It’s National Careers Week 2021 and to celebrate we’re highlighting women in industry and their unique journeys.
Is your phone constantly in your hand? Do you shop, bank, and communicate online? COVID-19 has resulted in more people being online, for longer periods of time, than ever before. Shopping online, home schooling, working from home, accessing services, Zooming family and friends around the world, the benefits of 24/7 connectivity are far-reaching and benefit us in many different ways. Despite utilising the digital world in our every day lives, Women make up just 19% of tech sector jobs.
Charlotte Guerin is a Senior Manager in Risk Analytics. Here she tells us why careers in tech are more creative than you think and who inspires her ongoing journey.
“Without a doubt, solving problems for our clients is my favourite part of my role. People often say that IT and technology is not for creative people, I’m a strong believer that is false. I loved to create and fix things growing up and if we were to strip back what my role involves, you’d find the same things! Just using code instead of some sticky back plastic and a fairy liquid bottle!
While Charlotte was a dab hand with the arts and crafts as a youngster and knew she wanted to study business at university, her career path was far from set in stone. She explains: “I did a 4-year business degree at LJMU, part of my degree required me to undertake a placement year. Not really knowing what I wanted to do, I applied for numerous varied roles from PR through to HR.
“I was fortunate enough to secure a 12-month placement with credit card company in their credit risk acquisition team, it was there that a found a real interest in coding and analytics. From there I ended up on a graduate scheme with a bank, using the analytical skills I’d gathered fast forward a few years and 6 years ago I made the move to consulting. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with some great clients and to spend time up-skilling and really learning about technology development.”
A career in technology has provided Charlotte with opportunities to continue learning and gain new skills with each project.
“It’s 14 years since I graduated and the speed at which technology has changed has been incredible, I would encourage everyone to keep on reading and learning. I always look for roles and projects that stretch me and keep me on my toes. I’m currently taking my AWS cloud certification in my spare time. My more recent programmes have included helping to design and build a banking app using cloud technology and looking at how we can use artificial Intelligence and machine learning to improve customer experience in lending journeys, a far cry from what I started doing 14 years ago!”
There has been a real buzz about more women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in recent years, with more pathways opening and large companies addressing inequality of opportunities.
A report by Tech Nation found that women are still underrepresented in the tech industry. Just 22% of tech directors are women, 13% of directors in the ‘computer gaming ‘sub sector are women, and overall women make up 19% of all tech jobs.
Charlotte said: “Without a doubt there are gender disparity issues across technology and especially within financial services. Work is being doing to address the issue, but it takes time for the change to be seen. Nearly every team I’ve worked in over my career has been 80-85% men, IT was never something anyone really talked about as a career choice.
“My degree wasn’t technical, there was a stereotype of what someone in technology was like 10 years ago. Only in the last 2-3 years have I started to see women in technical roles which is fantastic and shows the hard work to change those assumptions is paying off.
“We’re a digitally driven society, we want access to everything instantly, we expect it. The interest in technology and coding and the accessibility of courses have exploded in the last few years which has supported the widening of opportunities for everyone. I also believe it’s incredibly important that large organisations actively address the disparity where they see it. The majority of large firms have inclusivity and diversity as a key target, they recognise how valuable and important it is.”
When it comes to inspiring the next generation of women and girls in tech, Charlotte is a champion of teamwork and amplifying the voices and achievements of women who made history and paved the way for her.
“I am fortunate to work with a great mix of people who all bring a different perspective to a problem or challenge. If you are looking for some inspirational female programmers, read up on Anita Borg, Hedy Lamarr and The Women of ENIAC. You can’t help but feel inspired.”
If you’re considering a career in technology or you want to find out more about jobs within the industry, Charlotte’s advice is simple, don’t be afraid to reach out.
“Talk to people, find out about the wide variety of roles in the industry. Even if you think you haven’t got the right experience, it’s all about taking that first step.”