I’ve always loved the contagious optimism you often find in the technology sector – interesting humans who have a fearlessness to try, test and learn new ways of doing digital things.
I first found myself among these folks in the late ‘90s, when I lived in a tech accelerator in San Francisco during the “dot com boom”.
More than anything, this hardwired me to the potential technology has to scale change and gave me an understanding of the different types of roles in the sector – both techie and non-techie.
I’m not a software developer or systems engineer and while I was analogue at birth, I’d say I’ve become digital by design. I am passionate about working with skilled people to solve social challenges with tech, and during my career I have focused on building my skill set to enable this.
My lucky break came when I joined Telstra to lead our philanthropic foundation.
My team and I have incredible opportunities to work on tech for good initiatives that connect our social innovation strategy with Telstra’s digital agenda.
It’s exciting because one of our areas of focus is education, to help to bridge the gender skills gap in the technology sector.
We are investing in initiatives like “code clubs” for girls in schools and digital making parties focussed on building STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and digital citizenship skills in grassroots communities, classrooms and public libraries across Australia.
These initiatives are about reaching women at early stages in their careers or at university level, and to invest in generational programs.
This longer-term approach is vital, but there are also those of us who are having to develop new skills part way through our careers.
My number one piece of advice to keep up with the fast pace of tech is: whether you have traditional “techie” skills or not, focus on building these skills: creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills.
These are important 21st century skills – it’s not just about what you do but how you do it. Don’t overlook them because nowadays its less a case of you breaking into the tech sector and more a case of tech breaking into whatever you find yourself doing! You will need these skills to ride that digital wave with confidence.
Want to find out where a career in technology can take you? Visit the Telstra booth at this year’s Vogue Codes LIVE events in Melbourne.
Learn more about where a career at Telstra could take you.