Ada Lovelace Day: My first year in tech08/10/2019
In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day - and her role as a game-changing woman in tech – we sat down with Spartan Neveen Elasar to hear about her tech journey so far. Joining Sparta Global to continue her IT career development, Neveen graduated from our DevOps course in 2018 and was assigned to work with a Sparta Global client. Having spent the last year working full-time at the company, we caught up with Neveen to discover what she has learned…
Have you always wanted to work in technology?
I chose to do a degree in IT because a technology career is something I've considered for a long time. I am the kind of person who quickly gets frustrated if anything stagnates for too long. But I knew that wouldn’t be something I’d worry about if I pursued a career in tech. It is an industry that is continuously and rapidly growing! There is, and will always be, something new to learn. In fact, part of what made my training experience at Sparta Global so enjoyable is that despite my background in IT, I was still learning so much every day. This was especially noticeable in the last few weeks when we started focusing on DevOps and all of its applications.
Do you feel you faced any barriers breaking into tech?
Finding a training opportunity wasn’t as challenging as some might expect it to have been, but that’s probably due to me having a degree in IT. For me, the real challenge occurred when I actually entered and started work in the tech industry. Being surrounded by experts who have been in the field for years - with the majority being men - didn’t help too much with my confidence. I always felt like I had to put in extra effort to prove I am as capable and skilled as my male counterparts. It took a little bit of time, but by being persistent and taking the challenge as an opportunity to prove myself, I’ve built rapport with my managers and gained their trust to be given more responsibilities.
Tell us a little bit about your current technology role.
I was assigned to a Sparta Global client in Northampton and have recently marked one year with the company. It was my first technology role and I am still really enjoying the problem-solving aspect of working in the technology industry. Being stuck on a problem and finally finding a solution - whether alone or by collaborating with others - is a hugely satisfying feeling. I love that there are constant challenges arising that force me to read and learn about new tools and technologies.
How have you found working in industry?
It’s definitely challenging being in an industry where there isn’t a lot of female representation. I remember back in university being the only woman in three out of four modules I was studying. However, throughout my journey I have met other females who are on the same career path, and this has always made me feel empowered – particularly when I hear their success stories! I think seeing more technical females is very important and this will help encourage more women to participate in the field.
Through Sparta Global I met a diverse group of women with different backgrounds and experiences. We keep in touch and if I am having doubts about my work, it’s reassuring to have that community of people that I can go to for advice - or to just simply talk and share challenges and experiences with!
What are you most proud of achieving in the past year?
I'm currently working on a transformation project that aims to change the company’s software development process from waterfall to agile, and to move the organisation from on-premise to cloud technologies that will accelerate and enhance the overall quality of the software being delivered through DevOps.
I joined the project a couple of weeks after it had started and had to chase people for information and try and ask the right questions to bring myself up to speed. At first, I struggled with feeling confident in my skills because of being surrounded by people who had been in the field for so long. However, the experience pushed me to apply myself even more than I normally would and challenge myself to become better and learn more. In a few months I was given the responsibility of being a Scrum Master of the team project. I helped oversee the planning and delivery of the first phase of the project - which mainly entailed introducing DevOps, moving software code into the cloud and enabling continuous integration and continuous deployment. It felt like such a great achievement to have completed this in just one year!
In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, what would you say to inspire other young women considering a future in technology?
Whether you come from a technical background or not, if this is your passion - follow it. Apply for and take opportunities - don't let a lack of confidence in your skills stop you from entering a continuously growing industry. Technology moves so fast you'll always be lacking skills in some areas! In my opinion, what matters most is the drive to keep learning new things. If you have that, you'll excel in your career in tech.