In the summer of 2015, Isis Anchalee came to public attention after receiving public backlash to a promotional campaign she did with her employer.
Anchalee was, the trolls opined, far too pretty to be a real engineer. Thus, #iLookLikeAnEngineer was launched – a hashtag and a movement that has since taken the world by storm.
Here, Siobhán Brennan, an engineer at Version 1, gives us some insight into what it’s like to be in the minority in your chosen field.
What made you want to get into engineering?
I have always had an inquisitive mind, and loved learning. IT suits these traits perfectly. You never stop learning in technology – there are always opportunities to gain new skills and learn new technologies.
You can never be bored in this industry. It’s your job to keep up with new advancements and understand current deployments and methods.
Are people surprised when you tell them what you do for a living?
Not really. I think there are more women in the industry now than there were when I initially started.
How does it feel to be working in an industry where you’re in the minority?
I’ve never really given it a lot of thought to be honest. I’ve worked with lots of very strong and intelligent women throughout my career who have really inspired me and encouraged me to go further.
I have also worked with some great male colleagues who I have learned a lot from, and who have encouraged me throughout.
What needs to happen to make tech more attractive to a broader variety of people?
Better emphasis in school and college. It’s taken a long time for IT to become part of the school curriculum.
What advice would you give to others who don’t fit the engineer stereotype, but want to pursue IT infrastructure as a career?
Don’t give up. Like any career aspirations, you have to work at them. This is especially true in IT when there are so many exam and certifications requirements.
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