Review: North West Women in Tech and Digital Meetup

I had another interesting and inspiring evening last night at the North West Women in Tech and Digital Meetup. It was the first of its kind to take place in Liverpool, and with the event being held at QVC, we had the pleasure of hearing from some fantastic speakers from QVC’s IT team.

Alex Duncan, VP of Applications Development, Manjit Dudrah, Manager of Financial System Programmes, and Richard Davies, VP of Information Security, gave some fantastic insights into their career paths. They also went into a lot of detail about how they came to work in senior tech positions which was very motivating to listen to, as well as discussing their opinions on the tech landscape today. (Needless to say, the shortage of women working in tech roles was mentioned once or twice…)

Richard Davies, QVC’s VP of Information Security, discussed the current landscape of women working in cybersecurity and the educational background for women in cybersecurity roles, which was eye-opening! Only 31% of women currently working in cybersecurity jobs have a background in computer and information sciences; other subjects they had studied included humanities, psychology, social sciences and education.

He also talked about ways to get into cybersecurity, which was particularly interesting. Richard had self-funded through examinations and certifications to learn about cybersecurity, to ultimately kickstart his career in the niche area of IT he was most interested in. He also suggested that those looking to get into the sector should join recognised organisations for opportunities to learn and network, such as ISC² and ISACA, and to talk to your company’s cybersecurity team and build relationships.

Lastly, we heard from Charlotte Bowers, a Software Engineering Degree Apprentice at Shop Direct. Charlotte discussed her journey through a number of apprenticeships to get to where she is today, finally finding her feet in a less coding-focused role, and studying Software Engineering whilst working for Shop Direct.

She also discussed the possible reasons for the skills gap and shortage of women in STEM roles in the digital economy, pointing out that whilst 50% of girls take STEM subjects at GCSE, only 7% of women opt to study for degrees in technology and engineering.

Thank you to all involved for such a brilliant evening – we thoroughly enjoyed it, and will definitely be attending the next meetup!

Keep an eye on the Evolution blog for more posts about women in IT