Cara Burgum is an experienced Chapter Lead in the Data Warehouse at Admiral and a Women in Tech Excellence Awards finalist in the Team Leader of the Year category.
My tech journey was pretty conventional in the sense that I loved maths at school, studied it at A Level and university, then joined the IT Graduate scheme at Admiral, where I've so far had a fulfilling career and work with amazing people. The only ‘unconventional' thing about my journey is that I'm a woman and unfortunately there aren't many women compared to men studying maths and working in tech, yet!
Looking back, I've always had strong female role models around me that I aspired to be like. My Mum was my first one, who was, and still is, a strong woman, going to work every day in a beautiful suit and bright red lipstick - her clothes were actually what sparked my initial interest in having a professional career. I've also had some amazing mentors and role models throughout my working career, many of whom were beautiful, classy, and strong women, and they all happened to be in IT or maths, so it was easy to see how I was drawn to this path!
That's why it's so important for the younger generation to actually see women in STEM roles around them and show them that it isn't just a space for men. I gave a talk at Big Data London a few years ago about Admiral's data journey, and only 7% of speakers were women. How are women going to feel comfortable and confident getting into tech if the representation isn't there?
One of the reasons I love working at Admiral is its efforts to encourage more women into tech. Through Admiral, I've attended graduate fairs, sat on panels at universities and high schools, taught lessons in data to high school students, written articles and blogs and been interviewed for women and the younger generation. These things are invaluable to our next generation, as just having insight into other people's experiences can really show that it's realistic for so many people to have a fulfilling career in STEM. It inspires me to hear about other people's journeys, and how different one person can be to the next.
I'm so proud to have recently been shortlisted for Team Leader of the Year for the Women in Tech Excellence Awards, as advocating for equal opportunities in tech has always been important to me. I'm a firm believer that it's time to end the stereotypes of who belongs in a tech career and put our efforts into showing the next generation that there is space for anyone who has an interest, whatever your background and whatever your gender.