IT is an evolving industry and it looks a little different than it did ten years ago, with the digital age demanding the need for new technologies, innovative minds, and more staff to keep it all running. But it is not just the nuts and bolts of IT that are changing- the face of IT is different too. What was once a male-dominated industry, IT is now a hot career choice for many women. But why choose a career in IT? We ask some successful women in IT about what made them choose a life in the fast-paced world of 404’s, coding, and the world wide web.
Sarah Wahjudi from Nerd Digital:
I actually ended up in IT sort of by accident.
I had trained in tourism and was working for a travel company when I decided I needed a sea change, and a local web development agency was looking for an entry-level employee.
I’d always been good with computers and spent a lot of my spare time playing video games so while I wasn’t formally trained, I knew it was something I could learn. I was also keen because I knew that the IT industry was one which had plenty of opportunities in an around the city from previous job searches.
I worked my way up to Project Manager, Director and I recently left big business to start my own venture helping small businesses get established online.
Shannon Tresider, Software Development Manager at MYOB
Initially, working in an environment with different people, skills and on complex problems is what attracted me to IT.
It wasn’t until a few years in, when I started to actively work on MYOB’s Cloud Computing strategy that I began to really develop an interest in our technology and in particular how everything hangs together.
Understanding and interpreting customer problems, how we build and test stuff to make something that produces customer value is where I found my calling and continues to challenge my thoughts on a daily basis.
It’s funny that our natural stereotype of IT people is quiet and introverted, but for me, it’s the total opposite! As a naturally loud, energetic and extroverted type person, the complex, fast pace and diverse group of people I work with on a daily basis are where I draw my inspiration from. I absolutely contribute my growth, personally and professionally to the abundance of opportunities in this space and love being a part of making and shaping the future of our industry.
Fiona Adler, founder of Actioned.com
I’ve worked in IT for 20+ years now – first building an IT services business, then an online reviews platform, and now a productivity app – so I feel qualified to respond!
I love the field of IT and using technology to create tools that help people connect, share information or get more leverage from their work. It may surprise people, but I view IT as a very creative field – where you can conceptualize new ideas and better ways of doing things. Sometimes I almost feel like I’m an inventor of sorts!
Harriet Mellor, Senior Business Development Manager, MSS IT Perth
I kind of fell into IT, to be honest. I was an events organizer and was offered a job as a PA and events manager at a data hosting company in Manchester. I organized internal staff events and external customer events along with our sports sponsorships but was moved around to help with project management. This meant I had to learn pretty quickly all about data centers, servers, and co-location.
Finding that I had a knack for picking up the tech side of things, I then took to running the inductions and as we set a huge target to grow the business and ended up looking after the partner program, educating end users and working with them to grow their business using our services.
I moved to Perth from Manchester and took an account management role with a small IT reseller. I soon advanced my career with a new role at leading managed services provider MSS IT, where I have been able to really find my potential and work with some incredible people and businesses. I have built a great network and continue to learn every day about this ever-changing world of technology!
I have to say that working with the inspirational team at UKFast and having a great teacher like their CEO, Lawrence gave me full reign to learn and develop, bringing my own flavor to a traditionally male-dominated environment. I have now found that again working with MSS – our Sales Director Kelly gives me the same working environment to thrive in, and I couldn’t be happier in my current role.
Sandra Scott Director of Customer Growth, Agencies at Bonzai
Choosing to work in the advertising technology industry was something of a slow burn for me.
Having spent over a decade on the traditional publishing side of media sales in Fairfax, I saw how technology was quickly evolving and making a huge impact on the industry. So the move to ‘ad-tech’ was something I felt I should be doing to future-proof my career – and also something I feared would pass me by if I didn’t take a deep breath and launch myself into the exciting unknown.
And so I did! A mere 83 days ago in fact!
I changed tack and embarked on a journey at Bonzai, a creative management platform that develops creative software platforms to enable advertisers design, serve, and analyze their cross-screen digital campaigns, at scale.
I’ve gone from working on the ‘fluffy’ side of media to navigating my way around
the world of rich media creative production, data-driven creative, programmatic buying, and more acronyms than you can shake a stick at.
Oh and the acronyms! DDC, SSP, PMP, DMP, CTV, SDK, DSP, PSD, SAAS…. in my first week I started keeping a glossary just to keep on top of it all!*
With technology, I’ve had to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. All of the time.
But during the last 3 months, something radical has shifted for me. My move to ad-tech was prompted out of a fear, but it’s very quickly turning into a curiosity: Where is this industry taking us? And how is technology enabling change in our fast-evolving industry?
Gill Walker ,CEO of Opsis
I got into the IT field by accident. My first degree was in Experimental Pathology, and as I worked in the medical field, I realized my strength was in educating.
My love of learning and education lead me to complete a teaching qualification which was followed by a training role with an IT company, and then I set up my own training company. I was then offered a pivotal role – leading the training on two different CRM solutions across Europe for Microsoft.
This led to me being headhunted to come to Australia to join a growing consultancy, and in 2004 I founded my own CRM company, Opsis. I love the wide range of tasks the IT field offers because it means every day is completely different. I also love mentoring and training, and I really enjoy seeing successes with my methods.
If you find these women’s stories inspiring and would like to kickstart your career in IT, BizCover is offering a $2000 scholarship to assist female IT students in their final year of study which also includes a paid three-month work placement program. You can find out more about this fantastic opportunity here.