We interviewed Jenny Lu, Data Science Graduate at IAG Tech on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
I am on a Data Science Graduate Programme with IAG Tech where I rotate through IAG’s operating companies to learn and apply data science techniques. Currently, I am on a data visualisation rotation with British Airways using SQL and Tableau to create high-level dashboards.
During my time at university, I gained an interest in coding and data analysis, and towards the end of my degree I knew I wanted to go into data science. I wanted to do a Master’s in data science, but this was during the start of the pandemic, so it was not ideal. Instead, I took online data science courses, and enjoyed them so much, sealing the deal for my journey into a data science career. Having also read books about data such as Data Strategy and Big Data by Bernard Marr allowed me to gain more insight into the world of tech and how leading companies are leveraging data to their advantage.
Throughout GCSE and A-Level I did not study any IT/technology related subjects as I did not intend to go into tech. I studied Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics at A-Level and then went on to study Mathematics at Queen Mary University London. My first experience with a technology related subject was at university, I had taken a Data Analytics with Excel module and I completely fell in love with the idea of using IT/technology to gain insight – I couldn’t believe how much you could do with Excel! This sparked my interest into taking more coding related modules where I learnt how to code in R, Python, C & C++. Outside of university I also took part in various course. In my first year I took part in an eight-week coding course with ‘Code First: Girls’ where like-minded women interested in coding came together to learn web development using HTML and CSS. During my final year, in the midst of the pandemic, I learnt how to code in SQL and use data visualisation tools such as Tableau and Power BI, as my interests for data science grew.
Yes – During my second year of university, I briefly worked as a consultant for a technology company where I worked on a project to help with the company’s outreach. After university I worked as a data analyst for a spend analytics company on the product development team.
Yes – although the gender gap is narrowing, it is very slow.
Generally, yes, there are more men in IT/technology-related careers than women. When you enter a room or meeting, you are most likely to see a gender imbalance or be the only woman, but this doesn’t mean that a career in IT or tech is just for men.
I think this should start at a young age for young girls to be shown that there are plenty of STEM subjects and careers out there. It would really help with seeing more case studies from women in IT/technology careers.
In my eyes, not seeing enough women in senior positions in IT/technology indicates there are some sort of barriers. IT/technology being such a male-dominated field is already a barrier itself.
There are plenty of organisations that really promote women in tech and women in STEM such as ‘STEM Women, Target Jobs: IT’s not just for the boys!’ and ‘Code First: Girls’ where they host fantastic events and workshops in a comfortable environment for like-minded women. Attending events like these really helped fight those gender stereotypes and brought the opportunity to network with people just like you. Seeing more women being recognised for the work they do in tech does highlight the importance of women in technology and the impact that they have.
There will be challenges in life, but life doesn’t throw you challenges you can’t handle. Be resilient and keep persevering. A career in tech is super exciting, fun, and rewarding!