by George MacKay-Shore, Software Engineer at BJSS
BJSS is the UK’s leading privately-owned business and IT consultancy. We want a balanced tech sector that is filled with opportunities, and one of the ways we are helping to create this is through TechUPWomen. BJSS has partnered with TechUPWomen to provide five mentors to participants on the course.
Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd September saw the second of four residential weekends for the cohort of 100 women from all walks of life, and I had the privilege to attend and represent BJSS at the event hosted at Edge Hill University.
I met a good number of the cohort whilst I was representing BJSS at the mini careers fair, a two hour segment prior to the industry speakers slots, where I was met with keen curiosity about BJSS and what we do in the industry, the roles we offer, and the locations of the offices. You could tell students were passionate, inquisitive and were really keen to learn – it was refreshing to see.
After the careers fair session finished, I joined the group in the lecture theatre where the programme speakers presented their talks. Martin Mannion of Ivanti gave insights into the industry and the challenges that IT faces when building software. Next, it was my turn to step up to the podium!
Despite the nerves and the bad jokes, I presented my talk on the different sectors within the tech industry, focusing on the three that I have had experience in: embedded systems; games; and, enterprise solutions. I gave an overview of each sector with a description of the kinds of projects that would be embarked upon and the tech that would likely be used, the roles that would be typically found, and a ‘day in the life of a developer’ for each of the sectors.
The evening event was held at the beautiful Titanic Hotel near Liverpool Docks, with a replica of the staircase from its nautical namesake. A delicious three-course meal (with the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve had in quite some time) was followed by breathtaking and thought provoking poetry by Sophia Thakur, an exceptional talent, who has delivered her poetry to the likes of MTV and The Houses of Parliament. Whilst only a brief interlude before the live band, her words touched everyone who was there, and were met with rapturous applause and many a tearful eye. The band The Plain Folk was also superb, providing soul-felt covers of many pop songs, including a rendition of an 80s classic from Rick Astley, that was both amazing and memetic.
Sunday’s itinerary was a little less packed, but no less full of energy, and was made up of two talks: the first, presented by Kristina McGuirk of KComms, surrounded the creation of personal branding and its importance for everyone who has a message to be heard. The final talk of the weekend was given to inspire the women to change the narrative about how they talk about themselves as women in tech, presented by Vimla Appadoo, with a workshop between the two.
I stayed to answer more questions about the industry after the talks which, like the previous day, were keenly inquisitive.
It has been difficult to write about the events of the weekend, as words can only approximate what I experienced over its course: the energy, the drive, the awe-inspiring presence of all of the women involved in this programme. It is BJSS’s honour to be a partner to such an inspiring project, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for these women.
About the Institute of Coding
The Institute of Coding (IoC) is a large national consortium of educators, employers and outreach organisations that is committed to co-developing new courses and activities that will help a larger and more diverse group of learners into digital careers.
As part of this work, the IoC has provided funding for the TechUP programme and many other programmes like it. Learn more on IoC website.