Thursday, 22 June 2017

Women in I.T. – why you should embrace I.T. when it finds you

Last week we discussed why now is the right time for women in I.T. We considered statistics from a recent report and talked with two of our leading I.T. ladies at Claritas - to dispel preconceived myths and motivate other women to consider a career in the industry.

Today, in part 2 of our series, we explore the management side of the business. Speaking with our Finance Director and Sales Manager, we discuss why I.T. is an exciting and fulfilling career for those who work in the industry but are not programmers or developers, arriving at the conclusion that when I.T. finds you, you should embrace the opportunity.

Kirsty Sutton, Finance Director, 12 years in I.T.

Could you give me a brief summary of your role at Claritas?

I’ve worked in I.T. for 12 years and at Claritas for 3.5 years. I’m responsible for the day to day running of the financial operations of the company, including accounts preparation, cash flow, payroll, operations, customer and supplier relationships to mention a few.

What made you decide to go into I.T.?

I was given the opportunity to move out of practice into industry, working for a company I had been involved with for their audits. This was 12 years ago and they just happened to be in I.T., and I’ve never looked back.

What do you enjoy about working in I.T.?

I enjoy the fast moving industry where there is always something new to learn and/or develop.

What would you say to encourage more women to go into I.T. as their chosen career path? / Do you have any advice to give other women looking at a similar career?

I just happened into I.T. by chance but I’d say that once you’re in the industry you really learn so much. It’s a fascinating job and one with plenty of career development opportunities.

Andrea Olsen, Sales Manager, 18 months in I.T.

Andrea has been with Claritas Solutions for 18 months managing the sales and account management team to bring in new business and maintain solid relationships with existing clients.

What made you decide to go into I.T.?

I.T. found me! I previously worked in the healthcare sector for 10 years and needed a new challenge.

What do you enjoy about working in I.T.?

Being part of a team that provides solutions to varied and interesting organisations from SME’s to some of the largest National enterprises and even government sectors. I.T. is at the heart of every organisation so I enjoy assisting Claritas in being an integral part of the company’s I.T. team. The nature of the job requires keeping up to date with emerging technologies and I enjoy being at the forefront of the latest developments. I also enjoy being exposed to so many different industries. It makes my position varied and interesting.

Do you have any advice for other women looking at a similar career?

Don’t be intimidated by the I.T. industry being dominated by males or be under the false impression that it is dull. Being at the forefront of technology is far from it! Also in an era when cybersecurity is becoming more of a threat to us all every day, being part of an industry that is constantly developing new ways to prevent this is both challenging and rewarding.

A big thanks to the Claritas ladies who have contributed to our posts and provided us with insight into the industry for women.

Something to consider is the findings of the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study Benchmarking Workforce Capacity and Response to Cyber Risk. The report recently forecast that the industry is on pace to reach a cybersecurity workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022, a 20% increase over the forecast made in 2015.

In light of this news, it’s clear that it’s now more crucial than ever that I.T. draws in the brightest brains and we want to encourage more women to take on this challenge. Moving into the industry could just be the next step in your career.

Need more advice? Talk to us on social media.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Why now is the right time for Women in I.T.

News in recent weeks has put women in the spotlight when it comes to the I.T. industry. Assessing the space in a recent survey, KPMG & Harvey Nash stated that still only 10% of the I.T. workforce globally are women. But times could well be changing.

Some countries are undoubtedly outperforming others in this area, for example, in the UK the figure is just over 20%. Additionally, in 2016, more female CIOs received a pay rise than their male counterparts - a first for the industry and a significant indicator of a positive future to come.

The recent survey found this result reflected in not just one area, but appeared to be the case across many sectors, including financial services/banking and business/professional services.

The I.T. and tech industries respectively have, in the past, been seen as a very male dominated space. We know this to be different at Claritas and the truth appears to be finally coming out - there are fantastic women in I.T., have been for some time, and will be more and more moving forward. We as a company want to encourage more women to enter the industry and we want to dispel any preconceived notions.

So, let’s talk to some of them. This week and next we’ll be speaking with the ladies of Claritas both development and management side, discussing the reasons why now is a great time to work in the industry.

Jackline M'Arimi, Software Developer, 7 years in I.T.

What made you decide to go into I.T.?

Technology seemed to be the way forward for most industries, at the time when I was making my University major choices, most companies were starting to integrate their business processes with new automated technology. Software was the one commonality in all systems. This sparked an interest in knowing how to program a system to perform actions and an interest in seeing an idea translated into a working system.

What do you enjoy about working in I.T.?

The potential to keep learning new technologies and possibility to work within different industries made I.T. one of the best career decisions yet. I mean you could be working in I.T. within government, health, gas & oil, environment - the possibilities are endless.

What would you say to encourage more women to go into I.T. as their chosen career path? Do you have any advice to give other women looking at a similar career?

I.T. is not scary, it’s one career that has potential to progress in numerous paths. Yes, most of what people hear is that I.T. is all software programming, hardware assembly or helpdesk, but there is much more to I.T. we have tester, project managers and business analysts who all work within I.T.

Vaishali Pant, Application Test Analyst, 16 years in I.T.

What is your role at Claritas?

I have worked in I.T. for more than 16 years, starting with academics and later, moving to Software Testing.

I have been with Claritas since August 2010. I deal with all kinds of software testing. I work alongside developers to make sure that we deliver a bug free application to our clients. My role includes creating various test documents for clients and making sure what we deliver is bug free and coherent with the specification. I suspect developers may not like me at times because I am constantly trying to break the software which they’ve created!

What made you decide to go into I.T.? What do you enjoy about working in I.T.?

I always found computers interesting in college and I was lucky to get an opportunity to teach computers straight after. Later on, I decided to move on to Software Testing and I am still enjoying it very much. I have an eye for the detail and aesthetics and I think that’s the key for testing.

Do you have any advice to give other women looking at a similar career?

My advice to other women looking for a similar career would be that if you have flair and an attention to detail then it is a great career for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions, so you know the application inside out, and that’s the only way you can test it correctly. Look out for simple mistakes, developers usually focus on big issues and forget to fix the little ones!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Be yourself, be confident! One of my favourite quotes is just right to sum it up:

Be seen, be heard and be memorable in a way you can advance not just your career but the careers of the women around you.
Erin Sweeney

A great way to finish off the first instalment of our Women in I.T. series.
We’ll be back with the second instalment, discussing Sales and Financial Management in I.T.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Child safety week: Keep your child safe on the internet

The internet is an incredible resource for children, allowing them to connect, communicate, research and be creative in many ways. However children need guidance and protection when it comes to using the internet to ensure they are using it safely, legally and appropriately.

In an age where children have access to an endless number of apps and websites, it is imperative that parents teach their children how to make suitable use of the internet and avoid its potential dangers.

Claritas Solutions has 20 years’ experience in I.T. and cyber security solutions so has used its expertise to pull together these tips to help keep your children safe online:

Monitor children’s online activities

There are a number of ways parents can help protect their children online, including using parental controls with filters that can block certain sites and content. Software is also available that can highlight what websites your children are visiting. We strongly advise using these tools. You can get more information about setting up controls on different devices from the UK Safer Internet Centre and mobile providers.

Set up request games and contacts features

Adjust the setting on your child’s devices to ensure they cannot access apps and games without your permission. This can help you control the safety of your child’s activities, it can determine whether the material is age appropriate whilst also keeping you up to date with any service, email, game or website they are intending to use.

Turn off app installation and purchasing on devices

Young people’s privacy and enjoyment online can sometimes be affected by advertising and marketing schemes, which can also mean inadvertently spending money online. Our advice is to passcode protect the Installing Apps function on smartphones and tablets and restrict in-app purchases.

Check age restrictions

Familiarise yourself with the age ratings for games and apps as they can help to indicate the level and suitability of the content. Age restrictions have been set on various games, websites and social media channels for a reason. We advise that age guidelines are followed. In addition, online reviews from other parents may be helpful, if available.

Teach your child to be careful who they trust online

When your child is ready for social media make sure that only friends can see their profiles, and explain the risks of engaging with people they don’t know. Children should be taught that people who want to be their friend or follow them online may not be who they seem to be, and may present a danger. Children should be encouraged to chat online to real world friends and family only. Regularly reviewing lists of friends and removing unwanted contacts is a useful step.

Restrict the hours that children can use the internet

By limiting the time children spend online you can make sure you are around to monitor their usage. This also has the added benefit that it is healthier to restrict how much time children spend looking at screens.

Discuss the limits of sharing personal information

It is important that children are aware that many websites and apps allow anybody to access the information that they have posted. Children should be taught that when using the internet, it is important to keep personal information safe and not share it with strangers. That includes anything that identifies the child, the family, the school, telephone numbers, address, birthdays and family photos. Turning off the camera in games that are accessed over the internet is also advisable.

Keep the lines of communication open

Talk to your child about what they’re doing online and discuss the importance of reporting inappropriate conversations, messages, images and behaviours. Encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone is pestering or bullying them online to enable you to intervene as quickly as possible. Parents should inform the police and the child’s school if any inappropriate activity is suspected.

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