We interviewed Edel Owen, Head of Core Banking & Open Banking Architecture at Barclays on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
I head up a team of 40 Architects who are responsible for the Retail Bank’s technology platforms that support Current & Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Insurance, Payments and Customer Information. My team define the technical strategy and roadmaps to achieve the banks strategy.
My job is like a city planner providing the roadmaps and regulations that a city uses to manage its growth and provide services to its citizens. I plan and choreograph the Retail Bank’s systems to provide innovative products & services to its customers.
The Internet had just been developed and the possibilities of technology for the future seemed an exciting career choice.
I studied in Ireland and Maths was compulsory for all A-Level students. At university my primary degree was in Social Science following by a postgraduate in Computer Science. The blend proved an excellent foundation for having a technology career in the financial services industry.
I joined Barclays on their IT Graduate Programme and am still with the company as I have always found challenging roles and career growth.
As fewer girls are studying STEM subjects to A-Level and at University this places a natural limit on the talent available when it comes to recruitment into IT. My experience when speaking at Universities is girls aren’t aware of the opportunities available in this field.
At Barclays we run ‘IT Girls Allowed’ Events which are designed to demonstrate that IT and technology careers are accessible to girls, and to inspire them to consider Computer Science and ICT as a subject choice at GCSE.
Like many careers, a career in IT has stereotypes associated with it, like IT is only for young people. I am happy to say as a female after 27 years in the industry I continue to have a successful career in IT.
We need to make it known that a career in technology can be incredibly varied and rewarding, with great job prospects and personal development opportunities. You could find yourself working for almost any industry or sector. Technology professionals work in medicine, agriculture, transportation, energy, entertainment, banking and financial services to name a few as nearly all businesses and organisations rely on technology to maximise their performance.
I don’t believe there are barriers, but believe as a woman I need to support other women entering into tech and, once in, with mentoring and networking opportunities. At a conference recently I heard the term – ‘leaving footsteps for other women to follow’ which I very much endorse.
There are a number of ways: