We interviewed Neveen Elasar a DevOps Engineer at Sparta Global on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
1. What does your job role involve?
I am currently working as a DevOps Spartan (Consultant and Platform Engineer) with one of the leading insurance companies in the UK. My job involves managing, standardising and automating the organisation’s cloud platform on Amazon Web Services. This includes designing and developing solutions that ensure the consumers within the business are using the platform in a safe, governed, compliant way and following industry best practices.
2. What made you choose a career in technology?
I have always had a passion for technology, and always saw myself working in this field. I’ve tried finding jobs in tech since I was 18 but only had a diploma in computer science at the time. I have since completed multiple different courses and a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and throughout that time I’ve continued learning about many different areas in tech and my interest continued to grow. I love the never-ending possibilities for constant learning and growth in the field.
3. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at GCSE, A-Level or University?
Yes, I did. I have a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Middlesex University. I completed my degree with first class honors in 2018.
4. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?
Not directly. Before joining Sparta Global – a company that trains young people in tech skills and assigns them to work on client projects – I had a job with a company that offered IT solutions and services. This gave me some exposure and occasionally opportunities to get involved in some small tech projects. I wasn’t, however, given a tech role. Not until I completed my degree and my training with Sparta Global. I am now on my second tech role and I’m loving it!
5. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?
There is definitely a lack of females in the tech industry, there is no denying it. It’s very evident in organisations, universities, tech conferences and events. However, the gap is much less than it was a few years ago and I feel like it continues to decrease with a lot of companies being aware and conscious of the issue and actively trying to ensure there are as many opportunities for women as there are for men.
6. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?
I do occasionally meet individuals who still have that view. Unfortunately, I’ve come across people who, by default, will trust a man’s technical abilities more than a woman’s even if both have the same qualifications. This brings about challenges for women in the field and forces them to work twice as hard to prove their skills. Despite that, the idea of women having a career in IT is becoming more normalised and there are more thorough efforts and initiatives – such as Women in Tech – that continue to promote success stories and opportunities for females.
7. What would entice women to study technology related courses?
Simply having an interest and passion in any area of tech should be enough! But sometimes people need an extra push and I think seeing stories of successful and accomplished women can be a motivator too. I recently spoke at a Girls Into Coding event to help encourage and motivate girls aged 11-14 to start studying tech. I am proud to be involved in such an initiative that gives opportunities to younger girls. It’s important to start changing the ideas that ‘technology is for boys’ and make sure this is understood from a young age.
8. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?
The stereotype that it’s a career for men can be off-putting to some women, I suppose. But it’s not necessarily a barrier. I think as long as you have the knowledge, skills and persistence you can have a career in the tech industry. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of initiatives that can support women in that aspect, providing them with free coding lessons and workshops etc to help them grow their knowledge and skills in the area.
9. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?
There are plenty of events, talks and free coding lessons catered to women and more such initiatives that aim to inspire and encourage women to kick start careers in tech. I myself have been participating in such events and I’m also part of Sparta Global’s Diversity and Inclusion function. I believe people who can volunteer to help in these spaces should absolutely do so. It’s very important for women considering getting into tech, to see representation, role models and hear other women’s struggles and successes.
10. What advice would you give to young women at the start of their career?
One advice I always give is to keep learning and keep on top of all the new relevant technologies. It’s so important to keep growing your knowledge as it builds confidence and gives you credibility within your team and organisation. Use that knowledge to contribute new and innovative ideas. And don’t be afraid to speak and get in touch with other women in the industry to ask questions, get advice and even ask for mentorship.