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Women in IT


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#1 Seven of Nine

Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:28 PM

I'm thinking of retraining and going into IT and I'd love to hear from other women who work in the area.

I learnt to code in python last year and I fell in love with finding solutions to technical problems. I've always been maths/science/logic inclined, but never into tech. I have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field and I've been working on and off in various local people based roles since having my children.

I'm a mother to a large family and we live well over an hour from the CBD. Am I crazy for considering IT? Is part-time work even possible? Is everything good based in the CBD? IT seems to be a man's world at the moment.

Edited by Seven of Nine, 22 February 2019 - 07:29 PM.


#2 ButterflyNow

Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:40 PM

Hi - how technical were you thinking? I am working currently as a data scientist, I use python a fair bit, and use a fair bit of maths/stats. It's a great mix of technical work plus getting to work with non technical stakeholders to solve their problems.i really love it.
I find it is male dominated overall but their are pockets where it isn't.
I actually currently work part time , I find it works well for that because my work is quite independent.
Feel free to pm me if you would like more info.

#3 Contrebasse

Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:52 PM

I work 4 days a week in a digital product/strategy role at a tech firm. I love it! Tech companies (think Seek, REA, Atlassian) are often pretty lifestyle oriented - casual clothes, flexible hours, working from home etc.

They tend to hire people with at least 2-3 years’ experience though - so you’d probably need to establish your skills first (not sure how easy it is to get jobs as a mature age graduate).

#4 lizzzard

Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:54 PM

I’m not in IT myself but I work in a shared workspace and the guys next to me are IT recruiters. There seems to be a lot of contract roles, and roles with at least some flexibility to work from home sometimes. They have plenty of roles and not enough good candidates apparently, which would imply its a good field to expire at least!

#5 Seven of Nine

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:06 PM

Thanks for your replies. I don't want to go through the work involved in retraining if I can't get reasonable work at the end of it. I just don't think I can cope with full-time work for at least another 15 years...

#6 laridae

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:17 PM

I work in IT. Government IT. I work part time, currently 3 days a week,  but there are others that work school hours, or other days  combinations (men and women). Lots of part timers and (within reason) very flexible.
I work in the CBD of a capital city, but others work in other smaller cities around the state.

I'm a database administrator, so I look after the SQL servers. It doesn't normally involve programming, but I do some scripting. We do have programmers though.

I don't think it strictly necessary to retrain either. We have ex-teachers, an ex-marine biologist, ex-HR consultant, ex-finance people, admin people and all other sorts of people who have migrated into IT roles- though generally they've already been involved with administrating an application which has migrated into IT then they've taken on other roles.

#7 YumChaTheSecond

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:30 PM

I work in IT. Even as a BA or PM you get to work on fun technical problem solving.

There are definitely more men that women (think meetings where you look around and are the only woman) but that doesn't really negatively impact me in terms of actual behaviour ie. it's not like there's locker room talk situations etc. I tend to find the infrastructure space particularly so, but there seem to be a huge volume of jobs in that area if you're interested in it.

Definitely apply to graduate programs if you can, and consulting firms eg. Accenture as other businesses outsource to them so there'll always be jobs there. Part time I'm not sure about, but there is definitely flexibility in terms of working from home.

Not everything is based in the CBD. Currently I wish that I was! Most larger businesses will have an IT department.

ETA you could do some open universities/ coursera courses online before leaving your current job. I think experience and skills count more than having a specific university degree. I didn't do a Comp Sci degree, I did a BA.

Edited by YumChaTheSecond, 22 February 2019 - 08:35 PM.


#8 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:31 PM

Waves :)
I have a pretty diverse (random) role - database admin, website support, application support type stuff (which involves a bit of sql and coding).
I really enjoy it most of the time.
Im part time 4 days over 5 but was initially full time.  Im in the Adelaide CBD. When I used to live in Sydney I remember IT roles being in places like Ryde, Paramatta etc.

There are a lot of different fields of IT and lots of different job options. Security is another possibility or GIS systems. You sound like you have the right aptitude and would really enjoy it.

Good Luck.

#9 AsperHacker

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:37 PM

.

Edited by AsperHacker, 23 February 2019 - 01:43 PM.


#10 Madeline's Mum

Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:42 PM

I work in IT in a fairly senior position, I have great flexibility. I work full time, 2 of those working from home. I also encourage flexibility in my team, I have a woman who works 3 days per week (returning from mat leave) and another who works FT but 1 day from home.

It is definitely a more male dominated industry, however the tide is turning. I find the men who question my ability to lead and deliver just because I am somewhat young and a woman more of an issue than anything else. There are some seriously out dated sexist men out there in the workforce! However, I have also never struggled to find work in this industry :)

#11 nom_de_plume

Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:29 PM

I am a Project Manager but more than half of my projects have had an IT component (SaaS, data management, hardware/server upgrades/decommissioning). My previous role sat within the ICT department.

I would say about 30% of the people I come across in IT are female. It is a traditionally male dominated field, but that is changing. Being a technical field, I find where females have the edge is that they tend to have better communication skills than males.

Not all positions are located in the city. Most of the large tech firms are located in the CBD but most large employers (government departments, universities and health services for example), have a dedicated IT department.

It is an area open to flexibility - part-time and working remotely generally seems supported. It can also involve a lot of travel if your employer covers a large geographic area. In this day and age (24/7 society) it often involves out of hours and on-call availability for technical support, system outages and server maintenance/upgrades.

#12 jayskette

Posted 23 February 2019 - 11:52 AM

i am currently doing an application deploy, after hours, in an empty IT Operations office and decided to read the names on the 200+ desks. only 5 female names. Fortunately I always have gotten along with males better than females. At least I have come a long way from the first FT IT job where I was presenting my first project with me as the lead, and the bigwigs came in and asked me to do their coffee.

#13 j-gray

Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:39 PM

Up until late last year I was in a senior leadership role in tech. It is hard to find good developers, and an extremely low percentage of applicants are women (in the roles I hired, maybe 5%). Big companies especially are very focused on diversity and inclusion, and are way more amenable to flex working than they used to be.

Now is a great time to move into tech. Python is also in fairly high demand because of the drive to automate hardware related processes. But yes you'd be going back to square one and would need to demonstrate desire to learn and be happy to do 'boring' coding for a while.

Have a look at 'code like a girl', and 'nodegirls'. Great for networking and many big employers are sponsors now. Worth going to their events.

I would also suggest you get as much into your github as you can. It will form a big part of your CV.

Good luck !

#14 Orangecake

Posted 23 February 2019 - 01:29 PM

I've worked in the IT industry for around 15 years and think its great. It pays well, there are a lot of opportunities and its reasonably easy to enter.  

The work culture will depend on the company you work for. I work for a tech company, and as PP said, its pretty lifestyle focussed. We have casual dress, flexible work and many perks to attract the right people. I have worked part-time since having kids but we have also hired a number of people at 4 days a week on request. Having said that, when its busy I do work longer hours, but generally from home when kids are in bed.

There's a broad range of roles from business facing to pure technical. I currently work as a business analyst, and I enjoy the mix of business and technical tasks. What is you current industry/experience? Can you transfer skills, e.g. project management? It is still hard to find good people to hire.

IT is still a very male dominated industry, there would be around 10% women at my work, which is not unusual. Like PP, I'll often be the only woman in meetings, but its not something I really think about. I work with some lovely people and have the normal chats about kids, cooking, holidays etc. The downside would be it can take a lot of time to stay up to date with new technology and frameworks if you're in a tech role.

Edited by Orangecake, 23 February 2019 - 01:31 PM.


#15 Seven of Nine

Posted 23 February 2019 - 04:28 PM

Thanks everyone for your posts. So much support and advice!

As for working with men, my main concern is just that unlike many men in IT I don't have a wife at home. My DH is a good man, but he's no wife.

#16 Contrebasse

Posted 23 February 2019 - 04:37 PM

Plenty of men in IT don’t have a wife at home :-p
Some seem to be married to their favourite video game!

#17 Teds

Posted 23 February 2019 - 05:47 PM

I work in an admin role in IT and many IT depts or companies are crying out for women with the right skills to join. This is to address the gender gap, and to get a females perspective too. I enjoy working in a fairly male environment, and recommend enjoyong this to go into the industry too. Look out for meet-up groups like Women who Code, go to some of those and ask around. This will give a great, and free, insight directly into the industry.

#18 HamsterPower

Posted 23 February 2019 - 06:33 PM

I have been in the IT industry for over 20 years now and have seen many changes over this time. That would be my "warning" to you, the technology will continue to change and what is in demand now will likely be overtaken by a new and improved tech and this cycle continues. From what I have witnessed, the techos who handle this best are those with good general skills who can drill down into tech but still display good people skills, written skills and understanding of methodologies and projects.

The demand for skills differs greatly depending on location also with an increasing number of support and programming roles continuing to be automated or sent to low cost centres off shore. If you can work for companies delivering govt projects, (and requiring security clearance), this can add significant protection to your role- and prove more lucrative.

Your biggest challenge would be getting that first role as I must admit we don't tend to take chances on people with no experience unless it is help desk or the grad program.

Sadly, I also can assure you sexism is alive and well in the industry and I resigned from my last role mainly for this reason. I am accustomed to being the only female in the mgmt team but the behaviour I witnessed and was subjected to was simply appalling.  Unfortunately it was ingrained all the way to the CEO so I saw no choice but to leave the company. I wasn't the first, including many good men who left as they refused to accept that culture.
This was not a small company either and I was a strong person in a senior role so I shudder to think how more junior women fared :-( . It was like a step back in time but this company still proudly proclaims its diversity ....

I am fortunately currently fielding some great offers elsewhere, but to be honest I am more impacted by that experience than I probably realised and struggling to see the clear picture through the recruitment spin.

Look to network locally and talk to lots of women and men in the field you are interested in, especially managers , to see what they think.  This networking will also help you land that first role. Good luck - it is mostly a great industry if you can find the right spot for you!

Edited by HamsterPower, 23 February 2019 - 06:34 PM.


#19 Octopodes

Posted 23 February 2019 - 07:07 PM

DH works in IT. There is a big push to get more women into the industry because they realise how unbalanced the gender percentages are. There's lots of flexibility and part time options.

I am looking at maybe retraining into the field myself, but with a focus on user experience (UX) instead of as a programmer. I'm undecided about whether I can deal with the self-centredness of the industry as a whole, it is very inward facing.

Tech moves quickly, you need to be constantly upskilling as a dev or you find yourself left behind.

Edited by Octopodes, 23 February 2019 - 07:09 PM.


#20 Orangecake

Posted 23 February 2019 - 07:28 PM

View PostSeven of Nine, on 23 February 2019 - 04:28 PM, said:


As for working with men, my main concern is just that unlike many men in IT I don't have a wife at home. My DH is a good man, but he's no wife.

Some of the guys I work with do have a stay at home partner, but most don't. Many have partners in corporate roles, so do their share of school/daycare pickups, carers days etc. Once again, it will depend on the type of organisation you work for and their culture.

#21 JRA

Posted 23 February 2019 - 07:40 PM

I have worked in IT since 1986 - I did a Computer Science degree prior to that. Yes, I am old.

IT is such a big area, it is not one thing.

I don't see IT as a man's world at all, although, yes, I have worked with lots of men.

Currently my main work is giving courses to consultants, not end user training, for a corporate software type package. But I started life in IT as a COBOL programmer, have been a system manager (back when it was hands on stuff), pre-sales, consulting, business development, and training, and everything in between.

I work 'as I want'.   So have worked part time since 2006.  A lot of my time has also been spent going from one customer to another, so I don't think I have worked 5 days/week at the one location since I left working in house in 93.

I have worked with lots of people who have worked part time over the past 20 years. Prior to that, less so.

#22 Bam1

Posted 23 February 2019 - 07:58 PM

View PostSeven of Nine, on 23 February 2019 - 04:28 PM, said:

As for working with men, my main concern is just that unlike many men in IT I don't have a wife at home. My DH is a good man, but he's no wife.

I work in IT and don't need a wife - my DH is a good man as well as a good husband.

Fortunately I work for a modern firm and this notion that you need a wife and the husband gets a pass is a notion that wouldn't get much traction there.

#23 JRA

Posted 23 February 2019 - 08:59 PM

Quote

Fortunately I work for a modern firm and this notion that you need a wife and the husband gets a pass is a notion that wouldn't get much traction there.

I agree. The environment has changed.

#24 Contrebasse

Posted 23 February 2019 - 09:59 PM

It is very common at my company for men to take 3 months leave as the primary carer, which sets up a great culture where men take responsibility for school pickup, looking after sick kids etc.

#25 TheWanderer

Posted 23 February 2019 - 11:05 PM

View PostSeven of Nine, on 22 February 2019 - 07:28 PM, said:

I learnt to code in python last year and I fell in love with finding solutions to technical problems. I've always been maths/science/logic inclined,

Sorry not a woman in IT so tell me to bugger off if you like... From what I quoted, have you looked into data science?  No shortage of opportunities popping up and domain knowledge in other fields can be very useful.   It's never been my field of expertise but I wanted to understand the basics so I did this class and found it very interesting.  https://www.udemy.com/datascience/




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