You don't have to be technical to work in technology

clock • 2 min read
Nicki Jarvis – UK and Ireland Ecosystem Lead, Accenture 
Image:

Nicki Jarvis – UK and Ireland Ecosystem Lead, Accenture 

I've always wondered why more women aren't interested in a career in technology, because I've always found it inspiring, exciting, and rewarding.

My father was heavily into science fiction, and I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, going to conventions and being totally inspired by this genre. The impossible, the fantastical, the futuristic, and technology makes the impossible possible every day, so why wouldn't everyone want to work in technology? 

I think people, particularly women, perceive technology as physical; a device such as an iPhone or laptop or a software programme like Oracle. There's an assumption that you need to know how to code and understand computers to work in technology. This couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, there are roles in technology that involve coding, but the majority of roles are business led and outcome focused. They require other skills; the ability to relate the potential technology solution to a business problem, to articulate the outcome for a client and what transformation the technology enables within their business.

At Accenture, we actively encourage people to join us from a wider variety of backgrounds, each with different skill sets and experiences - business or creative skills, rather than solely technical ones.  The diversity of thought and perspective proves truly valuable to innovation and differentiation in the market. We've found in a recent study, that an inclusive culture—one that is not only diverse on paper, but that enables everyone to have a voice—is the way to unlock opportunities for women who are studying and working in technology.

This presents a freedom to focus on the outcomes that the technology can deliver, the business benefits it can bring and the difference technology can make to people's lives and the wider world.

We need to change the perception of technology from a thing, to an enabler or outcome; what it can do for a business, not what great features it has. There should be less expectation around core technical skills and focus more on the business experience. This change of mindset needs to come much earlier on for women. We can all play a part in educating the younger population on the options available to them.  

The other challenge women in technology face is the lack of flexibility or the perceived lack of flexibility in IT roles. From personal experience in my solution lead role, I know first-hand how challenging balancing family with a demanding IT job can be. There are perceived expectations to be responsive during "normal" working hours.

We need senior women role models in technology to have the option of working part time or flexible hours. That will help to demonstrate that it's possible to have a family and a career, and that you don't have to choose, you can have both.  To do this we need companies to embrace a truly flexible working schedule and set expectations with our clients that match our own. 

Perception is reality so let's make reality change perception.

You may also like
Chancellor under pressure to rethink angel investor thresholds

Government

Government’s plan to raise income threshold criticised

clock 26 January 2024 • 2 min read
Women in tech: The path to gender parity and innovation

Leadership

It's about culture, role models and the pipeline

clock 15 December 2023 • 4 min read
Interview: Lisa Slade, Accenture, Women in Tech Excellence Awards finalist

Leadership

The challenge of increasing diversity in IT is now firmly on the agenda across the UK, but women are still under-represented, especially at the top. They're also likely to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.

clock 24 November 2023 • 5 min read

Sign up to our newsletter

The best news, stories, features and photos from the day in one perfectly formed email.

More on Leadership

Calling all innovators: Enter the IT Leaders 100 2024

Calling all innovators: Enter the IT Leaders 100 2024

The definitive list of the most influential and inspiring figures in UK IT

Tom Allen
clock 13 February 2024 • 2 min read
IT Essentials: It's time to admit that DEI has failed

IT Essentials: It's time to admit that DEI has failed

Until we acknowledge why, nothing changes.

Penny Horwood
clock 12 February 2024 • 5 min read
Wired for adventure: An interview with Scouting CDO Lara Burns

Wired for adventure: An interview with Scouting CDO Lara Burns

'We’re about skills for life'

Tom Allen
clock 08 February 2024 • 6 min read