I took part in a panel discussion at SQLBits about keys to having a successful career. There were a few questions discussed by the panellists.
Q. Tell us a bit about your education and career path to this point. Do you think it’s considered traditional?
Traditional in some senses that I have an undergraduate first class honours degree in complexity systems management, many technical certifications from the Microsoft data platform, Oracle etc and a PhD which was a study into best practices and procedures for the management of database systems. Whilst that was traditional what was not traditional was that I did all of this whilst working full time as a DBA. It is amazing the difference having these qualifications.
Q. Do you think that having a college degree is required to get a job or be successful in tech?
Yes particularly as a woman to gain respect and to show you have the knowledge.
Q. What about certifications?
I am a firm believer that you should do as many as possible to help you learn and keep up to date with technology changes.
Q. Name one skill you think every technologist should have?
Being able to communicate well is of prime importance. I guess to be methodical as well
Q. How has being part of a strong network impacted your career?
Given me confidence and somewhere to go for help. Given me courage to grow. SQLBits has been one of those places that has provided such a place for growth and expanding your mindset.
Q. What advice would you offer for someone looking to build their network?
Attend conferences, user groups, Saturday training events.
Q. What has helped you get to where you are in the industry (education, mentoring, tech skill, etc.)?
Attending every SQLBits, continued education and learning via distance learning / virtual events, community networking at these conferences.
Q. What advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?
Never give up, keep growing those technical skills, build a network
Q. Describe an example of where you've needed a mentor and how that turned out.
I've always turned to the data community, they are amazing and so will to help. I needed help with my PhD data collection and some amazing people helped share my survey worldwide.
Q. How do you keep up with advances in your field?
Attending data conferences, reading articles every week, watch on demand training. I try to learn something new every week
Q. What are the greatest challenges that you as a woman face in this industry?
Not being being invited to those top meetings to rise above the glass ceiling, gaining respect for data skills and qualifications, being talked about but not included and finding that ally to help.
Q. If you could go back in time & speak to yourself before you entered IT, what would you say?
Be yourself, it’s a continuous learning journey, be courageous and never give up. If you hope to grow you need tech qualifications, people skills and experience. Attend conferences from the start to build contacts. You need to put yourself out of your comfort zone to grow
Q. What is the question you are most tired of hearing on the women in tech subject? How would you answer it so you never have to answer it again?
I think it is not asking for special treatment, just wanting equal treatment and then the need to ask questions like this would be removed.