New year, new tech career
Want to make the move into the technology sector but not sure where to start? Two women at Sky tell us how they took the leap
Two leading gurus at Sky give their tips on how to break into tech
EMMA HORTON, 27, ASSOCIATE SOFTWARE DEVELOPER
When I graduated in 2010 with a film and drama degree, I never imagined
I’d end up working in technology.
In 2012, I moved to London, seeking a job in media production, and joined Sky as a media researcher – preparing images of Sky’s programmes to send to journalists. I was thrilled.
After two years, Sky decided to create an ‘asset management system’, so users could download their own pictures. I was asked to advise on what tools the system should have. The buzz of experiencing something new was infectious and I became curious, asking questions about how the new system worked. A career in technology had never occurred to me, but after the system launched in 2015 I missed the technical side of things.
By chance, I stumbled across an advert for Sky’s ‘Get Into Tech’ scheme, a free training course open to internal and external women with little or no tech background. That moment changed my life. I was accepted, and every Thursday evening for 14 weeks, 12 of us on the course would focus on software and coding. It was hard work, but the rush of solving problems became addictive.
When the course finished, I’d put so much of myself into it that I couldn’t let my work go to waste. Course graduates were invited to apply for a position in technology as part of Sky’s software academy, so I jumped at the chance.
The application process involved completing a three-day test. When I cracked it, I felt euphoric! After an assessment day, I was offered a place in October 2016. Now I’m a full-time trainee developer on the academy’s five-month programme, after which I’ll be given a job in a real team.
Before Get Into Tech, I’d never thought about the people behind my favourite websites, but there are so many jobs in technology. It’s a career for life. I also feel empowered to be part of a new generation of female developers entering the industry. Changing careers has been overwhelming at times, but I still pinch myself when I think about the journey I’ve been on.
REINU KANDA, 30, SCRUM MASTER (TEAM MANAGER)
I was made redundant from my job securing loans at a bank during the 2008 recession. I needed another role – fast – so got a job as a sales agent in Sky’s call centre.
I loved Sky, but wanted to work on larger projects. My manager encouraged me to apply for a secondment vacancy, equipping sales agents with ipads. I got the position and gained insight into technology. When the secondment finished, I returned to the call centre but I was passionate about developing my career in tech.
Then, in 2013, a technology manager offered me a job. I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’d worked on the ipad project from start to finish, but the new role was in ‘agile’ technology. Despite my inexperience, I knew I had to go for it.
As a scrum master, I manage a team of developers and testers who plan, build and test parts of products before submitting them to production. At first, I felt like an imposter because I didn’t understand the jargon.
But when we began to deliver projects quickly, and my understanding of technical terms grew, I felt a real sense of satisfaction. Now, I’m the only woman managing a team of 17 men. At the start it was more intimidating because I knew so much less, but the team could see I wanted to learn, and do well. If they said things I didn’t understand, I’d make a note and research it. Slowly but surely, I built credibility, and now I can’t imagine working anywhere else. You don’t need a tech background to pursue a career in the industry. Women shouldn’t be intimidated: jump in – you’ll soon learn to swim.