In this contributed article, Annabel Sunnucks, intern at CA Technologies, discusses her decision to pursue a career in technology and the advice she would give anyone considering a career in STEM.
Technology is something I have been passionate about for as long as I can remember, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to study management and IT at Lancaster University. I’m often asked why I chose this subject and the answer is simple – technology has never failed to amaze me and fortunately I have been in the right generation to be able to keep up and observe the impact that it has on the world.
For me, the most attractive aspect of technology is problem solving. Problem solving is a challenge I have always loved – from completing puzzles at home through to programming at university. The potential of where we could be in terms of technology in 50 years’ time fascinates me, and it’s exciting to know that being involved in technology allows me to take my career in any direction.
There is an unfortunate perception that a career in tech is not a typical choice for a woman, so over the years I have been asked many times who inspired me – but it’s difficult to choose just one person.
I have a lot of female role models in my family, my mother being the obvious one to look up to, but also others like my aunt who is the Director of Communications at a large technology company. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive family so my inspiration to be as successful and as happy as the women within my family has been my motivation to pursue something I love.
When it comes to women in tech, Marissa Mayer is someone I admire. Marissa’s passion and dedication has made her into a successful business woman and it’s great to see a female CEO with such influence. Since I joined CA Technologies earlier this year, I’ve been lucky enough to meet many women in leadership positions, who have also proved that technology doesn’t have to be a male-dominated industry.
I strongly believe positive female role models are important to drive interest in STEM subjects, but there is also a need for a change in the curriculum. Whilst there have been positive steps towards educating students at a younger age about technology and engineering, I still believe more can be done. Pupils develop their passion for a subject when they’re younger, which then feeds into the choices they make during higher education, because they feel more engaged and prepared.
The one piece of advice I would give any woman considering a career in STEM would be to simply go for it! Often, people assume that if you study IT at university, it means that you will then be stuck behind a computer writing code all day. But in reality, the possibilities are endless and the levels of potential are huge. STEM offers versatility that can’t be compared to any other subject area and lets you choose many different roles and paths, from a NASA Curiosity Driver to a theme park designer.
I wouldn’t want anyone at university or even in their careers to think “what if I studied a STEM subject, where would I be today?” As long as you have passion and dedication, you will succeed and STEM is no different in this regard. Whatever path you decide to take in life, it’s not an easy ride – you will need to take risks, you will face challenges and you will face rejection.
As long as you have the passion to work hard, push yourself and not let anything get in your way, you will be successful – your gender has nothing to do with it.