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IT's not just for the boys!

Female STEM students looking to forge successful careers in tech.

Olivia Moran

If you’re reading this then congratulations! You’re already doing your research on the industry and that’s the first step towards a career in technology.

I was in the same position  this time last year, when I came across IT’s not just for the boys. I am studying a Maths degree at Durham university, and had done some programming but was unsure about working in technology. The event was an amazing way to find out some more about the industry and help me decide that it is what I want to do!

I attended in October 2018, and met Morgan Stanley – I applied for their technology internship and completed three months there in summer 2019. I am delighted to say that after this I was offered a graduate position in the firm. This means I can focus on my final year of university with a job offer sorted thanks to TARGETjobs and IT’s not just for the boys!

The application process:

The application process was straightforward – it is most likely one of the first you will do at university, and it’s a great way to get some experience which will help when you are applying for other opportunities. The team will give you a short phone call where they just want to learn some more about you, your motivations for attending and your interest in technology. Try to learn a little bit more about the event and the companies and don’t worry if you don’t have much tech experience –I didn’t! You will have lots of other transferable skills you can demonstrate and if you want to learn more about tech then this is all you need.

Before the event:

Once you have a place on the event, it's time to do some more research – look into the companies who will be there and the opportunities  they offer. Then you can choose your favourites and make sure to talk to representatives from those on the day. It’s also useful to make sure you have a LinkedIn profile set up. Add connections with people you meet on the day and start to build up your professional network.

At the event:

First of all, make the most of it! If you do, then you can get an incredible amount of value from the day. Make notes of anything you find interesting or want to find out more aboutas it can be easy to forget when there is so much going on.

Secondly, network! Talk to as many people as you can, both your peersand company representatives. Be willing to share your knowledge and passions and others will share theirs with you.

And finally, speak up! Especially in group settings, get involved, share your opinions and make yourself heard. My favourite part of the event was the group activity. We discussed some current issues in technology and then had the opportunity to present these to the rest of the room. Usually I am shy, but when you are surrounded by a community of supportive women then it becomes much easier.

After the event:

Keep in touch with any contacts you made on the day, whether that’s over email, LinkedIn, or in person. Make the effort to keep these people in your network. Chances are your common interests will mean you cross paths in the future.

Now it’s time to apply for opportunities with the companies. You will probably be doing this through recruiters who you met at the event – if you have already met them, made an impression and begun to build a professional  relationship, then this can make the application process feel much more familiar. Bring together all of the advice you picked up on the day for your initial applications, and any subsequent interviews. Use the knowledge you’ve gained, and talk about the aspects of technology which interest you. Add the event to your CV, and make sure you mention it in the applications – this will show employers that you are interested in the industry, and now you have some experience too.

After the event, I applied to Morgan Stanley. I was almost immediately given a telephone interview with them and then went to an in-person interview. It was really helpful to talk about things I learned at the event. Many companies will have a group interview as part of the application process. The group task from IT’s not just for the boys! was a great way to practice for these. Thanks to the event, I felt much more prepared for the interviews and was given an offer!

Now it's time to apply for IT’s not just for the boys:

I had an incredible experience at IT’s not just for the boys! I started with very little experience in technology, and thanks to the event I now have an internship under my belt and an offer for a graduate job. I definitely recommend applying; it might just kickstart your career too.


Good luck to all of you!