In this guest blog Beverley Bryant, director of digital transformation at NHS Digital and winner of the Women in IT Awards Digital Leader of the Year award, discusses how tech careers can help people to create solutions for problems they care about.
I didn’t start my career in technology – I did a degree in Japanese and started out as a translator. I moved into my technology career to fulfil a desire to bring about change and to deliver innovative and creative solutions to problems.
Working in health means that I can use my skills to make the NHS a better place for both staff and patients. That’s what gets me up in the morning and what keeps me going throughout the day.
There is so much scope in technology careers, particularly within the NHS. Over recent years I have seen the numbers of talented women entering the sector rise, but it has taken a bit longer for us to see a real critical mass of women in leadership positions.
I am thrilled to say that is changing and I am proud particularly of the inspiring and innovative women we have working at NHS Digital. These leaders are empowering a new generation of female talent and they are demonstrating that our services work better when they are designed and delivered by a diverse group of people.
Our workforce come from a wide range of professions and backgrounds: architects, data scientists, business analysts and release managers work alongside UX designers, commercial experts, strategists and statisticians. Our current work on the development of NHS.uk is a melting-pot of creativity.
For the technology sector to continue to thrive and innovate, it is essential that women play a greater role in decision making and product development. Real innovation comes when you bring different ideas and ways of working together. You can’t achieve transformative change if you only have one demographic (usually men, aged between 40 and 60) sitting around the table.
I am passionate about supporting the women in my own organisation to progress, and to nurture and encourage talent wherever I find it. It’s important for leaders to regularly reflect and think about when they last shared their experience or offered a ladder up to somebody else. That continual cycle of growth and development means that good people stay and become the leaders of tomorrow.
One of the practical things I have done is to get involved in Healthtech Women, an independent group set up to support women in health technology careers. In NHS Digital we also have a growing and thriving Women’s Network, offering support and development and a space to share ideas at all levels.
But this change isn’t just about women. Another thing I have been delighted about at NHS Digital is that both men and women enthusiastically recognise each other’s contribution and that people are genuinely judged on the talent, commitment and unique perspectives that they bring to the table, regardless of gender or any other demographic.
I hope that awards like Women in Technology and articles like this, help women to see that technology careers are a great choice. They offer scope for advancement; enable you to solve real world problems; and allow for some serious problem solving and creativity. Even better, working in health and care technology gives us a unique opportunity to work on national systems that will touch all our lives and will make the NHS work better for everyone.
All of this adds up to make NHS Digital an inspiring, creative, technologically driven and people oriented organisation.