Darling, you are different…

Darling, you are different…


I am the most unhappy when I am trying to conform. ​​​​​​​​
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☹️ Finding a niche because everyone told me that I had to. ​​​​​​​​
☹️ Dressing in black, white and grey – because “pink isn’t very professional”​​​​​​​​
☹️ Getting depressed because the MBA prices are ridiculously expensive and actually don’t offer any more than I already know. ​​​​​​​​
☹️ Trying to be someone else, because someone told I am too “aggressive” “sensitive” “ambitious” !!!​​​​​​​​
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Can you relate? ​​​​​​​​
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I decided to open up to a friend of mine and explain how I have been feeling. I told her that I had my fringe cut and I hated it, I didn’t know what to wear and I wanted to do further education, but I hated doing my degree… the list went on. ​​​​​​​​
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She said “But you are different Lucy. That’s why people are drawn to you. You stand out whilst everyone blends in”​​​​​​​​
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I let that sit and percolate … I then took this to my coaching session. ​​​​​​​​
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“Can I offer you a reflection Lucy?” my coach said. ​​​​​​​​
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“Of course” I replied ​​​​​​​​
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“Have you noticed that when you are trying to conform, it has an impact on your mental health?” ​​​​​​​​
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💣 #TRUTHBOMBALERT ​​​​​​​​
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Since then, I have took stock of who ‘Lucy’ really is. And actually, being different is my USP. Being authentic, is what’s needed. ​​​​​​​​
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And by accepting and acknowledging that… I am feeling pretty darn happy. 😁​​​​​​​​
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Being a Woman in Tech isn’t always about being techie

Being a Woman in Tech isn’t always about being techie

Being a Woman in Tech doesn’t mean that we all sit in front of a screen all day, being super techie and code.

Or develop an O/S, create an app and decrypt secret messages. (Although the latter would be super cool).

And as for the coding, I wish I had that skill set or the patience. (Which is a real shame – as I have a ton of app ideas).
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👩🏻‍🏫 There is often a misconception that people, women and men, who work in tech can code, wire up a PC and fix your dishwasher (seriously?!). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Where actually being in tech can be all of the above. However, a Woman in Tech can also be about:

  • People
  • Business
  • Strategy
  • Improvement
  • Profit
  • Projects
  • Communications
  • Coaching
  • Etc.

and acronyms. Oh soooo many acronyms. 🙈

Women in Tech can have be in a role like a Software Engineer, Architect, Infrastructure Manager and Developer. Yet, can also have roles like a Project Manager, Communication Lead, Service Delivery Analyst and Incident Owner.

Being a woman in tech is multifaceted ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

There are many sides to a career in tech.

Antidote:

Stepping into the corporate world after leaving university, I have had the opportunity to work in leading industries which includes high-end retail and banking. And now in Telco! With a degree in Computing BSc, I started my career as a Junior Service Desk Analyst. At the age of 21, I was running a team of 20 male analysts. (Oh yes, there was some challenging’s). Then I worked my way up into a leadership role in Service Delivery and Process Improvement. My career has allowed me experiences in managing strategies, global teams and coaching. Additionally, I have been the founder and lead of internal female focused groups, supporting female team members to thrive – whilst aligning objectives and actions to the wider organisational goals.

Being a woman in tech, I have been the only female in the room. The pink dress, in the ocean of grey suits. I have presented to large and global groups, without prior notice. And, as cliché as this is – talked over and ignored in meetings.

Lucy Grimwade at Virgin Media O2 office, Slough.

There is no set path. Which has its pros and cons. Where one follows a route via education, another might accidently fall into the role within tech whether by chance or on purpose.

The commonality across technical and not-so-techie roles, is Leadership Skills.

Leadership vs Management

Leadership is more than being able to lead and influence a group of people. It is about how you show up, present, support and your knowledge.

Image from Article: Leadership: What Is It? via The Balance SMB

Learning and harnessing great leadership skills will enviably play a huge part in your success within your field.

Why?

By inspiring others, knowing your field and encouraging innovation, you will get more out of your colleagues and/or team whilst building great personal brand and will increase productivity as well as delivery of work.

#winning

Whether you are techie or not. Coder or Service focused. What are you going to do today to work on your leadership skills?

Fantastic Articles: Women in Tech & Coaching

Fantastic Articles: Women in Tech & Coaching

How Coaching Can Help Women Get Ahead in the Tech Industry

“Women in technology face well-known barriers to career development. Only 25% of “computing” professionals are women, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and the percentage shrinks moving up the corporate ladder. In fact, only 11% of executives at Silicon Valley tech companies are women. And the numbers for women of color are even worse.

The causes of this imbalance are many and still debated. They include bias (both conscious and unconscious), structural barriers, and organizational culture. In addition, research has found that women working in traditionally male-dominated industries and functions (like technology) have access to fewer leadership development opportunities than men in those fields.

As a result, while 80% of women in science, engineering, and technology report “loving their work,” the female attrition rate in such fields is higher than it is for men. In “high-tech” industries, they leave at more than twice the rate as men (41% compared to 17%).

What’s a talented woman to do when she feels torn between staying and leaving? What’s her organization to do to make sure she stays?”


Retaining Women in STEAM and why coaching matters: http://www.hollyburton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Talk-Outline-Retaining-Women-in-Stem-and-Why-Coaching-Matters.pdf


HOW TO REDUCE THE GENDER GAP IN THE TECH INDUSTRY WITH COACHING

“It is well known that the gender gap in tech is particularly embarrassing. With a depressing 4:1 ratio of men to women in tech, recorded by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, it is no surprise that positions of leadership in the industry are skewed in favour of men. In fact, women hold only 11% of senior positions in Silicon Valley’s tech companies, and the figures for BAME women are even more worrying…”

Attract and retain women in tech roles

Attract and retain women in tech roles

We need to attract and retain Women in IT Roles. And we need to start today!

This is the responsibility of all organisations.

Companies need to create a culture where equality is at the heart of their value system. Which means creating internal groups like Women in Tech or Diversity in Tech, to give a fair platform for their staff.

Organisations can educate themselves on diversity topics by allowing their staff to:

  • Attend and have a presence at networking events.
  • Be involved in think tanks and hackathons.
  • Invest by bringing in expert companies and people to coach their staff.

With so many resources, there really is no excuse for ignorance.

Companies need to be transparent with regards to pay, use gender neutral language on job specs and use their social media platforms to market their own women in tech forums.

Management need to support personal development. I recently read that women working in non-technical IT roles are not given the opportunity to progress into technical roles. As a result, women are leaving both the company and IT all together!

Learning and development is key to empowering teams, growing an individual and the success to an organisation. By ensuring and securing budget for training and opening channels for staff to learn technical and industry skills – this will be the start of a journey for many to follow.

We need to collaborate as diverse teams, no more HE Vs SHE

The most successful teams are of those who have a gender balance.

There is no escaping the fact that all people bring different energies to the table.

We need allies to help break down the barriers. Allies to support the journey. To walk the journey with us.

In my most recent career, I have been given many opportunities by males. I was hired by Tim. Supported by Ski. Coached by Jim and now progressed by Matt. My early career, the story was very different. From being the one who was always asked to make the tea to seeing a colleague of mine, who joined the same company, at the same time and in the same role – within our first year, he received bigger bonuses and was given better opportunities.

Women in Tech said in their article ‘The tech sector used to be stereotyped as a ‘man’s domain’, but not anymore’ – “Gone are the days when women were discouraged from pursuing a technical career. While there is still a lack of equal representation, it’s clear that it is steadily improving. A recent survey of tech professionals by Anderson Frank found that, although only a third of respondents were female, there was actually a six percent rise in the number of female participants compared to last year.

In the survey, only one in 10 of the overall respondents felt that more could be done by their employer to be an equal rights employer. And the good news is women are starting to be better represented at board level too — the data found that 66% of respondents believed there was an equal representation in the boardroom.

Bloomberg’s 2016 Pay Index also indicated that the technology boom has allowed women to be more prevalent than ever in C-level positions, with the likes of Yahoo, Xerox and IBM all being headed by female executives.”

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And, although it has been reported that the UK gender pay gap will not close until 2069, especially under current Covid-19 circumstances. The representation of women in IT and digital roles has been increasing, (as per above)… Yet, there are still generations to come to continue to fight our Women in Tech battles before we see such a diverse change.

However, if start to think outside of our boxes and we work together, I believe we could start to change the face our IT departments. Our leadership role models. And, our world.

This article was taken from my very own LinkedIn article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rise-fall-women-digital-ways-create-change-lucy-grimwade/

Learn to Code: Top 5 Free Resources

Learn to Code: Top 5 Free Resources

You know that it’s totally possible to learn to code for free? No really it is!

Here are the top 5 resources that kept appearing on my online search :

1. Codecademy

Codecademy is the perfect place for aspiring coders to start learning. This included interactive projects and quizzes that let you get the hands-on experience you need to really grasp the concepts you’re being taught. There are separate courses for each topic: you might start out with Make a Website or Learn HTML & CSS, and progress to JavaScript, SQL, and more. Codecademy also provides forums for discussion, programming language glossaries, and blog posts and articles to help you as you learn.

2. Free Code Camp

At Free Code Camp, you’ll learn powerful skills while (eventually) building real-world projects for nonprofit organizations. It’s an open-source community that provides hundreds (well, thousands) coding challenges, projects, certificates, and connections for aspiring coders–and it’s not a boot camp, so you learn at your own pace. It’s all free, and through it you can even get connected to other up-and-coming coders in your city.

3. Codewars

Programming meets martial arts at Codewars, a coding “dojo” where you’ll practice “kata” challenges to sharpen your skills. As you progress through the ranks, you’ll be faced with more complex challenges, and have the chance to discuss your solutions with others in the community. Eventually, you can even create your own kata and challenge others to solve them.

4. edX

Learn from the best (like MIT and Harvard) through this open-source higher education community. You’ll find a wide range of computer science courses, and unlike with traditional college, you can learn at your own pace. Note that while the courses themselves are free, you must pay if you’d like a verified certificate (price varies from course to course but is typically $50-$90). When you’re ready to level up even more, edX also features unique “MicroMasters” programs consisting of a series of graduate-level courses that will definitely impress employers.

5. MIT OpenCourseware

This education platform essentially allows you to attend MIT for free. Their online library includes every topic taught at the school; computer science courses can be found under the School of Engineering (grouped together with electrical engineering). Going through this material will require lots of discipline, since the homework, tests, etc. will all need to be self-administered and self-graded. Still, they’re impressive courses to have under your belt.

All information was sourced from here* https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurencebradford/2016/08/02/learn-to-code-for-free/?sh=1aac7e8d1a1b

How to prevent women leaving their careers in tech?

How to prevent women leaving their careers in tech?

There has been many times in my career where I have looked for the ‘get out’ clause whilst working in tech.

However it wasn’t the tasks of the job, more of the lack of support around them. In some cases sexism and disrespect. Comments thrown at me about my image, clothes that I wore and asking inappropriate questions about my personal life.

But, what I struggled with the most was the unachievable objectives and constant pressure to prove myself being the only female in the team.

No-one had prepared me for this.

Why was this happening?

Was I the only one?

And what could I do now to make change?

So, I did my research. I wanted to really understand the cause and effect of the hard truths that women tend to face pursuing their career in tech. And how we can start to change the face of women in tech leadership.

Now this article isn’t all doom and gloom, although you do need to know the facts.

This is an article, that despite, once upon a time a hiring male manager asked me if I had kids, was planning to have kids and is being in tech really for me…

I still succeeded and I am proud of being a woman in tech. Here is how we can all make change, to make the industry more desirable and retain our superstars.

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Now, let’s start with the stats

And goodness, they say it all.

3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice. *

5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women. *

50% of women leave their tech careers at the age of 35. **

“I left because the environment did not support me as a woman of color nor as a professional. I was intentionally left off of emails that were critical to doing my job, talked over in meetings, talked down to, and excluded from social events.”**

“The majority of women who stay in tech (73%) said they considered leaving their tech careers at some point because of limited opportunity for advancement (27%), unfair compensation compared with male peers (25%), and little support of management (22%), the report found.” ***

The more articles I read, the four common themes kept resurfacing.

  • Gender pay gap
  • Discrimination
  • Lack of opportunities
  • Tech jobs are not desirable.

To me it is clear.

The cause and effect are:

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Why?

Why is the cause happening? I sat and pondered what I wanted to write here. Do I do a 5 whys exercise? Or Do I just say it how it is?

I decided to say it how it is.

Misogyny. The outdated views of society and unachievable objectives we put on women and ourselves.

How do we prevent women leaving their careers in tech?

Early part of last year I wrote a LinkedIn article about the rise and fall of Women in Tech. Since then I have been thinking more about what prevented me from leaving and what would prevent others.

Here are my thoughts:

Create better cultures

This is the responsibility of all organisations and their people.

Companies need to create a culture where equality is at the heart of their value system. Which means creating internal groups like Women in Tech or Diversity in Tech, to give a fair platform for their staff.

This isn’t a tick box exercise. Ensure those groups have funding as well as the capacity to support.

Organisations can educate themselves on diversity topics by allowing their staff to:

  • Attend and have a presence at networking events.
  • Be involved in think tanks and hackathons.
  • Invest by bringing in expert companies and people to coach their staff.

With so many resources, there really is no excuse for ignorance.

Companies need to be transparent with regards to pay, use gender neutral language on job specs and use their social media platforms to market their own women in tech forums.

And Management… they need to become leader and support personal and professional development. Learning and development is key to empowering teams, growing an individual and the success to an organisation. By ensuring and securing budget for training and opening channels for staff to learn technical and industry skills – this will be the start of a journey for many to follow.

Servant Leadership

A servant leader focuses first on the growth and well-being of their employees, as a means of achieving success for customers, shareholders, and themselves. 

This is an employee centric model, that is in place across many tech-related firms.

Traditional leadersNext Gen servant leaders
Sets the destination through command and control, i.e., “Do this”Sets the direction through inspiring and empowering, i.e., “What could you try to do this?”
Managers are in charge of teamsManagers are in charge of removing barriers for teams
Delegates the daily work – acts as a team manager/coachDoes the daily work – acts as a team player
Sees employees as resources and headcountSees employees as people and thought partners
Measures success through outputMeasures success through value creation
Measures productivity by utilisation – people on the team have to be 100% allocated and utilised at all timesMeasures productivity by flow – people in teams have to go where the work and demand is to make sure we achieve pace with the model, they also set aside time to think

No more mythical training budgets

Seriously though.

I recently read that women working in non-technical IT roles are not given the opportunity to progress into technical roles. As a result, women are leaving both the company and IT all together!

So TRAIN YOUR FEMALE STAFF MEMBERS!

To conclude

The representation of women in tech roles has been increasing. Yet, there are still generations to come to continue to fight our Women in Tech battles before we see such a diverse change.

However, if start to think outside of our boxes and we work together, I believe we could start to change the face our IT departments. Our leadership role models. And, our world.

Resources:

*PWC Women in Tech Time to close the gender gap

**19 Women shared why they are quitting their tech jobs

*** Why more than half of women leave the tech industry?


About me!