One of the weird things about working in tech is that it's hard to know how to prepare for the future, because a lot of the jobs and tasks we'll be doing don't exist yet. That's why we're constantly told how important it is to develop transferable skills that can apply to many areas, no matter which bonkers direction the future takes.
The Women in Tech Festival 2019 is almost upon us now, and the ticket price includes access to a ridiculous amount of knowledge, including primers in new skills that you can take away on the day. Here are just a few of them.
1. Networking, as taught by the Taliban
That's not a weird typo, we actually have a session called What I Learned About Networking From The Taliban. Led by the amazingly impressive Emma Dutton MBE - Managing Director of the specialist influence consultancy Applied Influence Group - the session will cover Emma's unique and fascinating experience of working in Afghanistan in her twenties.
The learnings Emma gathered from leading life-saving military intelligence operations including coming face-to-face with would-be suicide bombers now inform her work helping huge tech companies overcome their biggest challenges. Her insights will help you become a better networker immediately, which should come in very handy for the lunch and drinks reception later in the day.
2. Boss-level confidence
Have you ever watched a comedian get heckled by the audience, and throw it back to them without missing a beat? Want to know how to get that kind of unflappable confidence?
The incredible Viv Groskop is both a comedian herself, and the author of How To Own The Room. In her interactive presentation at 9.20, she'll give you insightful pointers on the speaking skills of inspirational women from JK Rowling to Michelle Obama, explaining exactly how they get the audience to listen and take note - and how you can too.
Then, at 10.45, the 10 Digital Ladies will be on stage to give you a crash course in Confidently Breaking Barriers. You'll learn everything from how to sell (products, yourself, ideas…) to how to reach the rarefied environment of the tech boardroom. There'll be personal anecdotes, workshopping sessions and practical advice you can start using straight away. We fully expect to see you strutting away from this session.
3. Zen-like calm
Even the best conference can be exhausting, especially for introverts - so we've got a Zen Den on hand all day for you to recuperate in. It'll be the ideal place to practice the skills you learn in our 9.10 session with Hannah Loveday, founder of Yogaloveday.
Hannah will talk you through Mindfulness in a Nutshell, explaining both the health benefits and the science behind mindfulness and meditation. Her session will touch on juggling work and life, managing all the tech encroaching on your time, and how a little more zen in the day can improve your mental health. There'll be a guided exercise, too, to give you an idea of how it feels to really let go - even in the middle of a conference.
4. Mentoring from both sides
Newbies and old(er) hands will come together in our afternoon mentoring session, to work together on solving problems across the spectrum of tech careers. Our Lead Mentors come from some incredible backgrounds, including senior leaders from Santander, Thames Water, Heathrow Airport, the Met Office, Nationwide and the Police Digital Security Centre.
If you're in any doubt about just how valuable mentoring can be at any stage of your tech career, give this article a read. You'll be a convert.
5. How to identify your transferable skills
A little meta, perhaps, but if you're not sure how to work out which of your skills are transferable and how to sell them, we've got the session for you. It's called Entering the Tech Industry, but Angelique Vu of Financial Times Women UK's talk will have applications for many of us, not just the newbies.
It'll also cover how to raise awareness of all the amazing jobs in tech, how to get more women into a wider range of roles, and what qualifications are worth your time and money.
Don't have your ticket yet? Grab it here. Time's running out.
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