I was introduced to Ceri-Anne Jackson when she spoke about her experiences of "Getting into Tech" at the last @Ladies of Code MeetUp. Ceri's story is a really fascinating one, because she proves that you don't need a certain degree, or a certain career background to "Get into tech" and that anyone who puts their mind to it, can do it. I was really inspired by Ceri and the speech that she gave. Thank you for sharing your experiences Ceri!
"I am a software developer at Sky currently working on the Sky News iOS app. I've recently changed career after spending 14 years working in Credit Risk/Financial Services"
Tell us a little bit about your journey into a technology-based role I studied Mathematics at university and then worked in Credit Risk/Financial Services. My role was a mixture of data analytics, business strategy, system management and risk management. At the beginning of 2016 I decided that I need a new challenge. I'd stretched my role as far as I could and wanted to do something different. I started learning to code and in August 2016 I completed Sky's Get into Tech course. Then in November 2016 I joined Sky as an Associate Software Developer. How do you personally use technology in your day to day? I have always loved gadgets so am never far from my iPhone (or Apple Watch). I am also really interested in the Internet of Things so our house is full of smart devices - lights, heating, coffee machine, kettle...I'm a bit of a tech magpie! How do you use technology in your job role?
I am an iOS developer so I spend most of my day coding in Xcode and keeping in touch with colleagues using Slack. What have been the best learning resources for you? There are tonnes of resources online but I love teamtreehouse.com and also used www.codewars.com/ quite a bit when I was first learning. In addition, //www.hackingwithswift.com/ and //www.raywenderlich.com/ are great for learning Swift I am old school though and love books so have a shelf full of programming books. Tech meet ups and talks have also been really useful for picking up advice and resources. As a woman, do you think you have faced any challenges that a man would not face in your position? No, not really. Perhaps when I was leaving university the signposts weren't there for a career in tech. As a mathematics graduate I was constantly told about teaching and accountancy (neither of which appealed) but tech careers just weren't on my radar. I'm not sure if that's because I'm female or not. I also think men tend to be much more confident in their own abilities whereas women often under-estimate their skills. I used to think that in my previous job I was a "Jack of all trades, master of none" when in reality I had tonnes of transferable skills that I am now making use of. What HAS been your biggest challenge so far? Being brave and getting out of my comfort zone! I moved from a role and company where I was really comfortable to one where every day is a challenge but I love it! I'm learning something new every day and there are loads of opportunities to develop new and existing skills. I'm also really anxious about meeting new people so working up the courage to go to tech meet ups on my own was a big thing. With regards to technology, what do you think will be our biggest barrier to success in the future? Data and technology give us opportunities to do amazing things but I think it's important than non-tech people understand how their data is being collected and used. Privacy and security are interesting challenges as technology becomes ever more embedded in our lives and homes. Who makes up your support squad? Family and friends, especially my husband and son. I also met an amazing group of women in Sky's Get into Tech course and we have stayed in touch since. They are a great source of motivation and support. What's your favourite piece of advice to offer entrepreneurial/techy women? Get out there! Be brave! I thought I was too old to learn something new and change career but there are so many resources and opportunities out there. Find something you love and go for it!
Thank you so much for that Ceri, you really are an inspirational tech queen! Ceri can be found on Twitter at @ceri_anne