Spartan Tina Gohill: Working in tech and my diversity experience31/08/2018
“The support the Academy gives to Spartans is the same no matter what and Sparta Global can give anyone a kick start in a career in tech.”
Tina Gohill is a Spartan Consultant who traded a future in engineering for an exciting career in tech. 18 months after leaving the Sparta Academy and moving to Leeds to take up her first SDET role, we asked Tina – a promising woman in tech - is there is a problem with diversity in tech today?
What have you discovered about the tech workforce in the UK?
After leaving Sparta Global, it was a big surprise to see how few women there were in the workplace. In a group of 40 testers working on my floor, there are just two women - myself included. This was not something I experienced during my training - there seemed to be an even number of male and female graduates at the Richmond Academy.
The average age of the tech workforce was also a lot higher than I expected – something which has both pros and cons. I am working with lots of experienced people, but it also seems some companies are reluctant to give graduate employees responsibility. This is something I personally struggled with. I was not a recent graduate when I started my role as an SDET consultant – I had studied a PhD and been through the Sparta Academy since - and I really want to work to progress my career.
Do you see the tech industry as a diverse and inclusive environment? If not, how can it improve?
I definitely think the tech community is taking steps to improve diversity with groups such as Code First: Girls and different workshops and meet ups for people in tech. However, I think more can be done for providing equal opportunities. We shouldn’t shy away from hiring and training people who may have had no tech influence growing up or during their studies at university, or people looking for a career change with no previous IT experience.
Companies like Sparta Global present opportunities for people like this, but it would be hugely beneficial if tech companies try to share this mindset, providing more workshops for those who have no tech experience to showcase different job roles in the industry and how to work towards them.
Why is it important for the tech industry to promote and nurture diverse and inclusive teams?
It is important the tech industry promotes diversity to ensure anyone who is passionate and talented can thrive in the industry. Within a tech company, ideas and viewpoints from people of different genders, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds are useful to help a company grow and develop – while keeping in touch with a variety of customer and stakeholder interests. It also sets a good example for companies in other industries and professions outside of tech. It is important to remember the potential influence of the tech community – it is prevalent in everyone’s day-to-day lives.
Did you view the Sparta Academy as a diverse and inclusive environment and why?
Yes, I did. There was a range of different people - from various backgrounds - training in the academy and it was not only limited to recent graduates either. Everyone was treated the same, even when some people in a class were from a computer science background and some had noticeably more tech experience. Each person was given an equal opportunity to develop their skills, with advice from trainers who themselves had experienced different careers.
Why should people – regardless of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background – apply for Sparta?
When Sparta Global looks for people to join its graduate courses, it does not look at the applicant's gender, ethnicity or background. Sparta only looks at the person's passion for tech and drive to succeed in their careers and personal lives. The support the Academy gives to Spartans is the same no matter what and Sparta Global can give anyone a kick start in a career in tech.