Skye Wu working at her desk at Telstra
Advice | Telstra Careers |

My advice for female techies looking to grow their career

By Skye Wu June 8, 2020

In recent decades, women in the tech industry have made great strides in overcoming biases in the workplace and in hiring practices.

Like many industries today, the tech sector is providing more and more opportunities for women to build their own careers. My own journey at Telstra is a testament to that.

Overcoming personal and professional challenges

My main personal challenge is one I was unfortunately born with: self-doubt, self-defeat and self-sabotage. This continued on through high school, university and long afterward where I would sometimes turn down opportunities and say no unless I was completely sure I could do a job. I would put myself down believing it was a sign of modesty.

But this internal dialogue was also mirrored in my surroundings. At university, I was discouraged from pursuing a career in tech specialising in digital forensics as it’s a very male-dominated industry.

To be taken seriously and accepted as an equal to my male counterparts in the same role has been a long, hard road. But the moments where I took a leap and dove into the unknown was where I experienced the most personal development and growth.

It really took a great leader to recognise my abilities. They were able to prod me in the right way, get me to move out of my comfort zone and believe in myself.

My advice for women in tech

It’s really important to build yourself a solid support network, seek out industry events and join industry groups. There is the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) and the Australian Women in Security Network Cadets (AWSN Cadets). There are many experienced men and women who are supportive of new talent entering the industry. Networking will help you connect.

Be open to new opportunities, even if people, or your own inner voice, are telling you “no.” A very wise industry influencer once told me, “if you’re feeling challenged, it means you are growing!”

Know who you are and your values as an individual. Write them down on post-it notes and put them somewhere to view when you need to remember your strengths. Even though there is far more support for women working in and seeking out career opportunities in the tech industry, you still have to be your own best friend.

A sign saying difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations

What Telstra is doing

My team at Telstra sits within the Threat Research and Intelligence group led by Chris Mohan. Chris is an industry-recognised champion of change and an active supporter of women in cyber security. He has actively encouraged me to become more visible in the industry and work with other organisations in cyber security, such as the Australian Women in Security Network.

He has pushed me and other female colleagues out of our comfort zones to speak publicly and is a supporter of diversity in thinking and skills, not just gender.

Telstra also supports its people with memberships so we can attend industry events with organisations such as the Australian Information Security Association and conferences such as CyberCon. Some Telstra teams also have industry partnerships with sponsorship that offers us opportunities to attend conferences and networking events aimed exclusively at women, such as FitT (Female in IT and Telecommunications). There is also the option of free training via LinkedIn Learning for all employees to access and improve their skills.

As the largest telecommunications and technology company in Australia, Telstra offers many different career opportunities for diverse skill sets. It encourages and supports flexible working, and there are internal support groups for women such as Brilliant Connected Women (BCW) — a group that supports and champions gender equality. This group is open to all Telstra people and creates opportunities within the organisation for women across the company.

If you want to learn about why Telstra is passionate about diversity and inclusion, you can find out here.

If you’re interested in bringing your skills to a company that champions diversity, take a look at our latest job opportunities.

Telstra Careers Forum
Inspiration | Telstra Careers |

A passion for tech that’s inspiring girls worldwide

By Ami Pasricha September 13, 2019

I chose to study engineering because of my brother. He was in the middle of a degree and suggested that I give it a try.

Until then, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I dreamt of being a chef, an accountant and for a while, an actress. But the first time I thought seriously about my career was when I enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University.

That was five years ago. Since then I’ve gone through Telstra’s Graduate Program and now work in the Customer Co-Creation and Innovation Space in Product Engineering.

My role includes bringing together deep network experts, customers and partners to unlock new technology opportunities for Telstra.

I’m very happy to be working here. The company’s focus on flexibility and professional development has allowed me to seamlessly manage my day-to-day responsibilities.

The thing that gets me really excited about engineering and technology, and why I love doing what I’m doing, is that it is so versatile and full of real-life applications. It’s about the impact that you are having through the technology solution being developed, as opposed to just playing around with some cool tech.

It’s this passion that I want to foster through Robogals.

Robogals aims to inspire, engage and empower young women to pursue engineering and related fields, and I think that’s what it all comes down to. I had no idea what engineering was about. I was lucky that my brother recommended it, but a lot of people, especially young girls, don’t have that opportunity. That’s why I’m so passionate about what the organisation is trying to achieve.

As the CEO, I’m spearheading a global initiative to encourage young women into STEM. So far, Robogals has run more than 3500 workshops and has reached over 75,000 girls, and over 115,000 students.

Being part of something that introduces young girls to robotics, coding and other areas of engineering is deeply gratifying. We recently ran a workshop in Melbourne which was to do with binary numbers, something I didn’t learn until my first year of university. But we are able to get girls as young as five years old thinking about this stuff. And they love it. They get so engaged and involved, the little kids especially.

While I recognise that true equality is still a little way off when it comes to women in STEM, I believe that more and more employers are making lasting commitments to gender diversity in the workplace.

Telstra is one of many companies that has endorsed a gender diversity policy in their efforts to foster a more inclusive work environment. Their ongoing support has also enabled me to devote time and energy to Robogals and to see the organisation reach new heights.

Want to learn more about what diversity and inclusion means to us here at Telstra? You can find out more here.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Explore jobs now.

Wear It Purple Day panel - Telstra
Community | Inspiration | Sustainability |

Why we support Wear It Purple

By Kylie Fuller August 30, 2019

In support of Wear It Purple Day on 30 August, our Diversity and Inclusion Principal Kylie Fuller chats to Wear It Purple President and Director, Ross Wetherbee.

Our purpose is to build a connected future so everyone can thrive. We can only achieve that by having an inclusive culture where every employee can bring their whole self to work.

Our commitment to inclusion is championed by our Spectrum network, which creates opportunities for our LGBTI+ employees and allies to connect, both inside and outside Telstra. We’re a founding member of Pride in Diversity, an employer support program dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTI+ people. We also show our support by taking part in events such as Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival, Pink Dot in Hong Kong and Singapore, IDAHOBIT Day and Wear It Purple Day.

Wear It Purple Day panel - Telstra

We’re a proud partner of Wear It Purple and their work to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. Ahead of Wear It Purple Day this year, I chatted to President and Director of Wear It Purple, Ross Wetherbee, about his experience growing up and the importance of support networks and visible role models.

Wear It Purple Day panel - Telstra

Kylie Fuller: What was it like for you growing up in regional NSW?

Ross Wetherbee: I felt lonely, fearful and anxious about the future during my adolescent years. I was not ‘out’ about my sexuality until I moved away from home to attended university; in high school, I quickly realised through the behaviours of my peers that being gay was not seen as a positive attribute.

The words ‘fag’, ‘poofter’ and more were commonplace put-downs, and the absence of any affirming signs or signals that it would be okay to be ‘out’ among my classmates relegated me to the ‘closet’.

I thought at that time that I could remain there forever.

KF: Was there anyone in your social circles at that time who you could identify with?

RW: There were no students in my year group who were same-sex attracted, let alone another LGBTI+ identity. At this time, in the late-90s, I had not even considered gender identity or thought of people who were transgender, and there was no visibility of transgender people where I grew up. It scares me to think about what someone who struggled with their gender identity at this time would have been thinking, feeling or experiencing.

KF: Have your family and friends been supportive?

RW: My parents were supportive of me in school and sporting endeavours, but I was not out to them. It’s not anything they did that kept me ‘in the closet’; I just can’t recall any actions or behaviours that encouraged me to leap out of it either. An organisation like Wear It Purple would have had a profound impact on my school and schooling experience.

I knew of kids in other schools who were out and they were bullied relentlessly, and I know of people who have died by suicide as a result of this kind of bullying.

KF: What do you want people to know about Wear It Purple?

RW: Wear It Purple is a youth-led non-profit organisation that strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people.

It was founded in 2010 in response to global stories of real teenagers, real heartache and their very real responses. In 2010, several rainbow young people took their own lives following bullying and harassment resulting from the lack of acceptance of their sexuality or gender identity.

Since 2010, Wear It Purple has developed into an international movement. New generations of rainbow young people continue to be dedicated to promoting the annual expression of support and acceptance to rainbow young people.

We’re unique in that we are an LGBTI+ youth charity that is 100 per cent volunteer-led and run, with not one paid employee. I’m so incredibly proud that we’re associated with Telstra and grateful for the support that Telstra provides, so we can support more and more rainbow young people and their schools every year.

Join us on Friday 30 August to celebrate Wear It Purple Day, and learn more about Wear It Purple at the Wear It Purple website.

Emily Daubney takes part in a graduate female engineering event to share her first job wisdom.
People | Tech and Innovation | Telstra Careers |

4 things I wish I knew before starting my first job

By Emily Daubney May 2, 2018

Earlier this month I was invited to share my experience of transitioning from university to the world of work at a Telstra sponsored Grad Girls event attended by around 40 young women nearing the end of their undergraduate degree.

Grad Girls is a one year program run by Vic ICT for Women that helps female undergraduates make informed decisions about the first step in their career paths as well as start their professional network.

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering and Science degree only a few years ago, I remember being in the same position as these young women.

As I sat on the stage answering questions from this group of women who are all on-track to graduate, I was reminded of my own feelings of excitement as I looked ahead to all the unknowns in my first full-time job.

So, here are four things I wish I knew before tackling my first job after university.