The women of Metrikus: Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day
It’s no surprise that the team here at Metrikus are big advocates of tech: our entire business is built on it! That’s why celebrations such as Ada Lovelace Day are so important to us, as an opportunity to recognise the women who came before us, and to shine a light on some of the fantastic women in tech who work in our organisation every day.
Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated internationally, and recognises the women in STEM and the achievements that have been made in this field. It was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009 to increase the profile of women working in this sector; she was concerned that women working in STEM were invisible, and wanted to change this by highlighting some of the females in this field.
Who was Ada Lovelace?
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was an English writer and mathematician recognised as the first computer programmer. Where most women at this time weren’t even allowed to learn maths, Lovelace was mentored by Charles Babbage (inventor of the first computer) and flourished in the field of maths and computer science.
Without her, we wouldn’t know nearly as much as we do today about algorithms and the analytical power of computers.
We’re lucky to have a range of fantastic women who make our company what it is, and they’re constantly striving to push us even further. To celebrate Ada Lovelace Day this year, we wanted to shine a light on three women in different areas of business to get an idea of what it’s really like to be a woman in STEM, how we can tackle stereotypes, and what preconceptions they’re happy to see the back of.
Megs Tessema – Operations Director
‘I lead the operations function within Metrikus, with a key focus on delivering our solution to customers and helping them achieve ROIs. Within my role, I also help set strategic goals to further grow the business.’
Zhelini Sivanesan (Zee) – Backend Engineer
‘I’m a backend developer. I help write code to create and manage databases and APIs (as well as other services) which allow users on the internet to access the data and services that they need. Essentially, it’s all the ‘behind-the-scenes’ stuff that a user can’t see when they browse the web.’
Charlotte Laing – Head of Marketing
‘I work with the marketing team to make Metrikus the most well-known smart building brand on the planet. We work hard to make sure we highlight all of the amazing features that the tech team makes, in a way that shows our potential users how they benefit them. As well as this, a big part of our job is to spread awareness about smart buildings, and why they are good for occupants, owners and the planet!’
First things first, what can companies do to tackle the idea that tech is a man’s world?
Charlotte: For me it’s all about education. Educating people about the different roles in tech (just like this, the recent Women in Tech event by BisNow, and the work Louise Dickens at LMRE is doing), educating people about some of the challenges women face in tech to create an inclusive culture and also educating younger generations about the incredible opportunities there are in this sector and the skills you need to unlock them.
Megs: There are loads of things that companies can do to actively engage young girls in STEM subjects – it’s mainly about just showing them that technology jobs are actually achievable for women!
Zee: Like Charlotte said, educational outreach is so important. It would be great if companies from a wider range of industries were willing to send diverse representatives to schools and universities to promote different careers in tech, and maybe even host some workshops so that young women can get a feel for the industry. If we can engage girls at a young age, then it propagates all the way through allowing for a more diverse candidate pool both in terms of gender and race. A really tangible initiative is to subsidise or pay for schemes that introduce young women to coding who otherwise don’t have the means to join, like courses provided by GirlsWhoCode.
Were you ever faced with any barriers when breaking into the tech industry?
Megs: I would say that the number of female mentors is growing, which is amazing to see! However, when I was starting out in tech, I did find that there was a real lack of female mentors and colleagues for me to engage with or seek advice from – so it would be great to see this continue to shift in the next few years.
Zee: For me, actually finding tech roles that interested me was quite tricky, especially as I knew I probably wouldn’t be entering a diverse team. There’s a lot of breadth as well so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you want to do – especially as someone who doesn’t have a degree in software development or computer science!
A lot of the time, especially when you’re starting your career, employers can expect you to have an unreasonable amount of experience, or be familiar with a lot of different technologies, and sometimes this simply doesn’t match up with the salary. This can really put women off from even applying for a role in the first place, even if you know the employer doesn’t actually need those skills.
Charlotte: I’ve been very fortunate in my career so far (but not without a lot of hard work!). I always knew I wanted to work in tech because of the potential for fast growth and the amount of innovation in the industry. I was the only girl in my high school to take computing at a higher level, and I’m incredibly grateful to the school for even running the class with those little numbers! Of course there have been difficult times, but I like a challenge!
Lastly, what’s one preconception people have about working in tech that you want to change?
Zee: Weirdly enough, the main preconception that I want to change is that you have to be super into technology to work in the industry. For example, you could get into tech because you’re really interested in sports and want to help build better metric tracking functionality into smart watches. Or you could be someone who’s really into nature, and wants to build an app with popular hiking trails that also has photos and recommendations.
Coding and working with technology are just tools to help people achieve better results faster, and the breadth of industries and roles that need technological support and development is always growing. My advice to any woman who’s thinking about a career in tech is just find an industry that appeals to you and go from there!
Charlotte: I completely agree: I read a stat recently that 45% of women don’t want to work in tech because they don’t think they have the skills. I think that’s rubbish! I guess for a lot of people when they say ‘tech’ they think of the giants like Facebook, Apple and Google, and they think they need to know how to code.
I’m sure they are great companies to work for, but I want people to think more about the start ups, the potential to change the way things are done and build something from the ground up! Every type of skillset is needed in companies like that, in fact, the more varied the better! Any tech company needs HR, business analysts, marketing, design, user experience amongst so many others. Everyone has a vital part to play.
Megs: Similarly to both Charlotte and Zee, I’d change the preconception that women only suit specific roles in tech. Our company alone shows that this assumption is rubbish: we have female developers, designers and writers – to name a few! There are no ‘female tech roles’, we all have a unique set of skills.
Want to join a fast-growing tech company? Check out our current vacancies: Metrikus could be the team for you!