This month we have an interesting blog post from Jade who is the Managing Director of HIROLA Group. Below she talks about her amazing journey from Graphic Design to Tech!
If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d be Managing Director of a tech company at aged 29, I wouldn’t have believed you. Firstly because I never set out to be 'the boss' when it came to my career, and secondly because my interests initially lay in design. Why would a woman like me ever be interested in tech-y things like coding and UX?
Oh, how wrong I was. Today, I'm the MD of app and web development company HIROLA Group, heading up a team of developers, coders, UK and UI designers, and account managers. Yet a decade ago I was just starting out on my career as a Graphic Designer. So what happened, and how did I get here?
I began my career working as a Junior Graphic Designer in London, both for agencies and in-house for a variety of different businesses. I loved it, but I didn’t yet have a degree in it. So to expand my knowledge and understanding of the conceptual thinking behind design, I decided to head to uni to study graphic design so that I could continue my career armed with the technical skills needed to stay on top.
Working in graphic design exposes you to a range of disciplines, including the need to keep up with the latest tech advances. I found myself becoming increasingly intrigued with the tech behind many of the designs I was working on. During my last year of university we could choose our own project to focus on. Mine was very technology focused, based around the idea of creating an interactive menu for customers in restaurants. It involved designing a touch screen and I was lucky enough to present the idea at my end of degree show. The project really sparked something in me, so on graduating from the course I knew I wanted to create design which had more dimensions than what print could offer. It meant I couldn't see myself going back into the traditional type of graphic design jobs which I'd come from.
Getting to grips with industry evolutions was the most enjoyable part of my graphic design career and my new found interest in the tools behind it spurred me on to combine these interests. These days, we live our lives through digital platforms (I don’t know anyone who would leave the house without their mobile), and I began to realise that knowing how to code and good design were two parts of the same whole. To put it bluntly, in our modern world a lack of technological know-how hinders good design, and vice versa.
And so very quickly I found myself transitioning from traditional graphic design into a mobile designer role at HIROLA Group. To do this I had to grasp the fundamentals of code, and fast: needless to say, it was a baptism of fire. I convinced my interviewers that they needed someone from a design background to make their apps valuable to consumers. I was a novice, and I took a risk. But I knew there was no way of gaining the technical skills needed for app development other than to throw myself into a job whose specification absolutely required a certain level of fluency in this area.
This involved a few months’ of late nights, extra studying and self doubt, but I got there. Tech moves at lightning speed, and I didn’t want to get left behind.
After nearly four years at HIROLA Group my passion for the industry has grown immensely. My hard graft paid off: I'm now the Managing Director of the company, something of which I'm immensely proud and which without doubt has been the highlight of my career to date. I'm helping build technology that feels new and exciting, particularly compared to the more static outputs of traditional graphic design. I’m sure I’m not the only woman in this sector who loves the feeling of being at the heart of something that’s changing the way in which individuals and communities interact with the world.
There have nevertheless been challenges, especially as a leader. The dawn of apps made waves across all sectors. App-based offerings have been disrupting consumer monopolies and I was part of a team building them. But, recently, other technological advancements have started to steal the limelight. Consumer friendly, cost-effective connected devices, as well as an acceleration in the accessibility of VR and AR means that developers are having to up their game. Tech (and therefore coding) is expanding beyond computer screens and smart phones to wearable objects and real-world experiences. It’s incredibly exciting, but also daunting.
Companies like mine were the original "digital disrupters", but that doesn't make us immune from further disruption. Organisations like HIROLA, who had for many years felt ahead of the curve, have recently had to upskill to ensure we could offer clients (and their customers) what they wanted. As MD I have to make sure that we’re working as quickly and innovatively as possible. We are always thinking on our feet, and coding and design still go hand in hand every step of the way. Thanks to my professional background, I’m able to handle this.
I never saw myself as a leader in this sphere, but I genuinely believe that if you have a passion for something, whether it's design or dance, there are fascinating ways in which you can combine that interest with tech. I’d really like to use my perspective to help girls and women realise their potential and how they can get involved in the tech space. It can sound like a difficult impenetrable industry to an outsider - but it's actually a fast paced, welcoming and exciting world to be part of.
I’m expecting my first baby in September, and I’m looking forward to becoming a tech mum! I want to teach my children that this sector is as varied as the people who work in it, and everyone can build a career in tech if they want. In this world, the opportunities are limitless, so long as you stay agile and grab every opportunity that comes along. I can’t wait for the adventures yet to come.
Jade Warrington is Managing Director of HIROLA Group. She is expecting a baby boy in September.
This month we have a special blog post from Edyta who was one of the competition winners for our Women of Silicon Roundabout 2017 conference passes. Read on for the full low-down on what took place that day...
“You can’t choose what happens to you in life, you only choose how you respond.” These words by Jody Davids Global CIO @ PepsiCo stuck with me ever since after the conference. Her heartbreaking story received standing ovations, and what touched me the most during her talk, was her unbreakable spirit, she was standing there strong like a warrior - to prove that it does not matter what happens to you in life, however sad and painful, all that matters is the way you respond to these events. As it will shape you as a person. So keep your faith and work hard. Life shapes leadership indeed.
Women of Silicon Roundabout is not just any conference, it is a life-changing event, it is getting inspired by the journeys the more senior of us have already travelled, it is getting to know other like-minded women, and it is us getting together and making a change, right there, right now, for the next generations of female technologists have it easier and are able accomplish even more during their lifetimes.
What is the most impactful about this event was the wide range of expertise. You will meet the women of all levels, such as Managing Director of ThoughtWorks, for example, who gave the speech on how to market yourself and improve your communication skills. Not the usual story you would expect to hear from a MD, but that is why it was so powerful. She was talking about struggling with confidence and despite the fact she reached this level of seniority, her fears are not any different than mine.
One of the most uplifting moments of the conference happened when Lucia Pino-Garcia, Head of Global Investment Management EMEA Technology at J.P. Morgan, brought with her to the stage not only so much of positive energy, but also a crew of her female technologists. Lucia shared her inspirational story, and then each of the team contributed with the advice they would give their younger selves.
As a developer, I was naturally bound to attend the technical track as well. I went to two hands-on workshops and learnt about the new technologies from Google and PwC. Google’s workshop on transfer learning with TensorFlow showed one approach to the hot topic of machine learning. During the workshop, we explored how to leverage pre-trained models to learn on much less data, and we trained our python-based application to recognise famous landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace or London Eye. Did you know the technology of this type could also recognise the skin cancer?!
Probably one of the most intriguing titles on the conference agenda, and one not to be missed by people curious about the future, was the workshop by PwC on how technology will disrupt our future. We worked in groups to build a project that combines various emerging technologies from IoT through AI, to Data and Analytics. My team successfully built the temperature telling tool.
Finally, as Alexa owner and big fun of voice assistants, I went all curious to hear about a Telegraph Story told by Solution Architect there, Francesca Cuda. She shared the recent statistics and proved that personal digital assistants are on the rise. But also she showed the other side to the story, they are still quite limited in what can do, and on my question to how can we develop them further, Francesca said it is up to us, developers, to go and play with them and keep changing the world!
All in all, truly inspiring experience, beautiful venue, beautiful weather and beautiful content and beautiful people. I cannot thank enough Code First: Girls for enabling me to be the part of this event. Already looking forward to next year’s!
This month we were lucky enough to have a guest blog post from CF: G alumni and previous CF: G Programmes Associate Beverley Newing. Read on for the full low-down...
A few days ago, as the last session of the Oxford CF:G Python was coming up, I realised that it’s now been roughly a year since I finished my CF:G HTML/CSS course. So to celebrate, I’ve written up my coding journey, the challenges of switching into tech, and some tips!
What Has My Tech Transition Been?
I started out working for Code First: Girls last January, and stayed there for 7 months. I then switched to a Web Developer Internship at Zooniverse, a citizen science research platform that’s based at the University of Oxford - an internship that was actually advertised in the Code First: Girls newsletter! When that ended, I went over to Oxford Computer Consultants, to do another paid Front End Internship, which is where I am now.
What Were the Challenges of Switching to Tech?
It’s worth bearing in mind that there is a lot to learn. I used to get a bit overwhelmed, and still do sometimes. You do have to work hard to make the switch, and it was more work than I’d expected - and at times knew. Someone once pointed out that I was trying to make up for a 3 year degree that I didn’t have though, and that helped me get everything in perspective. I now always try to focus more on enjoying the journey, rather than being frustrated at not being a Junior Developer yet. It became easier when I embraced that.
Over the past year, I’ve learnt a lot through the various opportunities and experiences that I’ve had. Here are some of the key things that helped me keep going:
Lastly, one of the most important things is helping each other. Help out on CF:G courses, share your knowledge with family and friends and do things like write blogs about what you’ve learnt. This reinforces your own knowledge whilst helping others. It also boosts your confidence, and has been one of the most important things for me this year.
The Pros of Switching into Tech
It has been hard, but I’m so glad I did. I find working as a developer incredibly empowering. I get given small problems and I solve them. I go home at the end of the day knowing that I fixed things and have tangible examples to prove to myself that I can succeed at things. I’ve also found that a by-product of spending my day job working on my problem-solving skills is that I feel better about making decisions and solving issues in other parts of my life.
If you would like to ask me anything about any of this, you can find me on Twitter at @WebDevBev. I’d lastly like to say a big thank you to Level39, who hosted the Code First: Girls course that I first learnt to code on and a huge thank you to Code First: Girls, who started me off on this path.
This month we have a guest blog post from our lucky Tesco Labs tour competition winner, Janis Wong! Read on to get the full low down of her awesome tour of Tesco Labs...
As the winner of the Code First: Girls’ competition, I won the amazing opportunity to visit Tesco Labs in Welwyn Garden City to find out more about how the historic company is transforming itself as an innovator within the industry.
Led by Sophie Caley, a product manager at Tesco Labs, she gave me a tour around the space and explained how technology has transformed in the past decade. From mock supermarket shelves to the latest virtual reality headset, the Lab was fully stocked with equipment to help Tesco find out how to best serve its customers through technology.
Although the Lab was established less than a decade ago, it has become a core part of the supermarket giant’s work. When speaking to Sophie, I was most interested by the human element of her work. Whether it is running a crazy brainstorm session with her team or collaborating closely with family testers for product trials, I appreciate how the company wants to put out high quality, tried-and-tested tools that truly benefit its customers.
Particularly for companies such as Tesco, where customers interact with them on a daily basis, it is often easy for us to forget about the whole operation and infrastructure that is used to run its stores. Behind the shelves are people from all disciplines who come together to ensure that everyone’s needs are satisfied as far as possible. From the technology perspective, this means figuring out where new products should be placed on shelves, how the website software can be made more accessible, and what new accessories can be developed to make the customer shopping experience more enjoyable.
Whilst people may be wary of adopting new technology, Tesco Labs firmly believe that new innovations can make our lives easier and more interesting. For me personally, it was an incredible experience to be able to better understand the direction that Tesco Labs is going and to learn more about how the company works with third parties to create exciting, new products. Instead of trying to replace the well-functioning mechanisms we currently have, Tesco prides itself in filling in the gaps to build creations both big and small, making our shopping, homes, and our lives more connected.
Once again, thank you to Code First: Girls and Tesco Labs for giving me this opportunity to see how the company is transforming how people use technology for the better!
This month the CF:G team got to speak to the awesome Sophie Caley of Tesco Labs. Read on to find out more about Tesco Labs and how a 100 year old company can evolve to keep up with huge changes taking place in technology.
So, what’s your name?
And what do you do?
Product Manager, Tesco Labs
Can you tell us a little about your career, and how you came to do what you do?
I’d class myself as a wildcard in the tech world, although I’ve worked in IT since leaving school at 15. Aged 21 I chose to completely change direction in my career, and pursued a BSc in Industrial Design. Just 4 days after my degree show I started as the first in-house industrial designer at Tesco - a position which focussed on producing industry leading equipment to transport and display stock. After 6 years as Lead Designer, I moved to Tesco Labs to begin an exciting product management position researching and developing concepts for connected homes, stores of the future and robots.
So Tesco Labs sounds exciting! Can you tell us more about Tesco Labs and the sort of projects you work on?
It is exciting! The work I do really looks at the part that technology will play for our customers in the future, considering how things such as online shopping, home delivery or even interactions with our colleagues may evolve. We’re always looking for ways in which we can help our colleagues and customers - as we say, every little helps!
You joined us for our awesome annual conference this year for a panel about the good and challenging impact tech has on society. What tech are you most currently excited and worried about?
I’m really excited about voice control and pre-empting daily tasks with smart services and devices. I believe we will see a boom in evolved smart hubs such as Amazon Echo and Google home, plus the natural adoption of services such as IFTTT to unlock manipulation of new devices within the home.
As for my concerns I’d have to say that people worry far too much about the changes that technology may bring about! It’s my opinion that in order to be able to use smart technology we need to be less fearful of people trying use disruptive technology against us. For example, people worry that connected door bells or cameras will highlight you are not at home and encourage more break ins. It’s my opinion that you can knock on somebody’s front door or watch their house to establish this and a smart device does not increase this but may actually act as a deterrent.
Can you tell us a bit about how Tesco Labs helps to keep Tesco on the cutting edge of retail?
Tesco Labs forms the research element of Tesco’s Technology division. Within our team, we aim to build a culture of innovation, inspiring and enabling colleagues from all over the business to think about new ways of doing things. We explore and experiment with the latest developments in technology to improve our customers’ experience, and ensure that our colleagues have the tools they need to do the best job they can.
What new innovations can we look forward to at Tesco?
We’re currently exploring the possibilities within the connected home space - one great example of this is our channel on If This Then That (IFTTT.com), which allows our customers to create triggers to assist with their online shop - for instance, if the price of milk drops, then add it to my basket.
If someone wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them on how to get started?
There is no single “right” way to get into a job like this, but the one thing I would say is that if you feel passionately about technology, it’s never too early or too late to explore the opportunities available. Go along to events, network, meet others in a similar position to you, or even look for a mentor - technology is a very community-minded industry, and the best first step you can take is to make sure you’re part of it.
Tesco Labs also take on grads and have some great opportunities available in tech. Could you tell us a little more about these and how people can find out some more?
Tesco offers positions for school leavers, apprentices and graduates as well as summer internships. If you’d like to join us the best thing to do is check out www.tesco-earlycareers.com - but if you see us at an event, come and say hi too!
Thanks so much Sophie! It's been great speaking with you.
To celebrate Tesco's amazing support of CF:G and getting more women into tech, Sophie has kindly offered to meet one of our community and give then a VIP guided tour of Tesco labs and a mentor coffee session to help you bounce ideas on anything tech career related (how to get into tech, what it's like as an industry, what should you do to be spotted by recruiters etc.)!
To be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize, just tweet us @codefirstgirls with an answer to the question 'what question would you most want to ask Sophie about tech' including the text '@codefirstgirls @tescolabs' in the tweet.
Closing date for entries is Weds 21st Dec, and we'll be drawing the winner in the new year!
Want to know what happened at our Code First: Girls Hack Your Career in Media Tech event on Thursday 8th December? Now you can, thanks to our Community Blogger Catherine Heath, originally posted here. You can read more posts on tech and B2B on the Away with Words blog here.
CF: G were kindly hosted by ITV for this exciting panel event with guest speakers from The Guardian, Unruly, Tech Crunch, Global Radio and ITV to explore the many career opportunities available in MediaTech.
If you want a top up of confidence to help you on your way to becoming the next tech superstar, look no further than a Code First: Girls event.
Always super informal, they go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome and keep on growing their amazing network for women in tech.
Another fantastic evening from Code First: Girls, the event focused on how women can hack their career in media tech and featured a panel of incredible speakers.
Steve O’Hear, journalist at TechCrunch, shared his insights on how to become a tech journalist.
David Henderson, Director of Technology & Operations at Global Radio, described how he built his career in radio engineering.
Claire Roberts from advertising agency Unruly is Product Manager and she enlightened attendees on how she got to where she is today.
Jennifer Savapalan is Developer Manager at Guardian News & Media. She told us about their new digital talent programme and gave tips on how to become a developer.
The panel was moderated by Faz Aftab, Online Commercial Director, ITV.
ITV were the hosts of the evening, and very emphatic about their support for diversity in media tech.
DEFINITION OF MEDIA TECH
First, the panel discussed what media tech actually means.
The internet has revolutionised the news, and instead of newspapers, we now have news media.
“Tech has changed the way we tell stories,” says Steve, which makes sense considering he works at technology news site TechCrunch.
Stories are immediate, and no longer require as much planning and teamwork as they did in the heyday of print. Now, a story can be picked up and published online within the hour.
“It’s getting the right content on the right channel in front of the right audience,” says Claire, who works at online advertising agency Unruly.
CHALLENGES IN MEDIA TECH
One of the biggest issues in media tech today is how to monetize online content, and the closing of The Independent print newspaper in March underscores the difficulty that print media has in generating revenue.
However, Steve argues that news stories weren’t making money for a long time, and it was the listings pages in newspapers that attracted audiences. When they migrated online to the likes of Craigslist, Gumtree, and Autotrader, newspapers became less relevant.
Now, online news outlets must monetize themselves with ads, but this raises discussions about the tendency of audiences to want to avoid advertising. This makes no rational sense, as advertising is enabling the consumption of free content.
The answer is better advertising, and that is just what Unruly is working on. Their software shows consumers adverts based on their emotional responses rather than the typical demographic criteria used such as age, location or gender.
Media tech, as with all areas of tech, are constantly being disrupted, and the next big challenge to deal with is the way that algorithms determining social profiling are changing the way we consume news.
This means that social media sites like Facebook curate your news feed based on your past interactions, and the chronological timeline is no more.
Changes to Google’s search algorithms such as local listings, the increasing prominence of adverts over the organic search results, and rich results that mean users don’t even need to click through to websites, are threatening the traditional model of organic search traffic.
Media companies can no longer expect that users will visit their own websites. Social media sites on mobile host internal articles to prevent users from navigating away from the platforms to external websites.
HOW TO WORK IN MEDIA TECH
This means that all media companies have to be savvier and more adaptable than ever. If women are planning a career in media tech, they need to demonstrate their continual desire and willingness to learn.
“A modern online tech journalist must be multi-faceted,” says Steve.
Of course, women in tech is a much-discussed topic and the fact of the matter is that women are still underrepresented in the industry.
Dave says, “My tech team was 95% male, and it didn’t feel right. The best tech firms empower the right people to do their job. It’s hard to find the right tech talent, even in media.”
As well as discussing the Guardian Digital Fellowship, which encourages new developers to join the Guardian’s Digital department, Jennifer says, “You don’t have to have a computer science background.” You simply need to be interested in the user’s needs, and keep learning.
As well as encouraging more women to enter the tech industry, we also need to work hard to keep them there.
The answer is mentoring, says Faz. Women must seek both male and female mentors to help them build the confidence they need to succeed in the competitive tech industry.
CODE FIRST: GIRLS’S MISSION
And that’s exactly what Code First: Girls set out to do.
They encourage women to enter the tech industry by hosting free and paid coding courses and, in the process, give their students and alumni access to their impressive industry networks.
The influence of Code First: Girls is growing as they continue to collaborate with some of the most exciting businesses, in the UK including The Guardian and ITV, as well as companies like LinkedIn, Twitter and ASOS, to deliver amazing events and courses.
Check out the Code First: Girls Alumni Wall of Fame to see what some of their former students have gone on to achieve.
Or, have a browse of my curated list of free coding groups for women in the UK.
Did you enjoy this post? Contact me at email@example.com to commission me to write for your company’s blog.
This blog post was originally written and published on the We Rock Tech blog here by CF: G Community blogger Catherine Heath.
We hope you were able to make it to yet another fantastic conference by Code First: Girls. If not, we’ve got this awesome write up for you to find out what went on.
The mission of Code First: Girls is to inspire more women to enter into technology and entrepreneurship.
Whether you’re looking to become a developer, want to work in startups, a big tech company or just want to see whether it could be for you, the conference gave an insight into the amazing developments happening in technology, as well as information on how to break your way in.
In this spirit, the day featured a number of impressive industry speakers. There were also pitches from companies who are actively seeking to inspire more women into tech.
It was an action-packed day with motivational speeches, insightful panel discussions, illuminating tech talks, as well as networking and a chance to hear from tech companies about what they look for in candidates.
Many industry greats were there, including representatives from Twitter, Tesco, WorldPay, Shazam, Improbable, ThoughtWorks, News UK, PwC, among many others.
Luciana Carvalho, founder of SE Solutions, talked about narratives of self in Virtual Reality and how VR can change people’s lives outside of games. She touched on VR’s power to create empathy for others.
Heather Lauren of Founders & Coders talked to attendees about how to get their first job in tech.
Big players in finance discussed the future of money in relation to tech. Makis Otman & Daisy Molving from 8th Light gave a talk on "The Elixir of Joy", introducing beginners to Elixir as a great programming language to learn.
Technology - a Ticking Timebomb?
Several speakers, including Eleanor Harding from Twitter, Ben Aung from the Cabinet Office, Sophie Caley from Tesco Labs participated in a panel about "Technology - a Ticking Timebomb?". It was moderated by Kirsty Styles from Tech North.
Discussions included how the most shared story during the Trump/Clinton elections was a fake news article. This raised questions about the responsibility of technology companies to promote the truth.
The issue of consent and technology being so widespread means we could be doing more to ensure people have given their permission to become users. We’re so dependent on technology, that a power outage across the United States resulted in lots of people being unable to live their lives properly for a couple of days.
On the other hand, technology enables freedom of speech, and the better the technology becomes, the more invisible it feels. Technology will change how the government legislates, and is already enabling collaboration between civil servants across the country. This results in better laws and more efficiency.
Above all, “Let technology take you closer to where you want to be,” says Eleanor Harding from Twitter.
Jade Daubney from ThoughtWorks
Jade Daubney from ThoughtWorks advises everyone to develop their self belief. “This is your turn to do what you want to do, and learn how to be a woman in tech who’s brave enough and strong enough to follow her own path,” Jade says. “Every month, 36 new roles appear in technology.”
She talked in depth about how to start your career in tech. She recommends building your network by attending conferences and meetups like this one.
“Networking is not schmoozing. It’s finding a connection and someone you can trust. It’s not about you - it’s about them. The most important thing about networking is finding common interests.”
What’s holding you back
Good Girl Syndrome is where women are afraid to rock the boat at work. Now, with the gender pay gap, from now until the end of the year, women are working for free. Jade recommends speaking up at work if you think something should change.
When it comes to getting a job, don’t underestimate the power of the cover letter. It should add something different to your application to your CV and provide an insight into the type of person you are. If you’ve attended other tech-related activities, like hackathons, include these on your CV too!
Imposter Syndrome is also common in women. No matter how much you achieve, you still feel unqualified. Women are too apologetic about their achievements and they need to embrace bragging more.
To get over Imposter Syndrome, ask someone to look at your CV before you send it anywhere to check you’re not underselling yourself. If you’re invited to do something, remind yourself that you are good enough!
Actually talk about your fears to other people, which will lessen their power. Jade reminds us, “The best things happen outside your comfort zone.”
The day was hosted at Twitter Headquarters in London and supported by many kind sponsors,including Twitter, Tesco, WorldPay, Shazam, Improbable, ThoughtWorks, News UK, & PwC.
Don’t worry if you missed it an edited video of the entire conference will be added to the CF: G website shortly courtesy of our Media Partner Intelligent Crowd TV! Watch this space! In the meantime check out the #CFGConf16 hashtag from the day, and the Periscope live stream of the talks.
CF: G have loads of events on throughout the year which you can find listed here .
So this month the CF:G team and community got some very special freebies from the awesome team at DogWoof who are the distribution company for Werner Herzog and his new movie 'Lo and Behold'.
It's a pretty amazing movie, and looks at the good and potentially bad impact of tech on society (exactly the theme of our upcoming CF:G Annual conference opening keynote - we think Werner might have copied it from us, but we like him so it's cool).
As part of our activities with them, they gave us loads of cool freebies. These included special tickets to the online premiere and Q&A with Herzog itself, as well as invites for a special screening of the movie with House of Vans including a Q&A after with our very own CF:G CEO Amali de Alwis.
The movie itself covers loads of very current topics in tech from AI through to trolling and robotics. If you're interested in tech, it is definitely worth a watch (out in cinemas now), and some of our CF:G community (thanks Aseel and Kornelia!) who managed to nab some of those those freebie tickets have kindly written some short reviews of the film below as well. Hope you enjoy and happy viewing!
Review of : “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” by Kornelia Szabo.
I was extremely happy when I heard from Code First: Girls that I won tickets to watch Werner Herzog’s new movie to watch at home. Although I watched the trailer before the movie, I did not feel it spoilt it for me as so many trailers do. The film itself consisted of 10 parts, that turns out to be just how the story unfolded itself. Each part discussed a different era and perspective regarding our connected world where nowadays everything is Internet and technology based, meanwhile some people chooses to switch off on purpose.
It was very interesting to learn more about the history of the web, to see historical figures and places where it all started and to put all this into a bigger perspective. It was also very fascinating to see that during such a short period of time how much technology improved and what possibilities to future might hold. We might forget about how connected we are nowadays and how much we rely on technology and not longer than 50 years ago, the Internet, smartphones and all this was just a crazy sci-fi idea. The discussion at the end of the movie was very interesting too, especially to get a better insight what motivators and ideas were present when Werner Herzog created this excellent piece of work.
Review of : “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” by Aseel Mustafa.
The indelible impact that “Lo & Behold” had on me started the moment I sat down to watch the film streaming simultaneously as it premiered at the London Film Festival. I have streamed movies many a times but this was my first experience with an at home virtual ticket; therefore, I was already predisposed to a feeling of cheesy admiration to the web and what it can do for us, which was the perfect mindset for the screening.
The opening of the movie alludes back to October 1969 when the first host to host message was successfully sent, that opening was powerful enough to put into perspective how much we take a not-so-mature technological advancement for granted, translation: feeling less entitled to my melt down when my calendar didn’t sync properly across my Wi-Fi enabled devices and ended up messing my whole week!
“if we would burn CDs of the world wide data flow for one single day and stack them up in a pile it would reach up to Mars and back” that visual was overwhelming! The movie had a very emotional message; a very doom and gloom one and as I watched, I got more engrossed by all the issues that the internet and its extremities were causing: from bringing the worst in people by allowing bullying to have a much wider reach and protection, to internet addiction to “faraday cage” and super sense illness; and on a research level on radio astronomy and the ability to detect the sun activities and its implications. And mostly how dependent we are on the Internet to the point that only a few will survive if there was ever an apocalyptic Internet shutdown!
Being fully aware that this is an artistic piece (subjective documentary!) that it will definitely have some bias to it, that it never touched on how the internet and its applications such as cloud technologies have offered people in all areas of the world financial and medical services that better the lives of millions!
In the end: being lost in my own conviction, I hadn’t noticed that it triggered so much in me to go investigate about a plethora of topics from laws governing autonomous cars and A.I. in general, people’s privacy rights on the internet which I never knew dies upon a person’s passing away! How the laws need to be revised; to more scientific topics such as solar flares and radio frequency interference, even the law of large numbers! The film’s emotional treatment opened my eyes to all that comes with this life-altering technology that need to be addressed with more awareness…
Nugget for security enthusiasts: “people are the weakest link in security; people not the technology!”
Want to know what happened at our Code First: Girls Hack Your Career with Accenture event on Thursday 22nd September? Now you can, thanks to our Community Blogger Catherine Heath, originally posted here. You can read more posts on tech and B2B on the Away with Words blog here.
CF: G teamed up with Accenture and ran a great panel and speed networking event with Accenture experts working in technology, to help our community learn more about the many exciting career opportunities available at Accenture.
I was happy to make a flying visit to London last night to attend the latest instalment of the Code First: Girls event series, Hack your career with Accenture.
Previously, the events have focused on themes like fintech, travel tech, fashion tech and cyber security. This time, it was laser-focused on what it’s like to work at global technology consultancy, Accenture.
Aside from being perpetually confused about how to pronounce the name of this, well, behemoth, I really had no idea what they did until this evening. It turns out, technology consulting, so that means providing expert advice for their global clients on technological change.
My only brush with Accenture has previously been knowing a friend of a friend who works there, and indeed the event was focused a lot on recruiting for their grad scheme. I probably wouldn’t be a good fit for their scheme as a tech blogger, but their commitment to promoting diversity in technology was very inspiring.
We heard from a panel of about ten speakers of which the majority were women and everyone was universally positive about working there. Whilst this could well have been scripted, you can tell when enthusiasm is genuine and it certainly sounds like an amazing place to work.
Technology is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives and organisations need to embrace change or get left behind. There’s hardly anything worse than lagging along with outdated systems, risking all sorts of security breaches and hindering basic operations.
Accenture’s focus is on the teamwork of their people to innovate and find the best solutions for their clients – a model that is certainly working very well.
It was also good to hear about their piloting an apprenticeship scheme for workers in technology that doesn’t require a degree. I’m very passionate about inclusion, and making sure that alternative educational paths (other than higher education) are promoted more, especially in more hands-on careers such as software engineering.
Once again, it was lovely to see so many faces who had attended other Code First: Girls coding courses and who were dedicated to their professional development. Someone was even there who was due to start their undergraduate course at Warwick next week, which I consider extremely committed!
Like most grad schemes, places are of course very competitive with an online application, video interview and then assessment centre required before an offer is made, Accenture sounds like a wonderful place to work.
Accenture is hiring!
Ready for an adventure? Accenture are looking for future leaders. Idea generators. And strategic thinkers. Put your degree and skills to work. Accenture help you build the roadmap that’s right for your career – including a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. If you have passion, a brilliant mind and an appetite to grow every day, this is the place for you.
In addition to the roles on their website, Accenture also have more immediate starting roles in their Technology Architecture programme –see here.
Learn more about beginning your journey with Accenture here.
This month the CF: G team got to catch up with Martin Osborne, one of our amazing community Instructors from one of our leading sponsors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Martin recently finished teaching on our Spring/Summer 2016 community courses, and has taught on a number of our London Community courses prior to this. We were keen to hear more about Martin's experience as an Instructor and his career in tech, read on for the full low down....
Hi Martin, thanks so much for joining us! You’ve got an impressive career trajectory in the technology sector. Could you tell us a bit more about your current role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML)?
I’m working on Quartz, which is our firm-wide risk and pricing framework. Specifically on building out the core cross-asset risk functionality to calculate risk measures across our markets businesses.
Martin, what do you most enjoy in your job?
Working to design and build our next generation of trading and risk systems makes it a really exciting time to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Financial markets are evolving at a rapid pace and the regulatory landscape continues to shift. Our technology must work consistently and efficiently across diverse markets. We’re developing technology that streamlines the process for our clients and helps us compete and comply in the marketplace. I love solving problems and developing solutions that make a big impact for clients around the world.
How did you first hear about CF: G?
BofAML proudly sponsors CF:G and we have partnered on various events. We recommend CF:G courses to students interested in working in technology, who don’t yet have a technical degree. That’s how I got involved.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer instructor?
I wanted to support CF:G in increasing the number of women working in technology. We’re committed to influencing young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and consider careers in technology.
Additionally, the topics covered on the web course are becoming increasingly important. Teaching them is a great motivator to further my own knowledge, and to learn from the other instructors.
What do you most enjoy about teaching on the courses?
Probably the most interesting part of the course is seeing what the students do with the technology they have been introduced to. The amount of time we’re able to spend actually teaching is pretty small compared to a more formal programming course. We encourage students to experiment outside of the classes, and to use existing APIs and frameworks to get things working quickly. It’s very rewarding seeing what they build after being pointed in the right direction.
Have you found transferable skills between being an instructor and the work you do at BofAML?
Definitely. I spend a lot of time at work either explaining concepts and ideas to colleagues, or working to understand their requirements. Communicating technical ideas, especially to those who are not developers themselves, crosses over to my role as an instructor.
One of the most interesting aspects of instructing is that students often bring designs they would like to implement. Frequently these are ideas for startups that have a technical component. The process of working with them to figure out what is possible, and in what timeframe, given the resources available, is very similar to how we work at BofAML.
What advice would you give to CF: G community who want to pursue careers in technology & entrepreneurship?
There’s no substitute for hands-on experience. We always encourage the students to find something ‘real’ they want to work on, as opposed to spending too long on artificial exercises. Good examples are a personal or society website, an app supporting a dissertation or coursework project, or a startup / business idea.
The process of working on something will force you to address technical problems, and can often be a catalyst for new ideas.
Code First: Girls