WOMEN ROCK

WOMEN ROCK.

Thanks for being here and welcome to Women Rock – a voice for diversity in tech! Here you will find some of the most inspirational stories about ED&I in the tech industry. Women Rock was created by SR2 co-founder and all-round positive vibe advocate Alicia and exists to help transform the industry and create a positive movement!

Strength lies in differences. not similarities. Women Rock 2019
WOMEN ROCK2020-01-09

Strength lies in differences. not similarities. Women Rock 2019

Year 2 is done and dusted and it’s been a great year for Women Rock! I am so proud of what it has become and hugely excited for the plans we have for Women Rock in 2020!I am very proud of my fab ambassadors Char, Steph, Darcie, Rach, Sam, Caitlin and Sophie who have been at the forefront of Women Rock in 2019. The blog is packed with stories from inspiring folk in technology where every story and experience are different. You girls are the best advocates of the brand and you always have Diversity and Inclusion at the front of your minds as does everyone in our business. It’s amazing to see everyone living and breathing it daily.So what has happened in 2019 and with 5 years left to achieve our mission, what is next?!We have improved our diversity placements in 2019 at SR2, and we are super proud that 39% of our placements have been of under represented folk, ok it isn’t 50% but we’re getting there and we have hired some unbelievable talent within software development. – where the real shortage is!I still hear everyday that there aren’t enough females in Senior positions. We are pretty proud of some of our female placements being CTO’s, Engineering Managers, Lead Developers, Head of Agile. We have also placed multiple testers and engineers, both on a perm and contract basis. We’ve also been really active in the Part Time market, supporting working mums especially and had a load of success from our ever growing networks.This is all great but as I have said before the idea has never been to hire women just because they’re women. We find people that are amazing at their jobs. We have been committed and responsible of actually getting the word out to the widest pool of candidates possible which has in short led to our success in this area and and we bloody love it!It’s not all sunshine and roses however and with all the great, comes the shit! I would love to write a book on how companies window dress the subject of ‘diversity’. I’ve had calls, emails and constant messages about how can we hire females. I’ve had requests for all female shortlists and ‘I only want to hire a female developer’ – You genuinely hear all sorts but I am pleased to say overall the picture definitely feels like its improving which is what it’s all about.Biggest Tip. Listen to your recruitment partner – if they’re crap and not providing a diverse shortlist then go and get a new one who is truly committed to D&I. To change takes some work. It takes time. It takes trust. But it is totally worth it.We posted 29 different interviews to the blog in 2019 and had folk who are new to the industry, returning and have been in technical roles for years. Also founders and senior managers both male and female have took part sharing their successes, challenges and some struggles throughout their careers and sharing their thoughts on all things D&IWhat’s next:We are committed to gender diversity more than ever, our first placement of 2020 was a female JavaScript Developer kicking off the year perfectly! ???? We are attending several events to keep up to date and share our insights and experience into hiring diverse talent into the industry. We are looking forward to attending the TTC annual breakfast soon on how we can actually make a real difference and drive greater inclusion and diversity in tech?Overall in 2020 you will see more of the same with a couple of changes. We are planning a couple of diversity events, planning a international womens day event, partnering with Runway East and maybe even a podcast if we can squeeze it in. We have also partnered with Tiff Dawson and working on how we can provide coaching for women in their STEM careers. We hope you will still follow and join us in celebrating gender diversity in the world’s fastest growing industry. If we can help in anyway, if it’s hiring, advice or some support you know where we are.Please remember your voice and all we ask is to use your influence because whether you believe it or not (and you should) you can promote positive experiences for the minorities in tech!Look out for our first interview of 2020 next week.Thanks for supporting.Loads of Love – Women Rock xA voice for diversity in tech <3I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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”Rocking around the Christmas Tree” – Soz
WOMEN ROCK2020-01-01

”Rocking around the Christmas Tree” – Soz

As we come to the end of 2019 and it’s almost Women Rock’s 2nd Birthday, we will be sharing our success on what we have achieved this year and how much closer we are to our mission in Jan. We have had unbelievable success this year, hiring diverse talent in technology. The idea has never been to hire women just because they’re women. We find and help women & non-binary people that are amazing at their jobs. We have been committed and responsible of actually getting the word out to the widest pool of candidates possible which has in short led to our success and we bloody love it!To round up the year we wanted to share some jobs we are looking for at the mo for our clients we are very proud to work with and how truly support Women Rock.Software Tester Bristol £30,000They have a team of 6 developers and 2 QA’s and are now looking to expand the team. You will be involved in the testing of their web based platform used by a range of clients. You will also have the opportunity to get trained up in automation (Selenium) as they currently build new frameworks from the ground up so it is a great opportunity to be able to develop skills in this area too. Work in a Agile/SCRUM environment and are looking for someone with great communications skills and eye for detail.They are flexible on the level they take on and are happy to consider anyone from Grads with an interest in testing up to more experienced testers.They offer a salary of between £20,000-£30,000 depending on experience, flexible hours , bonus, 25 days holiday (plus bank holiday), Pension, Income Protection, Death in Service and a casual dress work environment. The have just refurbished the office and have a pool table and offer free fruit sweets, biscuits and snacks.Java Developer – Bath £50,000Multiple opportunities to work with a global media company based in central Bath, they have recently acquired some new brands to add to their impressive and exciting repertoire of clients.This is an opportunity to work on a brand-new product for their sales team, which is going to involve leveraging customer data to use as leads and migrating them into the tech stack.A great fit if you are into building tech + solving problems, you’ll be joining a fun vibrant engineering team. They have a big open plan office, based centrally within Bath and just a few minutes’ walk away from the train station so easily accessible if you’re coming from Bristol or somewhere else in the South west.They have very much a work hard, play hard culture. It’s the sort of place where people enjoy going to work and taking advantage of their great company benefits! If you’re wanting to work for a business who offer career progression, their CTO recently started to provide structured career path plans for each employee so they will support you with that.The technologies’ they are working with include: Java 8, Spring, Docker, AWS, REST API’s. Their tech stack also includes another tech such as PHP, JavaScript, AngularJS, jQuery, AJAX.Requirements:2+ years commercially working with JavaExperience working with SQLBachelor’s Degree in engineering, computer science, or another software related fieldThe desire to work within a teamOh and, they offer unlimited holiday and want their employees to have a great work/life balance.The company have a huge ambition and are looking for a 3 more Java engineers to join them on that journey!Front End Developer Bristol £35,000If you like the sound of working for a well established digital product company based in Bristol with the option of working fully remote alongside a group of extremely talented individuals, this could be the one for you.They have helped over 10,000 businesses across the planet increase their efficiency and success with no plans of stopping anytime soon. In fact, they are planning to more than double in size by the end of 2020.With a number of the team working on a fully remote basis, you may wonder what the culture is like. Everyone shares the same ambition for the company, united by enthusiasm for creating great products by taking advantage of all available tools to make remote working as enjoyable as possible.They now need another Front End Developer with solid Javascript experience to join the team. You’ll be a key part of the growing front-end team, helping to develop digital products, and forming part of the product team on new products, helping shape their development from conception to launch..NET Engineer, Health Tech start-up Bristol £60,000Would you like to be part of a heath-tech start-up with big plans to help change peoples lives? They are a fast-moving start-up currently planning their next stage of growth!They are looking for a passionate engineer to work alongside a Head of Engineer, Python Developer and Data Engineer where you will help build cutting edge mobile apps which are meaningful.They move fast and ship fast and you’ll have to be comfortable working at this kind of pace, but also serious about working on something which can help everyone with any health problems.The team may be small in stature, but, they’re big on creativity. They are looking for someone who can commit to working with ambiguity and are happy to learn and adapt on the fly. This is not your average 9-5, they offer the chance to learn and grow, have impact on the world and work with flexibility.PHP Software Engineer – Remote working options, Bristol £45,000A bespoke software company whose life started over 20 years ago when two skilled software engineers spotted a gap in the market, are expanding into Bristol!! They effectively produce high quality, often complex solutions for a niche sector and are dominant within it!They have recently won a tender that will result in some growth within the team (4-5 devs over the next few months) so naturally its an exciting time to be joining.You’ll be a great fit if:You value a trusting, adult working environmentYou like some remote working flexibility but turning into the office occasionally isn’t something you’re averse toFollowing proper software engineering practices keeps you happyChallenge is a friend not a foeWant to work on interesting projects with a diverse teamYou like the occasional social!The salary on this one is up to £45,000 + benefits experience dependant. The office is in Central Bristol within easy reach of Temple Meads (10 mins).Python Developers Bristol – £30,000 – £65,000They are looking for a mid-level developers with experience from 2-5 years.The teams are split into 4, all of which are working on different projects. Once projects are completed or even during the projects, they welcome the idea of a developer switching teams to learn new skills and tech that the other team might be working with whilst generating new ideas.The tech team was formed in January 2018 and since then has developed and delivered 4 greenfield projects.You will be developing greenfield products for their end clients and will be working with data-rich applications. These products are mainly applications that are designed to improve the business value and shortened the current process that inevitably will be saving money and time.In 2020, they will be driving towards machine learning development so now is a very exciting time to be joining them. Plus they are LUSH!Junior UX Designer – Bristol £28,000We’re currently working with a green energy company who’re going above and beyond to protect and save our planet one customer at a time.This is perfect for a recent grad or someone who’s done 1-2 years’ commercial experience who’s looking to become a part of something exciting and make your mark – as well as growing your own UX knowledge.The team are welcoming someone who is super passionate about creating great user experiences across a special brand. You’ll be working closely with the other designers and product owners to create a sleek user experience on their website and mobile app. This would be done by understanding user needs, carrying out your own research, interviews, workshops and testing. (You may need to travel to their other site which is local.)If you are looking for a new job for 2020 please get in touch, we promise you’ll be in safe hands and we’ll have a laugh and make sure you are fully supported throughout the whole process.All the love xWomen Rock – A voice for diversity in tech <3An interview by Alicia Teagle I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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WTF ……………. is networking?!
WOMEN ROCK2020-01-01

WTF ……………. is networking?!

I was recently invited to London to speak at 101 ways WTF (Women Tech Focus) event at the amazing Just Eat offices. I wanted to share my experiences, my successes, failures and top tips on networking. The aim is to reassure you in your own worth, ability and power regardless of the situation you are in and how you can embrace your inner Sasha.So WTF is networking?! I bet you’re thinking a room FULL of what I can only describe as a “Cumberland Sausage Factory” (that reference has stuck with me after a CTO recently called his tech team it as he took me around the office!) and we all know in the tech industry it’s pretty relevant.Networking can be associated with stress, dread, anxiety and probably some of your best excuses not to go, I know I’ve considered using the ‘I’ve got to wash my hair’ excuse many times before.You may have had a prior experience that hasn’t been great and you are now building your courage to go to something you have been told you need to go to, or you are just really interested in the topic. But how can you make it easier and why is it worth the effort?Are you thinking, this is what Networking looks like?I get it, I really do and I can’t imagine you jumping at the chance to be in a room full of sausage, and I’ll be honest now if we are talking tech then you will be outnumbered there’s no hiding that, but it is getting better, I promise! But a lack of self-confidence can limit you in your opportunities! Now we can’t all be professional networkers, but for whatever reason you are looking to go to an event whether you’re looking to hire or be hired, for example remember you can’t win the game if you don’t want to play it. So embrace your inner sasha!Here are my 11 top tips:1. JOIN A WOMEN GROUP2. MAKE THE EFFORT TO GOYou can’t stick our head in the sand and forget all about it, because in this day and age, networking is a necessity. Whatever you’re trying to achieve knowing people that can support you, offer new perspectives, and help you forward networking is a powerful thing!3. PREPARE– Make notes on the speaker– Check on Eventbrite & Meetup who is going, then start stalking. Get on social media and look them up. (What have you got in common, What do they look like?)4. PUT YOURSELF IN A GOOD MOODDo something that you enjoy. Get your endorphins going. Eat some chocolate. Go for a run. Lift your spirits, drink a calamine tea or ………………. wine!5. DRESS THE PART!Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. If you look and feel great, you will naturally be more confident. Be assured in your own worth, ability, and power, regardless of the situation you are in.6. BE SASHA!Sasha Fierce is, according to Beyoncé, her alter ego that she assumes when she gets on stage. Sasha Fierce is her persona, and what is responsible for her confidence as she struts her stuff on stage. Pretend your confident, we don’t all feel like Beyoncé even on our best days but everyone else doesn’t have to know that. Realize that how you walk, shake hands and make (or avoid eye contact each tells someone whether or not you are self-assured. So stand tall (I try, the whole 5ft1 of me) walk with purpose, smile and look everyone in the eye! This is important, you’ll soon find that even if you don’t feel confident at first you will soon.7. SMALL TALK … EH!Don’t like small talk? Don’t we all? Join in a conversation between others than start up from cold. Buddy up and let the chatter flow, if you find yourself stuck, drop your guard and say what you are thinking ‘I’m awful at small talk’ Odds are they are thinking the same thing and that connection can spark an honest dialogue.And if all else fails just roll down a hill 🙂8. QUESTIONSGetting over the first hurdle of saying anything is typically the hardest part. It’s an opportunity to find out all about them too. Turn your attention to them and you’ll soon forget to be self-conscious. The best way to do this is to plan some interesting questions in advance, try ‘what are you hoping to get out of this event?’ ‘What’s your story?’ ‘What would you say that you’re known for?’ or do you like your coke in a bottle or a can (just kidding but if you can rock it then go for it, it’s my ice breaker!)9. WORDS HAVE POWER!!!!Try to avoid asking anything that could be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – get them to open up a little. Be aware of your word choices, don’t undermined yourself such as I think or maybe, or even apologise for interjecting. You don’t have to interrupt or be rude, but use more confident words that make a statement.10. RESTING BITCH FACE?Be mindful of how your facial features or expressions may be interpreted. Maybe you tend to furrow your brows when you get nervous, or you maintain a stiff and serious expression. Be mindful of how different expressions may be interpreted.11. FOLLOW UPNetworking doesn’t end at the event, follow up and build stronger connections. You will meet incredible people you wouldn’t usually have access too.Meeting people at events is tough but it sure gets easier with practice, enjoy it and have FUN!#Womenrock

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The amount of respect you have for others is in direct proportion to how much respect you have for yourself. Respect everyone! – An interview with Hannah Biggs
WOMEN ROCK2019-12-31

The amount of respect you have for others is in direct proportion to how much respect you have for yourself. Respect everyone! – An interview with Hannah Biggs

Hannah is an experienced agency and in-house technical recruiter, she’s pretty cool too! She is also currently working through Free Code Camp, learning HTML, CSS & JavaScript and taking a product management course in September – superwoman! She is dedicated and passionate to represent women within tech and has had huge success already with some brilliant female hires within OVO! I wanted to speak to Hannah both about the industry and if being a female helps when hiring female talent.OVO are hosting Bristol Girl Geek Dinners on the 20th June – Please click here for tickets.Hannah is also a volunteer at Bristol’s first Algorave for more info and tickets please see EventbriteYOU ARE ALSO A WOMAN IN TECH ALBEIT IN A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT WAY BEING TECH RECRUITMENT. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A TIME WHERE A MALE DOMINATED ENVIRONMENT HAS BEEN INTIMIDATING?Of course! When I first started out in tech recruitment I was 22 years old and 5 ft 2. When you are walking into a room which is made up of only men at a senior level (who are also incredibly smart and towering over you), you feel very aware of how seriously you will be taken as a young woman. I worked extremely hard to understand the ins and outs of tech, including learning how to code myself, in order to prove myself as a good recruiter.HOW DO YOU ATTRACT WOMEN TO APPLY-JOIN OVO?We try and make our adverts as gender neutral as possible, and stress that we believe the key to a brilliant, progressive workforce is having teams made up of people from all backgrounds, genders & ethnicity. We also hold meetups (we have our next Women in Tech meetup on the 20th June) and try to be as active as possible in the amazing Women in Tech community in the South West & London.WITH SO MANY COMPANIES LOOKING TO HIRE FEMALE TALENT. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT RETAINING YOUR FEMALE STAFF?We create a very open and collaborative environment in which women are given the opportunities to achieve their career goals. We are firm believers of giving our employees the tools to progress into new opportunities in the business and will always look internally first for any new roles. If we have someone who is an QA Engineer and they want to get into Software Engineering, we will try our best to make that happen!WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN RECRUITING INTO BRISTOL?Competition is fierce in Bristol, which is a challenge but also a blessing. We now have so many great tech companies in Bristol that it’s attracting more talent here from London and other areas of the UK & Europe.WHAT ARE THE COOLEST THINGS OVO ARE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?We are working on a brilliant Energy Platform which our engineering teams are building from scratch. We have recently launched our Vehicle-to-Grid Charger which works by pumping Electric Vehicle battery power back into the grid at peak times. We also have our Smart Storage Heaters and more recently our Home Energy Storage which is essentially a battery for your home! We focus on our customers and on clean, green energy so most of what we work on revolves around those two things.ARE YOU HIRING AT THE MOMENT?Yes! We are hiring Software Engineers across Bristol & London (we aren’t fussy on the current tech, as long as they have an interest in Functional Programming). We are also hiring for Software Engineering Managers across Bristol & London (this could be a great step up for someone currently in a Team Lead role). We also have many other roles across other areas of the business including Product & UI/UX.WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO WOMEN WHO ARE LOOKING TO GET BACK INTO THE INDUSTRY?Attend meetups and make the most of the great, supportive community we have here in Bristol. Take online courses and read up on the latest tech. Also get in touch directly with businesses about coming into the office and working alongside some of the teams to get yourself back into the swing of things again.DO YOU THINK BEING A FEMALE RECRUITER HELPS WITH HIRING FEMALE TALENT?Honestly, I do think it helps. I think women trust women and the support is definitely there. I believe that as a female recruiter, I resonate more with what’s important to women as I have either been through it or will go through it (having children etc).WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO RECRUITMENT CONSULTANTS BOTH AGENCY AND INHOUSE WHEN IT COMES TO HIRING WOMEN INTO TECHNICAL POSITIONS?Please do not underestimate technical women – they are awesome. If you are worried about them not fitting into teams because they are male dominated, please remember they can bring a whole new dynamic, offering a different aspect and view on things which is always a good thing! (Also don’t ask a woman ‘is she planning on being pregnant anytime soon” during an interview – true story!)WHAT DO OVO DO TO ENCOURAGE YOUNG GIRLS INTO TECH?We do kids coding club which is brilliant. We go into schools and encourage young girls as much as possible that this is very much a female industry and not just for boys! If you have any questions or want to talk to Hannah about recruitment, OVO or Women in Tech please email – hannah.biggs@ovoenergy.comThanks Hannah#yourock #womenrock 

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“Melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, religion, language, gender, orientation, age!” – An Interview Katie Andrews
WOMEN ROCK2019-11-28

“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.#womenrockAn interview by Sophie Edensora voice of diversity in tech.I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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“Don’t get lost in the sauce.” – An interview with Alice McNeil
WOMEN ROCK2019-11-26

“Don’t get lost in the sauce.” – An interview with Alice McNeil

I am obsessed by this interview from the awesome Alice McNeil, who is a Front-End Developer at our good friends at RocketMakers – she’s definitely one to watch! Alice came into the industry through the Mayden Academy bootcamp. If you are interested in a bootcamp, mayden is a great one and Alice explains why in this interview.I loveeee Alice’s answer to ”Being a young female working in tech, what is something you would say has surprised you the most about the industry?” Have a read, support the next generation and eat all the cake!FIRSTLY CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW ROLE WITH ROCKETMAKERS, COULD YOU TELL ME A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?I am a front-end software developer. I design and build websites and apps as part of my team here at Rocketmakers. I write code to tell an application how to look and how to work. I am also doing some graphic design and branding for apps.I KNOW YOU DID AN INTERNSHIP WITH THEM AND COVERED MARKETING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT, WHERE DID YOUR PASSION FOR TECHNOLOGY COME FROM?I wouldn’t consider myself as having a passion for technology in particular, I have a passion for creating things. I fell in love with coding because its a limitless tool that would help me create digital applications that looked and worked exactly how I had envisioned them. I’ve grown up surrounded by the evolution of technology, it is such an integral part of my lifestyle – creating it just makes sense to me.When I left school to start my internship I only knew that I liked graphic design and event management, I knew more about the kind of place and people I wanted to work with than any definitive job role. I found Rocketmakers first and after curiously looking over the developers’ shoulders for 6 months I decided the career I wanted to pursue.YOU HAVEN’T FOLLOWED THE TYPICAL CAREER PATH INTO TECH BUT COMPLETED A BOOTCAMP WITH MAYDEN, HOW WAS THAT?When I was looking at my options for learning to become a software developer I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of it. I knew that:I needed a relatively short term course so that I could get on to creating ‘real’ applications that are used by real people as quickly as possibleGoing back to a heavily academic place, like university, for 3+ years wouldn’t suit meI needed to have enough knowledge to be able to start contributing to projects when I came back to Rocketmakers.I wouldn’t have the motivation, time or focus to teach myselfMayden Academy, as a 16 week intensive course ticked all these boxes. I graduated on Friday and came back to Rocketmakers on Monday and could get straight into some project work. Mayden gave me a great across-the-board understanding of software development. Of course I still have so much more to learn but completing the bootcamp course has given me a head start.WOULD YOU RECOMMEND A BOOTCAMP FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO GET INTO TECHNOLOGY?Absolutely, it worked so well as a boost for my career as a developer. The apprenticeship scheme I am on was a lifesaver, it means I was assured a job when I left Mayden Academy, I get a qualification at the end of it and it was much more financially viable!BEING A YOUNG FEMALE WORKING IN TECH, WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD SAY HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?The thing that has surprised me most is how little judgment I’ve experienced being only 19 and a woman working in technology sector. I haven’t felt I’ve been treated any differently and frankly I wouldn’t have it, I want to be judged on my contributions, my ideas, my conversations with the people I work with, not by insignificant factors like my age and/or appearance. Initially I was a little worried, as most women working in a majority male workplace have had some experience with inequality, I consider myself extremely lucky to work in a progressive and equal workplace.ALTHOUGH STILL RELATIVELY NEW TO YOU, AND I AM SURE YOU ARE STILL LEARNING SO MUCH AT RM BUT WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT CODING SO FAR?I love seeing a project come together. I am an impatient developer, I want to see the application take shape, to look good and be usable as quickly as possible.WHAT IS ONE BIT OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS LOOKING TO GET A ROLE IN TECH?Why not? Like really why not get into tech? This time last year I had no experience in development, very little knowledge about working in a tech team and no nerdy passion that I thought was necessary. I like creating, that’s my focus, code was just another tool for me to keep creating.WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?I don’t have just one favourite quote so here are a few:Know the difference between the zone and the hole, keep moving and keep making moves and celebrate every little victory and most importantly, don’t get lost in the sauce.WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?My mum, she was an inspirational woman. She is still the voice in my head that tells me to take a break, and to ‘eat another slice of chocolate cake’.  Thank you for taking part xWomen Rock – A voice for diversity in tech <3An interview by Alicia Teagle I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – An Interview Tiffany Dawson
WOMEN ROCK2019-11-19

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – An Interview Tiffany Dawson

I am very excited to introduce you to Tiff Dawson, who is going to be partnering with us as of the New Year on some really inspiring work for women in STEM. Tiff has recently moved to Bristol all the way from Australia with her Husband (who also works in tech and a huge advocate for D&I too) Tiff has a degree in mechanical engineering and has worked for several global engineering consultancies for almost 8 years. The part she loved most about her job was getting to know colleagues on a personal level and guiding them through career and life challenges. During that time, she coached a number of colleagues to excel in their careers by helping them see things in a new light. She has now launched Tiffany Dawson Coaching to empower women with the tools and knowledge to blaze their own trails, and work with STEM companies to create work environments that are more inviting to women. Her long-term goal is to set up a social enterprise that provides aid to females who wouldn’t usually have the means to study or work in STEM.Last week we invited Tiff to come along to PHPSW and speak about her coaching sessions and workshops, the feedback was amazing! We are really excited to be working with Tiff throughout 2020, running workshops and coaching sessions both for individuals/groups and companies around the South West. She is working with some great companies and folk already to help them take control of their careers and set themselves free from the challenges holding them back. We are super lucky to be working with Tiff and can’t wait to see what we can achieve.Here is her story, which is a fab one.YOU HAVE RECENTLY MOVED TO BRISTOL, WELCOME, AND HAVE LAUNCHED TIFFANY DAWSON COACHING, COULD YOU TELL US ALL ABOUT IT?Thank you! I’ve loved exploring Bristol since I moved here from Australia earlier this year.My mission with Tiffany Dawson Coaching is to coach and inspire women in STEM (science, tech, engineering & maths) to unleash themselves from career advancement blockers.I do this via individual coaching, running group workshops and speaking at events – all in the aim of working towards gender equality in STEM. YOU WERE AN ENGINEER PRIOR TO LAUNCHING YOUR COACHING COMPANY, WHERE HAS YOUR PASSION FOR ENGINEERING COME FROM?I was lucky enough to grow up with an engineer role model, my dad. He always encouraged me to solve problems in a curious way. Nothing was ever too hard to fix!At school, I loved maths and physics so I ended up studying mechanical engineering at university. My degree allowed me to work at several global engineering companies across Australia and the UK which I feel so grateful for.My passion for helping women in STEM to achieve fulfilling work and home lives increased over my 8 years in the construction engineering industry. That’s why I’ve launched my business which is my true heart’s calling.HAVE YOU HAD ANY CHALLENGES IN YOUR OWN CAREER WHICH HAVE HELD YOU BACK?Absolutely! So many – and if you went through them all, you’d find a common theme. It was my own mindset that held me back time and time again.The one that springs to mind is, at the age of 27 and just 5 years into my career, I lead a team of 30 engineers and project managers to work for my company’s largest client. My biggest challenge wasn’t the actual role itself, but the constant battle with my inner critic. You see, my team was full of engineers who had worked in the field for 25+ years. Here was little old me, afraid to provide them with clear direction.I spent way too much time being fearful of what they might think of me, when all I really needed to do was fulfill the role I’d been trusted by my managers to do. Once I learned to let go of that fear, I became much more effective at my job.WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR TIFFANY DAWSON COACHING?My current plans are to tackle gender inequality in STEM from both sides. That is, to empower women with the tools and knowledge to blaze their own trails, and work with STEM companies to create work environments that are more inviting to women.My long term goal is to set up a social enterprise that provides aid to females who wouldn’t usually have the means to study or work in STEM.BEING A YOUNG FEMALE WORKING IN ENGINEERING, WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD SAY HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?That so many people, including females, don’t understand why there is a gender diversity issue. If I’m perfectly honest, it took me about 6 years working in the engineering industry to start to understand the issues and I’m learning more about it every day. Not knowing ‘the why’ is going to hold back so many companies from figuring out ‘the how’ of solving the problem.I BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO HELP SCHOOLS TO PROMOTE STEM CAREERS, HOW CAN SCHOOLS RAISE MORE AWARENESS IN THIS?When I was in year 10, an amazing young female lawyer came to speak to us at school about a career in law. Guess what. Fast forward 6 years, a disproportionate amount of my school peers graduated in law!If we can get more people working in different industries to visit schools and tell them about what their days look like, school aged humans will be better equipped to decide amongst a wider range of jobs. The problem with STEM jobs is that it’s so hard for children to imagine what their future would be like, as opposed to doctors, teachers and other professions they’ve interacted with first hand.HAVE YOU EVER SUFFERED FROM THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME?Oh yes. Hasn’t everyone? I still do from time to time and truly believe that everybody experiences this sort of fear. The key is to not let it stop you from achieving your goals. Fear is there to protect you but sometimes it gets the level of danger a little wrong.There are some fabulous tools and strategies that anyone can learn for hearing the fear, but not letting it get in the way.WHAT IS ONE BIT OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS LOOKING TO PROGRESS THEIR CAREER?Invest in yourself! I’m going to drop a truth bomb – no one else will care about you as much as you do. Be clear on what your career goals are and why you’ve set those goals. Is it because you think it will impress your boss? If so, start again! Career goals should have personal benefits that will serve you. Investing in yourself also means setting boundaries so nothing gets in the way of you achieving those goals.If you’re having trouble tapping into your deepest desires, find someone who will help uncover them. This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job so I’m always here to help!HOW CAN PEOPLE SIGN UP WITH YOU?If you’re a woman working in STEM who’d like some one-on-one coaching, just fill out the questionnaire on my webpage below and book in a time for a complimentary Discovery Call with me. This is a 45 minute coaching experience where we get to know each other, discuss your goal and come away with a clear next step to achieving it. Sometimes our conversation ends here because you might have found the clarity you need. Most times though, if we’re both as excited as each other, we’ll work together for the next 3 months!https://www.tiffanydawson.co/discovery-callI also run group workshops for women in STEM. These can be in-house at a company’s office, or for events run by organisations. These workshops are always so much fun and participants often walk away with a new lease on work life and stronger bonds with their colleagues. If you’re interested in signing up, shoot me an email at tiffany@tiffanydawson.co .Part of my mission is also to raise awareness of the gender inequality issues we face in our industries. I love to rile people up by speaking at events so if you’d like to collaborate, get in touch!WHO IS YOUR NUMBER 1 ROLE MODEL OR INSPIRATION?This might sound cheesy but it’s got to be my mum. She doesn’t agree, but she’s one of the strongest women I know. My mum holds everyone up around her and is incredibly resilient. When she moved to Australia with an 8 month old baby (me!) she didn’t know a word of English and still managed to find a full time job and navigate a foreign country.It was at the age of 30 that she first learned how to swim and only a couple of years after that, she became a swimming coach at a club that trained Olympic athletes! She really showed me that anything’s possible if you consistently work towards it.WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor RooseveltWomen Rock – A voice for diversity in tech <3An interview by Alicia Teagle I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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Carly in Tech
WOMEN ROCK2019-11-07

Carly in Tech

You may have read Carly’s story on here earlier in the year and we had to get her on here again as she has an update. After knowing Carly for a little while, we are so happy and excited that she is changing direction and has been given the opportunity to develop her technical skills a bit more by attending a 12 week intensive technical academy through her employer – the brilliant Nationwide Building Society, a company where every single person supports and encourages diversity in every sense of the word.Carly is keen to share her journey, in an honest, open and non-corporate-y way, with the aim of showing people what these things are really like, and hopefully encourage people to consider starting/moving to a career in tech.From Carly:I genuinely care about getting people from different backgrounds into tech, and understand that it can sometimes appear a closed off, intimidating and often confusing community. I want to try and remove a layer or two (or more!) of the mystery, and show how interesting, challenging, (and fun!) tech can be. Be the change you want to see and all that…I work for Nationwide Building Society in the UK (we’re like a bank but better)*. And like most financial institutions, we’re having to totally re-evaluate the technology we’re using, to make sure it’s fit for the future. And establish new ways of working, to help us keep up with the pace of change. One of the things Nationwide has done as part of this process is create a 12 week intensive technical academy, in partnership with the training provider QA, aimed at people just starting out their careers in tech (including career changers) and those that might already work in tech, but want an introduction to some of the newer technologies, or want to gain a more hands on understanding.I fall in to the latter category – I’ve been working in a technical environment for the past 7 years**. I’ve had various roles including Computer Operator, IT Operations Manager, Performance Test Lead, and Senior Tech Specialist (Payments). The one thing they’ve all had in common is that I was working predominantly with legacy technology, and I ended up working with quite a high level view, and with a focus on governance. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the legacy stuff, things are rarely as easy as they seem and every day is a challenge, but times are changing, and that tech isn’t going to be around for ever. And governance is really REALLY important, but it doesn’t set my heart on fire. So, here I am.Assuming you want to stick around and follow my journey, I’ll introduce myself a bit more. When I’m not at work I enjoy DIY, gardening (landscaping, we’ve just built a patio – I’m rubbish at the flowers and plants bit), cars, makeup, clothes, sewing, shoes, Studio Ghibli, I’m trying to practice taking more (and better!) pictures, and I collect guidebooks from all the museums that I visit. I’m really interested in the tech industry, particularly when it’s focused on social good, or environmental concerns, but I don’t tend to code/do tech work in my spare time very often. I’m also a Governor at a regional Further Education college that has a strong focus on technology. A pretty random and eclectic mix, but to be fair I think that’s how my friends would describe me.In a bid to not just aimlessly move from one role to the next, I’ve had a think about the areas that I really enjoy and any specific skillset I can utilise to focus my direction. I’ve realised that I really enjoy the area of IT Operations and Security, and work really well in typically stressful situations (i.e. incident response), so over the next 12 months, I’ve set myself the following goals (in addition to completing the Technical Academy obvs):Attempt the Google Capture The Flag event 2020Speak at a conferenceVolunteer at Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) camp 2020Investigate roles in DevOps and SecurityFinish watching all of the Studio Ghibli collection (because taking a break is important too)If you’re interested in following how I get on, I’ll be blogging, vlogging, tweeting and ‘gramming using the handles below. Questions, messages of support, and cute animal pics are always welcome!Twitter: @CarlyInTech https://twitter.com/carlyintechInstagram: @CarlyInTech https://www.instagram.com/carlyintech/?hl=enYoutube: Carly In Tech https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqjp9hsqGmM9uldVF9OAVSgBlog: https://carlyintech.wordpress.com/*Opinions are totally 100% my own.**It’s worth noting that I didn’t start out working in tech, in fact I hated it in school (but that’s back when it was taught as ICT – Microsoft Publisher anyone?!). I did my Bachelors in International Politics, and then after a few years of working in research, I did my Masters in Environmental Health, specialising in infectious disease control and epidemiology (it’s a very long story). And all of the above is why we created Women Rock to share peoples journeys, their careers (and not the typical ‘tech’ career path) the challenges, I’m sure Carly will agree probably the stresses but most importantly the successes.We will be following and supporting you on your journey, thank you for sharing and hopefully others who have a similar interest will follow in your footsteps.#womenrocka voice of diversity in tech.@womenrockbristol

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Coding, Rugby, Pub? Pub – An Interview with Sarah Cronk
WOMEN ROCK2019-10-31

Coding, Rugby, Pub? Pub – An Interview with Sarah Cronk

Check out this great interview with Sarah Cronk, who is a graduate software developer working with CACI here in Bristol. CACI saw huge potential in Sarah and offered her a position with them whilst she was still completing her degree in Maths! In this interview, Sarah shares her thoughts on having the imposter syndrome, her passion for Rugby and gives advice on how tech companies can attract a more diverse mix of people. Also, her quote is probably one of the best so far!HI SARAH, YOU JOINED CACI’S ENGINEERING TEAM IN BRISTOL NOT TOO LONG AGO – HOW HAVE YOU BEEN FINDING IT SO FAR?I’m really enjoying it! I didn’t have much experience with coding before joining so I was a little nervous, but they’ve given me great training and support and I’ve been able to get stuck in quickly.BEING A YOUNG FEMALE WORKING IN TECHNOLOGY, WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD SAY HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?It’s not quite a nerdy as people make out! I think TV gives people who work in tech a reputation of being socially awkward but really, it’s as much of spectrum of people as any other industry when it comes to social skills.WHERE DID YOUR LOVE FOR TECHNOLOGY AND CODING COME FROM?During school I loved maths and science and I studied maths at university, so I’ve always been really interested in STEM however my first experience with coding wasn’t a good one. In first year, we were thrown in the deep end with a computer science module and I really struggled, I would’ve been shocked to find out what my graduate job would eventually be. It wasn’t until modules later in my course that more gradually introduced code (albeit from a statistical perspective) that I realised I enjoyed it and was good at it.LOTS OF SCHOOL PUPILS DON’T SEE THE BENEFIT OF WHERE MATHEMATICS CAN TAKE THEM, A COMMON THOUGHT AND MISCONCEPTION COULD BE ‘WELL WHAT AM I GOING TO USE THIS FOR IN THE FUTURE’. HOW DO YOU THINK SCHOOLS CAN RAISE MORE AWARENESS TO THE CAREER OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR CHOOSING STEM SUBJECTS?Maths is in basically everything we do so maybe finding a way of demonstrating that to students as opposed to learning for the sake of learning. For example, learning how taxes work would be exceptionally useful and specifically with regards to tech and coding, technology is so advanced now that if the curriculum doesn’t keep up with it then students are going to become more and more disillusioned with it. Why wait until university to start introducing coding to students?ALTHOUGH IT’S STILL RELATIVELY NEW TO YOU, AND I’M SURE YOU’RE LEARNING SO MUCH AT CACI EVERYDAY BUT WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT CODING SO FAR?I enjoy problem solving so, contrary to what people expect, I like it when things go a little bit wrong and I get to root around trying to solve it. It is incredibly satisfying when it all works in the end but the work it takes to get there is the fun bit.SOMETHING I LOVE, IS YOUR PASSION FOR BOTH RUGBY AND TECHNOLOGY (SO AWESOME!) – I’M SURE YOU MIGHT AGREE THAT STEREOTYPICALLY IN THE EYES OF THE WORLD THAT THESE ARE BOTH ‘MALE LED’ INDUSTRIES WHICH WOMEN COULD BE UNDERESTIMATED IN. HOW DID BEING IN A WOMEN’S RUGBY TEAM PREPARE YOU FOR BEING A WOMAN IN TECH?I had never noticed my interests were both aligned that way, but I agree that they are male-dominated industries. Playing rugby has given me a lot of confidence over the years, both in my own physical ability and my decision making – sometimes you have a split second to decide what you’re going to do before someone is running into you – and this has definitely bled into my day to day life and therefore my attitude at work. What helps me more at work however is the experience I gained being on rugby committee where we’d have meetings in which I was the only woman in the room and having to fight my corner. Thankfully I work with such a great team that I don’t feel the need to do that at CACI but knowing that I can gives me more confidence.HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A VICTIM OF IMPOSTER SYNDROME AND WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR YOU?Definitely. I was offered a job at CACI before I had even started my final year of university due to a successful referral from a friend and I was shocked. I remember thinking back to my interview and looking over my CV and wondering if I had said something that wasn’t true or lead them to believe that I had more experience than I did. I’d like to thank the friend who referred me for putting up with me asking ‘I really don’t know anything, is that ok? Are you sure?’ a lot, but the reason I asked it was because I felt unqualified. I then finally started and realised that I wasn’t. I’ll admit that even with this interview I asked another friend whether I had an interesting enough story that it would be worth your time, so it’s clearly something that can pervade your attitude to everything. I think the best solution to imposter syndrome is take whatever is making you feel like a fraud and do it anyway because that’s the only way to prove to yourself that you’re not a fraud.IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND HANG OUT WITH YOUR 13-YEAR OLD SELF, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE HER?First and foremost, please chill out, take deep breaths, it will all be ok. If you’re not immediately good at something then that is alright, just take your time with it. Don’t be afraid to embrace the things you enjoy regardless of what other people think about them.IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU THINK TECH COMPANIES CAN ATTRACT A MORE DIVERSE MIX OF PEOPLE?By using companies like Socially Responsible Recruitment! Making a conscious effort to recruit people who otherwise wouldn’t put themselves forward roles in tech. I think work towards greater diversity in tech can even start in schools, they’ve shown that girls as young as six are less likely to attribute brilliance to their own gender (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/aaft-ygl012317.php). If an effort is made with young children, then that will ripple through and we’ll start to see a greater mix of people in the industry. An example of this is CACI currently volunteer at a local primary school, where around 80% of the children that attend the coding club are female. Obviously, gender isn’t the only marker of diversity and programmes like these are also needed in low-socioeconomic areas for example. Areas where schools might not have enough funding to introduce students to tech and coding.WHO IS YOUR NO.1 ROLE MODEL OR INSPIRATION?This is going to sound cheesy but my mum – she’s intelligent, she works incredibly hard, she’s great at her job and doesn’t take any nonsense. I’d be lucky to be like her.WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?I’m really not a quotes person but something I find myself saying a lot – “Pub? Pub” #womenrockAn interview by Steph Jacksona voice of diversity in tech.I: @womenrockbristolT: @womenrockbrstl

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