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

Red - - CONTENTS -

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.

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