Neveen Elasar: Women in IT Excellence, Rising Star of the Year!07/12/2020
Spartan Neveen Elasar has been named Rising Star of the Year: SME at the 2020 Women in IT Excellence Awards - “A sound example of great achievement and an individual that has risen above prejudice to become a flexible DevOps engineer through nothing but hard work.”
Passionate about crafting a career in technology after studying an IT degree, Neveen Elasar breezed through our Academy’s DevOps course and is now a highly sought-after Spartan. After completing work on a project for financial services provider iPSL, Neveen joined the UK’s largest insurance provider as a Platform Engineer. Also an advocate for women in tech, Neveen now speaks publicly about her experiences in what remains a male-dominated industry and is often invited to speak at events about her digital journey.
We sat down with Neveen after her Women in Tech Excellence Award win to discuss her journey as a young woman in tech today.
How did it feel when you heard your name announced as a winner at the Women in Tech Excellence Awards?
I was honestly not expecting it! Getting short-listed from more than 800 entries of women who have achieved so much in their careers was exciting enough as it is, but hearing my name announced as the Rising Star of the Year: SME category was just incredible! I feel so honoured to have my work as both a DevOps Engineer and an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) advocate recognised, and I’m extremely grateful for everyone who has supported me throughout my journey.
Why do you feel it’s important the work of women in tech is recognised in awards such as these?
The tech industry is male-dominated and lacks diverse representation - particularly in senior positions. Awards like Women in Tech Excellence and many more give opportunities for females across the tech field to be recognised for their contributions and hard work. It is important to highlight examples of successful women in the industry so it can inspire others who are thinking of pursuing the same career path. It can also help connect women with each other, allowing them to share their experiences and drive collaboration in more ED&I initiatives.
These sorts of recognitions can help not only women aspiring to start or return to their careers in tech, but also it will help companies find and employ capable female talent and subsequently diversify the workforce.
What would your advice be for young women considering a career in tech?
The tech industry covers a wide range of sectors and areas for people to work in - there are so many technologies and languages to learn! My advice would be to research what’s out there, find out what seems appealing, speak to people who have experience in the areas that interest you, ask questions and get information to help you determine what skills to focus on developing. Afterwards, dedicate time learning these core skills needed for the area you’re interested in and take it from there. One thing to note - whatever you decide to focus on will benefit you in multiple areas and will definitely be transferable.
The great thing about the tech industry though, is that you will keep on learning as new technologies emerge, and therefore you’ll have plenty of opportunities to switch to a different area if you want to in the future. It’s good, however, to focus on specific skills when starting out. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount there is to learn.
How would you encourage other working women to help drive equal opportunities in the industry? What can individuals do to help make a difference?
Acknowledging the lack of equal opportunities and existing biases at a workplace is the first step towards change, but taking action is what will really make a difference. I would strongly encourage everyone who believes that there should be equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace to be proactive. Speak up and point out existing work conditions that you think are unfair or need to change. Bring about new ideas on how to make changes and don’t be afraid to voice your opinions, challenge the status quo and advocate for equality and inclusion. A lot of companies now have dedicated departments that deal with ED&I, (if not, HR departments can certainly help) so find the right person to reach out to and get in touch.
In addition, there are plenty of initiatives that anyone can take part in. It can be in the form of talks, events, blog posts and more. Network with people who have done similar things and ask them if they know of any opportunities for you to participate in. Activities like these bring awareness to the importance of having equal, diverse and inclusive opportunities in the industry.