Most people are familiar with the fact that women are still underrepresented in IT – only 26% of the tech workforce is made up of women. At BrightGen, while we don’t rest on our laurels, we do have a stronger mix of men and women than your average tech company, with that being officially recognised by Salesforce.
For International Women’s Day, we are sharing a women in tech success story with the world. This blog post shares personal experiences from members of #TeamBrightGen. They are working on a specific digital transformation project for a global media organisation, which is the project they all refer to in this post.
A graduate’s journey
I started on BrightGen’s IP team when I joined as a graduate in 2019 and got involved in the project in the Summer of 2020. When I think about it, there have been a lot of women on the project since I started and we’ve increased in number over time. Since I studied computer science, I’ve always found myself among mostly men. It’s strange because tech is so broad – from coding to testing – you can apply your knowledge to anything.
I enjoy working with other women on this project.Technical Consultant, Eleana Tsekoglou
I feel like I’ve really progressed since I started, from being a graduate to becoming a valued member of the team. As a Technical Consultant, I primarily work with code and I feel like my team relies on me now.
A supportive environment
In my previous IT companies, it was normal for there to be one woman in five or even ten people on a project. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about being among more women at BrightGen. On this project, that’s true right from the top to the bottom – there’s a higher than average balance of women at all levels for a tech company. This gives women like me more confidence that they can excel in their career, and they don’t have to stop at any point just because they are women.
Previously I’d always been the odd one out.QA Consultant, Gowri Sathiya
I have a three-year-old son and have been working full-time since he was one year old. Thanks to the support of the companies I’ve worked for, including BrightGen, I have been able to continue my career. It’s so important to feel supported when you’re working while caring for a young child. At BrightGen I’ve found you can always ask people questions and everyone’s helpful and supportive. No one ever leaves you out on your own.
I started out in my career as a QA Analyst and I’ve worked my way up. At BrightGen I started as a QA Consultant and I can see a clear career path ahead to a lead role here, if I do the right things.
I hadn’t noticed that our team was mostly female until someone pointed it out to me!QA Team Lead, Mandeep Sandhu
I studied psychology and then came into IT, getting into testing in the public sector. Starting at BrightGen was completely different, firstly because I was starting as a Test Lead, and more importantly, I was learning about the media industry.
Having Christy, a strong woman, leading our team made a big change. Normally those senior roles are taken by men. It’s refreshing to have a different kind of personality leading the team.
Changing careers into tech
I studied medicine at university in Italy and started practising as a doctor in the UK. As I gained experience, it dawned on me that I loved the study and theory of medicine but I didn’t enjoy the practical side at all. I had, in fact, always liked computers but no one thought I could be an engineer because I was female. IT is seen mainly as a male job in Italy – in the UK it’s only a tiny bit better!
Working on this project at BrightGen, I feel a bit more supported when working with other women. You feel like you can ask any questions without feeling embarrassed that a man will think less of you. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to work in a women-only team – a mix is best!
I love coding.Technical Consultant, Giulia Meniconzi
There’s always something to learn on a project this big. The customer on the project is using our Salesforce ad sales accelerator, BrightMEDIA. That means everyone who enrolled on this project was asked to go through BrightMEDIA University. This is extensive training on how BrightMEDIA works. You need to learn about the context of ad sales and how the media industry (particularly publishers) make most of their revenue. I love learning new things, so this is the perfect environment for me!
Embracing a diverse and inclusive culture
I hadn’t even thought about the fact that there was an unusually high number of women on the team until someone pointed it out one day. It’s just a really good team that all get on and work well together.
What’s also interesting is that we’re not just a gender mix – it’s also a cultural mix. We have Cypriot, Italian, Portuguese, Indian, Nigerian, Scottish and of course English people in our team of 17. Out of those, nine are women. In our standups we often say greetings and thank yous in different languages. It helps people feel acknowledged. Also, when you ask people about their language, such as how to pronounce a new word, you get to learn a bit more about their culture and it opens up conversations. For example, when we asked about the coffee Giulia was drinking one day, we all learned a little bit about Italian ways of making coffee! And we all felt a little closer having learned about each other.
It’s great that we have such a variety of people on this project, as it means we have differences in opinions and approaches.SCRUM Master, Sonny Watson
It’s been a challenge to keep people happy while working remotely as, if you were in the office, you could tell straight away if something is wrong. That’s why I created a mood board to check how people are feeling. It just uses emojis to represent emotions such as happy, or drained. Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable saying how they’re feeling when they have to write it down or arrange a video call – so clicking on an emoji is much easier. It’s so important to gauge people’s feelings when you’re working on a long and difficult project.
There was no realisation we were in the minority.Technical Lead, Mike Doughty
I’ve found that there are no differences working in a team with more women. Although I’m always impressed that women seem better at multi-tasking! Christy is really good at listening to people while doing something else at the same time. I’ve always worked alongside women – it’s just unusual that on this project, 60% of the developers are female! We only selected the team based on their ability.
Leading a diverse team
It’s just a coincidence that there were so many women on the team.Project Architect, Christy Bottomer
No one even realised how many women there were on the team until one day I pointed it out! We hadn’t changed anything – work was getting done and it was getting done well. We looked for who was available in the dev pool, who can write code. I moved in as Tech Lead when the previous (male) Tech Lead moved on.
In any IT team, I’ve often been the only girl on the team. There hasn’t been that much difference in terms of working on this project, but maybe the types of conversations are different. For example, we seem to engage more on a personal level. I know more about this team and their home lives than I have in any engagement I’ve worked on in the past. We’re also trying to normalise being open about mental health, so that everyone feels supported and listened to. This is often taboo, so Sonny, our (male) SCRUM Master, decided independently to start up a mood board to help us track how we’re feeling during the project.
Our customer likely doesn’t realise that there are so many women on the team. The customer just gets the answers they need. They don’t see the names, just good presentations.
Our whole team has been remote for the entire project. We’re very close because we’ve worked together for so long now on this challenging project. After over a year, you genuinely care about the people you work with. Under pressure the diamonds come out!
As soon as I’m not 100% on this project, I’ll look to do more for BrightGen’s employees and continue to hone my skills as a Project Architect. I like people, and I can influence, mentor and support.
If BrightGen sounds like the right kind of company for you, check out our open roles. We welcome all backgrounds, genders, ethnicities… consider #TeamBrightGen!