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Breaking Barriers: A Woman's Journey into the World of Tech

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" That innocent question, often met with stereotypical responses like nurse or teacher, but always delivered with uncertainty. Here’s my story about how I found a career in tech.

Let's Start At The Beginning

Throughout my teens I had dreams of travelling and learning new languages. I was also obsessed with cars and rock music. Suffice to say, I never imagined I'd end up in the world of technology. 

At high school I was urged instead to take “sensible” (or perhaps more appropriate for a woman?) subjects such as typing and home economics, although none of this particularly interested me. I was dissuaded from taking French because it was, apparently, “hard” and “I wouldn’t need it anyway”. I was told not to bother with mechanics because according to my guidance counsellor “girls can’t be mechanics”. 

Consequently, I left school unmotivated and uninspired. I spent the following few years in a blur working odd jobs, struggling through bouts of depression and dealing with the stress of single parenting. 

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The Turning Point

My 25th birthday was a wake up call. A quarter-life crisis. I didn’t like how I saw my future was panning out but I didn’t know how to change things. I was caught up in the whole catch-22 of no employment - no experience without a job, no job without experience.

So I took stock. I weighed up my job prospects and started looking at entry level positions. However most of the roles were in retail and hospitality where they were asking for availability and flexibility with hours. This wasn’t an option for me with children, I needed 9-5 and stability.

After coming up for air after this somewhat soul destroying experience, I decided to enrol in university instead.

Don’t be surprised at my confession that I still had no idea of what I wanted to do though. Figuring I’d be able to find something I was passionate about by starting something, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and art history.

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Taking My Transferable Skills Down A Squiggly Path

Although not at all related to tech, my degree taught me a lot of transferable skills that I could bring to my first role post university.

Things like:

  • time management and organisation
  • the ability to analyse huge amounts of information
  • how to recognise patterns, and
  • how to articulate things clearly and concisely.

More tangibly, it also opened the way to employment via student job search, an avenue with no expectation for qualifications or experience.

Once my career kicked off, I journeyed through different roles, learning new skills, finding out what I did and didn’t enjoy, and general day-to-day office life. Ultimately, I created my own pathway, leveraging off internal opportunities and hardwork.

I started out filling my days with filing systems and documents. It wasn’t glamorous but it was a start. Through this role I found my next role within the data entry team. But, as it turned out, this new role made me desperately bored. So after 6 months I made my next move and slid sideways into a customer service role. Here I figured out some things about myself, like:

  • It was busy, I like busy
  • There was variety, this kept me engaged
  • I really enjoy helping people

From there, I found my gateway into the tech world. I was shoulder tapped by my team lead. It was a baptism by fire, the toughest 18 months of my life! And while it taught me quite a few skills, it probably taught me more about “what not to do” when you develop software. But this role sparked something up. It got me curious. And it led me to a new company and a new role as a Software Support Consultant.

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A New Industry, A New Role, And Many Hats

As so often happens in small companies, I didn’t just do what I’d been hired for, over the course of the seven years I worked in the Software Support Consultant role, I:

  • Wrote documentation
  • Onboarded new customers
  • Worked with customers to refine business processes
  • Trained end users
  • Learnt finance law
  • Learnt how to reconcile a General Ledger 
  • Learnt to write SQL
  • Learnt to write feature requirements

In learning those skills, I was able to finally figure out what I had always wanted to do. To analyse and understand complex, interconnected systems and identify what was broken and find solutions for how to fix it.

I came full circle. All the things that I was good at and wanted to do that had made me want to be a mechanic, was actually a pretty good fit for a business analyst too.

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Landing at MadeCurious

After seven years it was time for a change, so a heap of research and two rounds of interviews a year apart I became a Suitey in February 2020. Officially I was an “Agile Business Analyst” at Made Curious (Media Suite as it was known then). I arrived here excited, enthusiastic.

So far, I’ve been challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone, I’ve also been given opportunities to be part of projects with real world impact, to be part of a team, to coach, and lead. It was a long, seemingly random journey that has led me here, but I’m now a few years in and I love it.

Now, Some Self-Reflection

As I look back on my journey, I'm reminded that there will always be forces pushing back and challenges that we think could break us. Equally, it takes time and curiosity to discover opportunities. Whether you're a woman navigating the tech industry or anyone pursuing their passions, remember: your journey is uniquely yours, give it time and say yes to opportunities because who knows where you can end up.

Media Suite
is now

All things change, and we change with them. But we're still here to help you build the right thing.

If you came looking for Media Suite, you've found us, we are now MadeCurious.

Media Suite MadeCurious.