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General Chat Thread, Jobs for the Girls: Encouraging girls to consider qualifications and careers in IT in General; As part of EduGeek's activities at Education Innovation : the leading event for learning technology : Manchester, 8/9 March we ...
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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Jobs for the Girls: Encouraging girls to consider qualifications and careers in IT

    As part of EduGeek's activities at Education Innovation : the leading event for learning technology : Manchester, 8/9 March we are taking part in the debate around women in IT.

    I will be joining the debate chaired by Chair: Julia Dennison (editor, Education Executive) along with Sue Nieland (E-Skills) / Genevieve Smith-Nunes (Sussex Downs College) / Helen Wollaston (WISE/UKRC) / Hannah Jones (Connected Learning).

    As part of this I would like to ask a few questions of our female members and even have a quick chat with some of you about your experiences of working in IT.

    How long have you been working in IT?
    Is this your first, second, third, etc career?
    What other jobs / roles have you done previously?
    How many interviews did it take to get your first job in IT?
    Have you ever felt that being female is a help or a hindrance to gaining a job in IT?
    If you were considering IT (or other engineering / programming careers) whilst at school what support did you receive?

    If any of the above is difficult to answer publicly feel free to PM me and it will be treated in complete confidence.

    If you are happy for me to quote you during the debate please let me know.

    As someone who believes in meritocracy it is an interesting debate to take part in.

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    CamelMan's Avatar
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    I can answer a bit on behalf of my wife if thats of any help:

    7 years in IT
    Excluding straight after school stuff (pick up put down jobs) she went into IT
    Private IT support company, major line IT sales company, IT Tech, Lead Tech, Network Manager
    2 interviews
    No - in "the office" she'd feel excluded from some banter (nothing against her directly -> just guys talking guys stuff) out in schools it helped as alot of staff are female and they liked having a female come out to see them. Could argue minor sexism on both counts but overall it never bothered her. Being female had never worked against her getting a job in the first place. She said that most people in the industry actually went out of their way to help her (lifting boxes etc)
    Never considered IT at school - she just kinda of fell into it afterwards.

    Hope that helps

    As a side note a group of us went to look around a university when we were applying (basically lets go check the uni and city out and have a few beers) and one of our other friends (not applying for any uni) tagged along for the ride. When we were speaking to an admission's guy about grades etc - he turned to our female 'tag along friend' and basically told her that obviously the limits would be lower for her to encourage more girls. Now Im all for encouraging but this basic sexism (your a boy you have higher targets than the girl sitting next to you).

    Thought it might be useful as a look from "the other side" of the sexism debate. Would be interesting if this kind of "encouragement" makes up part of the debate.

  3. Thanks to CamelMan from:

    GrumbleDook (21st February 2013)

  4. #3

    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    How long have you been working in IT?
    Since I graduated (BSc Hons Computer Studies - Lancaster) in 1985. PCs appeared there in my final year.

    Is this your first, second, third, etc career?
    I've always worked in IT with a short career break when my eldest started primary school. I gave up then because the hours were not flexible enough for me to be able to do the school run and my other half worked in London. After a couple of years, I became a TA at the school, then the day before Ofsted arrived we got a virus on the network... and I 've worked in IT again ever since!

    What other jobs / roles have you done previously?
    Will PM my career history, but all in IT apart from the TA bit in the middle.

    How many interviews did it take to get your first job in IT?
    To get the programming traineeship I wanted took about 8 months after graduation. I went to about 10 interviews.

    Have you ever felt that being female is a help or a hindrance to gaining a job in IT?
    Back in the dark ages when I had my children, I was one of only 3 women amongst a department of 60. My requests to adjust my working hours caused no end of problems as they "didn't want to set a precedent". I had set a precedent by being the first systems Programmer there ever to get pregnant. On call nights, particularly when my other half was away and nobody had invented remote access, were an issue. I got my way eventually.

    Other than that, it wasn't a problem being female. I've never seen myself as being any different to the blokes and generally have had no issues. In fact, during my years in Tech Suport I was regarded as the outward face of a department that had many technically brilliant 'traditional' IT males who couldn't communicate with people who weren't technical

    If you were considering IT (or other engineering / programming careers) whilst at school what support did you receive?
    I did Maths, Further Maths and Physics A Levels at a traditional grammar school that didn't believe in girls doing science. I was however, one of two daughters of a Mechanical Engineer and flirted with the idea of becoming an engineer myself.

    Broadly my school was useless, but an enlightened Physics teacher persuaded me and my two friends, between us top of the Physics set, to go to an Engineering Industry Training Board event promoting women in engineering at Loughborough University when we were in the lower sixth.

    I came away convinced that engineering was not for me, but liked the look of the computers. With none in the school, I really didn't consider computing as an option. My dad did bring home a Commodore PET from work from time to time to work on which he had to program himself, so I could see the potential though. One of my friends end up as an Engineer for Rolls Royce I went to uni to study accountancy and economics, but chose computer studies to make up my first year units. My marks reflected my interests and I changed my major.

    I really enjoyed the coding modules most which is why I decided that I wanted to become a programmer. After a few years as a programmer, I was doing more and more technical work and went for a Sytems Programmers job... Technical mainframe support. My PC skills are almost entirely self taught apart from some server training.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 21st February 2013 at 12:34 PM.

  5. Thanks to elsiegee40 from:

    GrumbleDook (21st February 2013)

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    witch's Avatar
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    How long have you been working in IT?
    12 years directly but prior to that was in IT recruitment and electronics engineering
    Is this your first, second, third, etc career?
    Third - see above
    What other jobs / roles have you done previously?
    I am a qualified Marine Radio Officer and worked as a test engineer for several years, and then became an electronics/computer headhunter before my career break to have children.
    How many interviews did it take to get your first job in IT?
    Depends what you mean.First job as an IT tech (third career) - two
    Have you ever felt that being female is a help or a hindrance to gaining a job in IT?
    It may have helped in the very first instance as companies were looking to improve their numbers of women but that was a very long time ago
    If you were considering IT (or other engineering / programming careers) whilst at school what support did you receive?
    None.But career advice was sadly lacking in my Bucks Grammar school. You went to University to do a trad subject or else. My three children have not had a much better experience more recently either.

  7. Thanks to witch from:

    GrumbleDook (21st February 2013)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Many thanks for the responses so far and for the PMs ...
    Keep them coming.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Many thanks for the responses so far and for the PMs ...
    ....capitalisation danger avoided.

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    arwen's Avatar
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    How long have you been working in IT? Since August 2006

    Is this your first, second, third, etc career? First

    What other jobs / roles have you done previously?
    One part time for 3 years in a wee corner shop while I was at school.

    How many interviews did it take to get your first job in IT?
    One - apprentiship post. And one for my current full time post.

    Have you ever felt that being female is a help or a hindrance to gaining a job in IT?
    Depends on the sector I think. And personally I think there is more a push for female IT supervisors/managers rather than techs.

    If you were considering IT (or other engineering / programming careers) whilst at school what support did you receive?
    I never really knew what I wanted to do at school, but I wanted to do all 3 sciences. Was told there was no way the school could accommodate that and I could only do two...
    If you want to know more (nearly a movie quote there ;-) ) I'm on gtalk all the time, just say who you are when you add me.


    Personally I dislike the whole pushing girls into science/IT professions. We don't push boys into taking up nursing or admin work.
    We also don't encourage girls to go work on construction sites for some reason...

    P.s. sorry if this edits weird... Doing it on my phone.

  11. Thanks to arwen from:

    GrumbleDook (21st February 2013)

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    How long have you been working in IT?
    Around 8 years on and off....

    Is this your first, second, third, etc career?
    I started working at a charity, went into Nurse training but left that to go back into IT...so first i suppose.

    What other jobs / roles have you done previously?
    As above, Student nurse was my only other big role. Everything else was IT based.

    How many interviews did it take to get your first job in IT?
    My first "proper" job as a tech in IT was just one, but i didn't get the job first time around, but the person who originally got it walked out. (i soon learnt why!!)

    Have you ever felt that being female is a help or a hindrance to gaining a job in IT?
    Hmm...can never say its been a hindrance. Yes i've had people come in to quote for work, look me up and down and look around for who i was with but this may also be down to how young i look! The "you don't get many women in IT" statement does get a bit boring though. Can't say i've been aware that being a female has helped me, but i'm sure if i smile sweetly it helps.

    If you were considering IT (or other engineering / programming careers) whilst at school what support did you receive?
    None really. I used to mention wanting to be an IT tech at my careers meetings but they were no help. When i asked for something IT related for Work Experience...i got sent to a local library....

    Happy to be quoted though i doubt i've said anything interesting enough
    Last edited by Little-Miss; 21st February 2013 at 05:42 PM.

  13. Thanks to Little-Miss from:

    GrumbleDook (21st February 2013)

  14. #9

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    4 ladies and 1 by proxy?! Seriously?

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    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    4 ladies and 1 by proxy?! Seriously?
    He has had some pms. It is half term so maybe the rest of the girls aren't on the boards ATM? Wasn't there a female geek group at one point?

  16. #11

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    I suppose. It worries me that the ladies might hide away....

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    He has had some pms. It is half term so maybe the rest of the girls aren't on the boards ATM? Wasn't there a female geek group at one point?
    This one I believe ... Female Techs - EduGeek.net

    If someone could post in there to this thread it would be appreciated.

    There are a number of other threads such as

    female technicians

    Ladies - What Route did any of you take to get into IT?

    Why the ...girl thing?

  18. #13

    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    done....

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    I know this thread is for the ladies but I'm bored so thought I'd throw in a musing.

    I also wanted to ask the ladies if what I'm about to say sounds sexist. Advance tip: it's really, really not meant to.

    I tend to find that the women in IT are damn good. My musing is that, sexism aside and just looking at the statistics, it's pretty much a male-dominated field. I'm inferring from that that if you want to make it in IT as a woman, you have to be really good, so the ones who do make it, are. I've seen a fair few guys who make me wonder why they're in IT... but I've never actually had cause to think that about a woman.

    Am I about to get roasted? :P

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Unless i'm missing something, i don't think that's sexist. Just an observation. Also means i'm not going to get very far lol

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