by Katherine Moffett (BA)
In honour of women’s month and in celebration of the strength demonstrated by the women of South Africa in 1956, we decided to put the spotlight on some of the women of Global Kinetic and asked them to share their stories and their advice to other women wanting to enter the tech industry
How did you get started in tech:
Tech wasn’t on my radar. I studied Oceanography and had a part-time job at a fisheries vessel management company. I did quite a bit of data analysis at my part-time job and my studies taught me how to think analytically. There was no full-time opportunity at the fisheries company, so I decided to look for a new job. I was really lucky as I knew someone who helped me get my foot in the door at Global Kinetic as an Intern Business Analyst. My soft skills helped me get a head start in my career and before I knew it, I had fallen in love with the profession. The amazing Chief Operating Officer gave me the opportunity to stay, and I jumped at it. Global Kinetic provided all the training and mentorship to get me where I am today, and I will always be grateful for that.
What were/are the challenges you face?
I am not sure I had challenges getting into the industry; it was more a case of not realising that this industry was available for women. It was just ignorance. I didn’t realise technology was an option; it hadn’t occurred to me.
I went to an all-girls school where the only option for learning about technology was CAT, a class where you learnt how to type and use the Microsoft suite, which also did not provide any credit for university, so there was no incentive to take this class.
Interestingly, at our brother school, the boys were offered the opportunity to take a class where they learnt to code. Looking back now, I am disappointed that at the girl’s school we did not get the same opportunity to learn to code.
There were actually multiple subjects that weren’t offered at the girl’s school, that were offered at the boy’s school, such as woodwork, technical drawing, and AP maths (university levels maths).
If my memory serves me correctly, there were also some classes that weren’t offered at the boys’ school, such as ballet and consumer studies (cooking classes).
There could be a multitude of reasons why coding wasn’t offered as a subject at the girls’ school:
- There was not enough money to add coding as an extra class.
- In previous years, the girls had been offered the class but weren’t interested.
- Coding was just something the faculty decided wasn’t a subject that girls could/should be doing.
If it was reason 2 or 3, I would be quite disappointed.
I am not sure what classes are available at the school today, and I do hope this has changed. Anecdotally I think that school is the starting point of the discrepancy in certain fields. I hope that girls are now being shown that tech is a great option for them.
What do you love about working in the tech industry?
I really enjoy that it is a really creative industry and that there are always challenging problems to solve. People in the industry also tend to be fun and quirky, and I really enjoy that.
The industry is not limited to a specific subject as many different industries rely on technology, meaning you get exposed to multiple fields such as Finance, HR, E-Commerce etc.
Your advice to other women in the industry /girls wanting to join the industry:
It is an incredibly interesting and fun industry that also has the benefit of paying well. You get to create things and see them flourish in the wild, which is really fulfilling.
The industry gets a bad rep for being male-dominated, but try not let this intimidate you. For the most part, the men (and women) I have interacted with at Global Kinetic have been really supportive and really helped with growing my career. This doesn’t mean that everyone has the same experience. There have been one or two colleagues who have not been easy to work with and that is ok, that will always be the case, you can’t get along with everyone.
I think as long as you can stand up for yourself, don’t get too intimidated (it can be intimidating walking into a room full of men for a meeting), be curious about how things work, and always learn, it will be great.