We interviewed Jan Taylor, Vice President – Service at Park Place Technologies on her thoughts and experiences on women in tech.
As an Area Vice President overseeing the Technical Field Service Engineers in my region, I manage and oversee client, employee, budget, and operational parameters. I work for Park Place Technologies who simplifies the management of complex technology environment and drives Uptime for IT infrastructures worldwide. We do it through a unique and fully integrated approach called D.M.S.O. (Discover, Monitor, Support, Optimize) that works across the entire IT infrastructure including cloud computing environments. This combination of integrated management, across multiple layers, streamlines operations and delivers the agility needed to support today’s complex business. The company was founded in 1991, and its global reach supports over 21,500 clients across 110,000+ data centers in over 154 countries.
I’ve always enjoyed general operations and strategic planning. Both strategic planning and general operations can be enhanced with technological automation. As I found needs to improve performance and production, I would offer recommendations, assisted by a solution architect to identify, define, and find technological solutions to enhance the operations. In a data research company, I wanted to find a way to eliminate paper surveys so that we could manage the data in a faster, more efficient way. By creating online forms to use and the programming behind it, we were able to have the survey information captured directly in the computer and the data was immediately available for the research analysts to supply in a comprehensive report to the customer. Additionally, back in the day, inventory of service parts was done manually – pick one up, mark a list on paper with quantity, and submit these sheets to the accounting firm. I researched and found inventory scanners to use that connected software on a computer and with a bleep of a scanner, our inventory was input directly into the computer and the accounting firms had the figures at their immediate fingertips. While automation can be done on a grand scale, there are lots of little ways that increase production too, save costs for a company, and ignites the interest to automate more as a person and team.
It wasn’t until my first year at University that I took my first course in Programming. Prior to that, computer courses just started and only boys were given the opportunity to take the courses. Girls were only given the opportunity take a Home Education courses to learn how to cook, sew, or maintain a house.
I have an Accounting Degree, and I have seen the evolution of accounting software, which allowed the change from ledger paper calculations to automation. I was fortunate enough to once work for a company that had a call centre that took orders on paper. I was able to assist in the automation to computers.
The default thought is that women would do well in Health Industry roles, Customer Service or Hospitality Industry positions, or as Teachers. Positions where a female role would sooth and care for others and young girls see mainly only those type of roles naturally due to the low number of females in IT. While the statistics are increasing to create role models over time, there has not been many females in this sector.
IT and Technology, particularly management, is primarily men, which creates challenges for women to join into the field and to advance. Many women may have an interest in starter IT/Tech roles but get too frustrated from the heavily male -focused industry and their perceived inability to have a chance at promotion or other opportunities.
Having woman role models or teachers would help during the promotion of IT or Technology in school job fairs when the girls are young. IT/Technology companies need to promote that not all jobs in IT/Technology are long hours which also steer women away from entertaining this job market as they also may have an interest on having a family someday. Educating girls early on opportunity would help create a more inviting environment.
Job flexibility is important as women may wish to have a family but hear of long hours in the IT/Technology field. And, as women are promoted into higher positions in the primarily male-dominated field, the opportunity for advancement becomes more enticing.
Promote and offer Mentorship Programs and promote work schedule flexibility. Mentorship and internships programs will allow women to feel more comfortable joining a field they hear is long hours and male dominated. An internship would provide a comfort zone to try the field. And flexible scheduling allows women to know it could work well with family hopes for the future.
IT and Technology is a great, growing field for girls and there is much opportunity for advancement. There are a lot of different positions in IT and Technology that could fit what you like to do. Learn what you enjoy doing, ask questions and see what type of jobs in this industry fit your skills, Ask. Learn. Decide. You can be anything you want to be as the world of IT and Technology is open for all women!