Happy International Women’s Day, a day I know that is of great importance to women everywhere. I am proud to be a leader in an ICT company of over 150 people where nearly ⅓ are women, a statistic that is not common in the industry.
And these are not just your average women. I am fortunate to work with smart, ambitious, talented women who work tirelessly – both in the office and outside.
So today we celebrate the Women of REDspace! These women regularly inspire me and their colleagues. What better way to show you then in their own words? We asked a few of them why they love their jobs and any advice they’d offer women thinking of a career in this industry.
I love working with such a diverse group of people with different skills and backgrounds. You never know what you’ll learn or what crazy conversations you’ll have.
The digital world needs more female voices for better representation of the population that uses technology. If you want to break into a male-dominated field, do it. Technology is limitless. Don’t let the field be limited to one voice.
Artist and Animator
As a 2D and 3D artist/animator, I get the added bonus of taking drawings and ideas one step forward into 3D space. An example would be the Gunball Arena. I’m always creating, whether it’s at home or work.
At my first job, I was the only female other than the secretary. In my second job, there were only a handful (which in 3 months time, turned into just me). Now starting my third job, I’m the only female in my department. I’ve been questioned by strangers, friends, and family members on why I don’t choose a “normal female job”. Why should I? I have a talent and I’m going to do everything I can with it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is thinking, your work will speak for itself.
Jr. Web Developer
The internet is advancing every day so being a developer gives me the chance to keep learning and using new tools all the time.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount you don’t know. Be excited that you always have something new and fun to learn!
I love the interaction with team members and clients as well as the challenge of the organization aspect (I’m a type A personality).
Find a strong female mentor. It does not have to be in your line of work necessarily but even in other aspects of your life, like a volunteer position. I have been lucky enough to have strong female mentors at work as well as in other areas of my life and both have given me the confidence and support to help me be successful at my job and beyond.
Executive Assistant to CEO & CTO
I’ve been with REDspace for nearly 6 years, so my position has changed throughout that time as the company has grown and needs have changed. These days, the best part of my job is the combination of awesome coworkers, exciting projects, interesting clients, and getting to do new and different things on the daily.
Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short.
I love that every single day is different than the one before. Even if the end result is the same (which it rarely is), the means to do it are (sort of) endless. You have new technology coming in every day, and you’re always learning best practices and trying to improve your work, even if it’s one single line of code at a time. Also the ability to develop any tool you’d like, even if it’s just for a fun personal project, it’s pretty awesome.
It can be super intimidating to be in an industry dominated by men, but literally the best way to change this gender gap is to just do it anyway. The Women in Tech community is super friendly and empowering and definitely a big help. It sounds cliche but representation is very important. It’s also pretty great to know you’re slowly changing social stereotypes by just being in a room.
I love coming to work everyday. It doesn’t feel like work, more like something I enjoy doing and get paid for! I like the fact that my job is challenging too, especially within web design. There are so many new software tools to work with, responsive challenges through devices and platforms to design for. I am constantly pushing the boundaries on how creative ideas can be presented/created and learning new skills.
Learn the trade first before jumping onto your iMac. Mastering something as simple as typography, will help you become a better designer down the road. Always question your creative ideas and make sure they answer the brief, you can make something look as beautiful as you like, but if the idea doesn’t meet the clients requirements, you will not get the expected results.
Drupal/Web Team Lead
I work with an Open Source CMS called Drupal. It’s my absolute passion. It’s amazing to come to work everyday and code in a technology I love.
Take every opportunity to challenge yourself, and never take a learning experience for granted. A career path in technology means you’ll be learning something new every single day.
I love that my job allows me to be involved in all aspects of the project from start to finish – seeing a concept start out as a sketch on a whiteboard and then watching it unfold into a product that the client loves. One of the best parts of my job is watching as our teams work together to take an idea and build on it – art and code all coming together as everyone brings their own special expertise to the table.
It’s easy to feel intimidated when surrounded by people with so much technical expertise in so many different areas. Listening is key, as is asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a stupid question. The more information you can gather, the better your decision making abilities will be, and the more your team will respect you for it.
Executive Assistant – AKA Jane of all trades
Fast paced with a wide variety of tasks depending is the nature of the business you’re employed in. You have to be a quick learner, resourceful and extremely organized. I love lists, and feel successful and fulfilled when I check things off my lists. EA’s are privy to sensitive and confidential information in which discretion and professionalism are imperative.
Very fulfilling career with a wide range of possibilities and scope for professional development. Industry options are endless and administrative roles are always required. Be receptive to new ideas, processes, and efficiencies; and in any career, support/praise your peers in their successes and professional growth, own and learn from your mistakes, and share your knowledge and experiences with others.
I get to break and crash a lot of different applications without any consequences.
In my job, I mostly create automation tests. It is really fantastic feeling that something (automation test you write) does your job for you!
Senior Project Manager
I love working with such talented and bright colleagues who are passionate about and feel very responsible for their work.
My advice to someone considering project management would be to understand that managing projects isn’t just about tasks, deadlines and budgets, it is about working with people and providing the right tools, information and environment they need to get their jobs done.
Senior Solutions Developer
My job, and programming in general, is a lot about problem solving. It’s like every morning I’m sitting down to a puzzle and although there are probably a hundred ways to put that puzzle together, I need to find the way that works best for the issue at hand, always considering the codebase, the client, and other developers that will work with the code. Some days it’s the smallest detail and others it’s standing back to look at the big picture. It’s a daily challenge that never grows old. I can truly say I love what I do, it’s easy to get lost in it and my work days fly by because I’m so absorbed.
The best advice I was given career-wise was to really put some thought into what you enjoy doing. When you’re starting off, it’s not about the money or job security or who’s hiring, it’s about finding a way to spend your days doing something you really enjoy. The rest will fall into place.
The fact is that in a country where 51% of the population is female, the top 10 Canadian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies have on average only 16.5% female representation. REDspace is truly an anomaly! We’re fortunate to live in Nova Scotia, where the situation is slightly improved, however, women still only make up 24% of the ICT sector as a whole, with fewer still in technical or leadership roles. There are incredible opportunities in our industry and fantastic programs encouraging women at younger ages to get involved in STEM education and related careers, such as Techsploration.
There is and will always be more we can do. But today, on International Women’s Day, I want to celebrate how far we’ve come and the amazing women I get to work with every single day!