspot, helping edit web pages and preparing and sending email campaigns to raise awareness of events and products. I've also got involved in discussions with external technology and service partners - I've had to teach myself a lot about Ideal's portfolio to keep pace!

Is this your first experience of working in a technology company? Do you enjoy the industry?

This is definitely the first time I've been hands on, learning about enterprise technologies. I really enjoy it! I'm excited by the possibilities of technology: by the promise of platforms like Watson, and the AI research that's going on in places like Deep Mind.

What do you intend to do after you graduate?

I'm going on from Ideal into a one-year placement as a technology risk consultant at Deloitte. Provided that goes well and is as interesting as I'm expecting, I'm hoping to progress into Deloitte's graduate programme and to embark on technology risk analysis as a career.

Can you tell us a bit about what technology risk analysis entails?

It's about helping organisations identify and properly manage risks in their IT systems and processes. Often the work is driven by assurance needs, investigations, or the regulatory environment of the business - for example companies working in the financial sector may be subject to specific requirements in regard to risk. Deloitte has specialists in cyber risk and resilience, among other things, helping assess organisations' preparations for attack or disaster, and their ability to manage and recover from them.

You're just starting out in the industry: hopefully you haven't experienced any implicit bias or direct sexism?

No - nothing at school, university or in my work placements. I'm hopeful it won't be something I encounter in the future: Deloitte has had a 'women in technology' network since 2007, which is promising.

Do you know any other women who work, or who are planning to work, in technology?

Actually quite a few! My mum and step-mum both work for major communications providers, and several of my friends are studying or planning to enter technological fields.

Would you recommend IT or tech to girls who are thinking about their future careers?

Yes, 100%. It's such a dynamic sector and the pace of change is quickening the whole time. Across our lifetimes we'll be relying on ever more exciting and powerful technology, but there'll always be people behind it. Being part of it will mean you're never bored.

What’s the best thing a girl or woman can do to get into the tech sector?

It's hard for me to offer advice. I know other women in this series have spoken about finding a mentor, but if you're talking about starting out it's perhaps less relevant - you may need to make a start in the industry before you can find someone in a suitable position to mentor you. I know there is a lot of helpful material online, but to someone who hasn't started out yet the technical terms can be quite intimidating - it can be hard to find the right starting point.

As many of your contributors have said, much of it comes down to education: children need an environment in which they're taught and supported to do anything they want.

How can we encourage more girls and women to consider an IT or tech career?

Again, a lot of this comes back to our formative years: parents and educators making sure children know the options that are available to them.

At Loughborough I volunteered for Robogals, a scheme to encourage more girls to get involved in engineering and technology, where we helped teach children how to program robots. Before a session we'd ask the girls whether they were considering a technical career and most of them - they're only 10 years old or so - didn't really know what it was. After one of the sessions one girl in particular came up to me and said she'd found it really fun, and that it might be something she'd like to do more of in the future.

Schemes like that help counter the lack of awareness among girls that this sort of career is a possibility. They need parents and schools to back them up, offering support and encouragement to all children to enjoy STEM subjects if they want to. It really isn't about what men versus women can do in their careers - it's about individuals, and their talents and skills, something which I think often gets lost in the gender debate.

 

Read more in our Women in IT series, and share your views with @weareideal using #WomenInIT.

We'd love to hear from more female job applicants. If you want to join us, take a look at our current jobs, and get in touch with HR@ideal.co.uk to tell us why you're the Ideal candidate.


Image: darkday/Flickr, Creative Commons