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IT's not just for the boys!

Female STEM students looking to forge successful careers in tech.

Poonam Parmar

How I got my Job at ARM through IT’s not just for the boys!

Attending university was a vital step towards my career goals especially within the current climate of a competitive global economy. So naturally a placement year and gaining a graduate job was always something I wanted to do: gaining hands on experience within an industry, taking an educational break from university life and being able to extend my professional network of people who are already in the field. This is how TARGETjobs and the IT's not just for the boys event definitely aided the start of my career path.

I’ve recently graduated from studying information technology (IT) at the University of Leeds, and I had found out about this amazing event opportunity through sector research and the TARGETjobs website. I have been attending the IT's not just for the boys STEM event for a couple of years now and each time I have gained something new; I will be back again this year but this time representing the company that has given me my graduate job. I want to give something back.

My objectives in attending IT’s Not Just For The Boys events was to be able to talk to likeminded individuals within the computer science sector and to understand more about women in leadership and their journeys. Whatever your reason for attending, it’ll be worth it – whether your reason is to talk to senior women in different companies, gain a better understanding of what you would like to do in the future or simply to network with others over the drinks reception (always a highlight!).

The application process explained

I was a complete novice to a professional application process and I had no real relevant computing experience within industry. However, this is where the TARGETjobs team and this event can be such a big help: it adds towards your progressive understanding of how you can apply for industry roles. In order to attend this event, you have to undergo an application process, telephone interview and a selection process but, don’t worry, this is absolutely fine – treat this as a mini-step to professional networking and further opportunities, plus it feels great earning your place.

Application tips

If you are a complete novice like I was and have no IT work experience, you can demonstrate the skills you have in a different way for example, by talking about any clubs and societies you’ve joined or any part-time work you have carried out.

  • Prepare and prepare hard – make a list of all the companies you think you may be interested in at the event and look at the job descriptions of roles that interest you not just the title of the employment (responsibilities differ from company to company!)
  • Start early – why wait? You’ve got exams and other priorities, but if this is something you’re passionate about then you’ll make time.

My top 3 tips for making the most of the event

a) Don’t panic, everyone is in the same position as you – TARGETjobs have shown interest in you for a good reason; now show the event attendees what you’ve got.

b) You won’t be brilliant at everything. I’m certainly not – but that’s what this event: finding your feet, growing and focusing on what you excel in.

c) Join, involve and surround yourself in not only the event at hand but also other things you come across too. I’m actively seeking opportunities throughout my graduate job; the way I see it is that I want to get the most exposure and experience I can before the next path.