Computer science, like digitalization, is penetrating all areas of life. More and more jobs are being created, growing in this industry. There is a search for professionals in this field everywhere. The IT sector is diverse, future-oriented and still offers great career opportunities. If you work in this field, many doors are open to you – both women and men. There is not yet a balanced relationship between the sexes, as men still outnumber women here. But current projections at least suggest that the number of women who will work in IT will continue to increase. We at catworkx also want to encourage women to get excited about IT. One who did this a long time ago is our colleague Tina from Vienna. We asked her why she made a conscious decision to go into IT back then.
Please introduce yourself briefly! Who are you? What do you do at catworkx??
Tina: My name is Tina Myerscough, I’m 36 years old and I’ve been working as an Atlassian Senior Expert at catworkx in Vienna since 2019. I have two children, in my free time I love to do sports and currently I do a lot of weight training. Now that would also be such a stereotype …. maybe ;-), which I like to break. But yes, women can also handle iron …
On the one hand, I advise clients conceptually on their projects, as well as in the technical implementation. I also manage our OSS team (Operations & Support Services) at the Vienna site.
In addition, I like to be referred to professionally as a professional coffee drinker. More often than you think, I also hide in the closet with Nerf Gun to scare my dear colleagues. For me, work, fun and joy are not a contradiction but a symbiosis, according to the motto: Do what you love, love what you do.
Why did you choose IT back then, what attracted you to it?
Tina: In Austria, you can attend higher vocational schools at the age of 14, and it was already clear to me then that it had to be IT. At that time, IT was the absolute boom and the job of the future par excellence. It has to be said that I didn’t even have a computer back then, my parents even had to rent it from the school. With three girls in the class, it quickly became clear that … this is not the classic female job.
This was also the case abroad during my IT studies.
Incidentally, this is no longer quite the case at most IT conferences, but when you then move into IT management or senior positions, it is quite the same again.
Why is IT, the IT environment still an attractive field of activity for you today, what does an attractive IT environment entail for you?
Tina: IT is now an extremely broad field, since every business department actually needs IT solutions and IT has also evolved considerably. It’s not just the coders with headphones in the basement anymore. 😉 Software development has become much more communicative. Dialogues are held, there is a review of the work done and generally everything is very team-oriented. That’s great!
I am very lucky to work at catworkx. My job here actually gives me the freedom I need. I am very performance-oriented, but in return I also want to organize my working day independently, try things out sometimes, do “outside of the box things” and have the right to critically and honestly question things that I feel are not optimal.
Just as IT is constantly evolving, digitization is also advancing, whether you like it or not, and with giant strides. But to be able to actively shape things at this point and, above all, to bring my personal touch of humanity to the technology – and when that also works – that is always a very nice experience for me.
In many people’s minds – especially outside the IT environment – IT is often still associated with software programming. Do you have to be good at programming to have a successful IT career? What other qualities and skills do you think are important?
Tina: Software development is also my professional and educational background. I have to say, it’s not a disadvantage per se to have trained a certain technical thinking pattern. This gives one a multi-faceted breadth of a basic understanding of IT issues.
But there are already so many more jobs in IT that don’t revolve around deep technical issues at all, especially in development, but take analysis, consensus-building and problem-solving and structure them accordingly. So it’s all about communication and coordination.
I find the classic soft skills particularly important: being able to listen, work in a team and keep a cool head, as well as having the ability to reflect on your own work and working methods. Here, too, IT does not stand still, so you have to constantly adapt and be prepared to try out new things and drop old ways of thinking.
What advice would you give to young female IT professionals just starting out in their careers?
Tina: The answer to this question has a history with me – but it was the decisive point in my career.
I often sat in meetings, mostly with colleagues higher up in the hierarchy. For some issues raised, I noted my opinion on them, but didn’t say so right away, out of a fear that possibly not everything was 100% thought out and therefore might be wrong.
Afterwards, in consultation with my supervisor at the time, I went over the points I had noted and he says to me at one point, “Tina don’t keep questioning yourself. If you think you know and think you have input, just say so. Don’t wait for my OK, I trust you. And if it ever doesn’t work out, we’ll talk about it later.”
That was my mental “gamechanger” and from that point on I started to address things politely but directly, no matter who was sitting there in front of me now, if I had the feeling that this is not right, what is being said or discussed there. From that point on, my colleagues also treated me differently, because it was clear that something was coming back from me.
Therefore my advice: Have the courage to have an opinion, ask questions and be less passive! This is not about limelight, but about applying one’s knowledge and professional competence, learning new skills, and also thinking outside the box.
And lastly, if you were standing in front of a graduating class, what message would you give to the girls, the women and the graduates?
Tina: Be direct yet polite, let your performance speak for you and create a fun and enjoyable work environment!