We live in a world connected and shaped by technology. Once considered a domain for geeks, now IT careers are becoming mainstream and seen as a cool career choice for both men and women.

This was evident recently at RMIT’s IT Careers Fair (designed by students for students). More than 450 high school students attended a panel interview, between four female team members from Telstra Operations to gain insight into ICT (Information and communications technology) careers from these inspiring role models.

For our panellists it was an opportunity to dispel some myths about IT. Here’s what they had to say:

Alex Connolly, Solution Implementation Manager

When I say I work in ICT … I get a lot of surprised faces! When I left school I thought I was going to be a fashion buyer but through some twists of fate I am now delivering server and networking solutions with Telstra.

I still have friends in fashion they only recently worked out what I do. We were discussing that brands guard their manufactures closely and would not give their contacts to anyone else in case the database was hacked. I explained that I actually build that database with the network security required to ensure that doesn’t happen. That surprised face when I explain what I do, I like that!

Geek or chic?… Neither?! I was never quite chic enough for fashion! But I don’t know if I am a geek, I did sit up the front of the uni lecture theatre though? … maybe I am just a dork?

My advice to anyone who wants a career in ICT is… follow the leaders that you believe in because there will be tough days like any job so make sure you are inspired.

Venessa Smith, Technical Graduate

Working in ICT means …. a world of endless possibilities for working with both technology and people. Using emerging technologies to drive innovation and collaborate with people from all around the world and challenging myself to find new ways of doing things and interacting with people to solve technology issues.

Geek or chic?… I feel like I am a combination of both. I love working with technology both in the workplace and in my personal life. I feel there is no real black and white line between the two and with the growing immersion of technology in our everyday lives we are all becoming more tech savvy especially when it comes to connecting with the latest trends and fashion around the world.

My advice to anyone who wants a career in ICT … take every opportunity that comes your way; you never know where it might lead you.

Anna Leibel, Business Development Executive

Working in ICT means… a fast paced, ever changing environment where I continually learn and get to meet amazing people. For me, being successful in ICT centres on the digital revolution, creating an innovative culture and value creation to accelerate business growth.

Geek or chic?… in 2015 geek = chic!!! Although at heart I am still the girl who was programming at 10 years old (thanks Dad!) … so a geek deep down who has used her IT skills to shop online to be CHIC!

My advice to anyone who wants a career in ICT is… say yes to every opportunity that comes your way as it accelerates learning. Build your own brand and know your value proposition. Voice your opinions and be creative when solving problems.

Paula Rujak, General Manager Network Technology & Innovation

Working in ICT means …. a world of endless possibilities driven by curiosity and enthusiasm. It means collaborating to deliver the capabilities that our customers need and want (and some that they don’t yet know they want), helping to create a brilliant connected future. It is about working on leading edge technology, being involved in world firsts, and innovating to meet the needs of our customers.

Geek or chic?… I am definitely a geek, with a touch of chic. I love technology, but not just for technologies sake and not if it looks awful. Technology is an integral part of our lives now and we are on the cusp of it becoming fashionable, which might help me move a little more towards chic.

My advice to anyone who wants a career in ICT is.. to be curious, passionate, confident and enthusiastic about everything you do. Don’t be afraid to grab every opportunity that comes your way, especially the ones that have some risk, as that is when you truly learn not only about the technology but also about yourself. And finally, I would recommend to simplify everything you do and to communicate it clearly & simply.