“Melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, religion, language, gender, orientation, age!” – An Interview Katie Andrews
Meet Katie, a WebOps engineer who has been working for 7Digital and is just about to start a new journey with SkyScanner! She is a keen baker and is extremely passionate about Diversity. In this interview, Katie shares her backstory with us and how she got into technology. She also gives us some food for thought around discrimination, pasta and reducing bias in tech.
SO KATIE, YOU’RE A WEBOPS ENGINEER AT 7DIGITAL… TELL ME A BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO!
7digital are a B2B music and radio streaming platform. I was a member of the Systems team for just over two and a half years, helping manage the infrastructure. I’ve actually just finished up there and am about to start a new role at Skyscanner which I’m really excited about.
CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU GOT INTO WEBOPS? WAS THIS A CAREER YOU KNEW YOU WANTED OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT CAME ABOUT SUDDENLY?
This career is a total accident! When I left sixth form I got a job at a supermarket as a Christmas temp and once that was over, landed a helpdesk support job at a software company. That was nearly twelve years ago now. I suppose I had something of an aptitude for it, so I stuck with it.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IS A HOT TOPIC AT THE MOMENT IN THE TECHNOLOGY MARKET. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
This is a difficult answer to condense into a paragraph but in an ideal world, a truly diverse and inclusive workplace should be a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, religion, language, gender, orientation, age. Everything that makes humans unique, under one accessible roof. So far in my career, I’ve never really worked anywhere truly like that, but some places have been better than others. There will always be work to do.
HAVE YOU EVER COME ACROSS ANY DISCRIMINATION WHILST BEING AT WORK?
Yes, and sadly I suspect everyone who isn’t a white CIS man has. The difficulty I have found is that it always seems to be left to the people being discriminated against to fight for what’s right, and more often than not, we lose. It’s a battle between survival and progress.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE BIAS AND INCREASE DIVERSITY IN TECH?
The barriers for entry need to be adjusted. A candidate with potential and willingness to learn shouldn’t be ruled out over someone considered more senior in knowledge. How do companies expect to hire experienced engineers if the same companies aren’t willing to give people the chance to become them? How are more females going to reach leadership roles if our ideas are overruled or ignored? How are we to overcome the gender pay gap if organisations continue to perpetuate this problem? There is only so much each individual in the lower ranks of an organisation can do to improve things if the workplace culture is toxic from the top down.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WORKING FOR 7DIGITAL?
The tech team are a great bunch and are truly collaborative. There’s not a culture of blame when things go wrong, as I have seen in other companies.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?
I’m a keen cook and baker and when I’m not working I can definitely be found roaming Borough Market or reading restaurant menus. I’ll also be volunteering with Crisis again this Christmas, cooking up a few thousand meals for guests over the festive period.
IF YOU HAD TO EAT ONE FOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Genuinely the question I had to think about the longest but I reckon I could happily eat pasta and garlic bread every day.
An interview by Sophie Edensor
a voice of diversity in tech.