Posted on: 19/07/2019

Two weeks ago, I had the exciting opportunity to attend the Women in Silicon Roundabout conference with fellow Software Developer Cait O’Sullivan and our COO Alison Young. The event was spread over 2 days and was bursting with seminars, workshops, and activities, with a lively floor of company stands to visit in the gaps between. Not that we really had a moment to spare between us!

Women in Silicon Roundabout is a technology conference set apart from the rest with one key difference – it is all about putting a spotlight on women in tech and other minorities as well, with the vision of a future workforce full of diversity, inclusivity and innovation.

After all, if the teams creating a product do not reflect the wide diversity of the customers using the product, you are likely to create something which does not fully meet everyone’s needs!

As a woman in technology, and at the start of my career, it is something I am very conscious of within the workplace – it is a traditionally male-dominated industry, lacking in female role models. The conference was a great opportunity to hear inspiring keynote talks and workshops lead by successful women from a huge range of notable companies including some of our partners, with the opening keynote delivered by Baroness Karren Brady.

We went to the conference with the intention of learning about cutting-edge technologies which could be relevant to our work on our future product, and also to expand our horizons as we listened to some of the best thought-leaders technology has to offer today.

Now the dust has settled, and I have had a few weeks to reflect, here are a few of my personal highlights and take-home themes from the event:

Making yourself heard – I attended some workshops and seminars focussed on improving self-confidence, public speaking, and ways to convey an authentic version of yourself to others. As a woman in tech sometimes it can be daunting to put yourself out there to drive discussions and share ideas, especially when we are surrounded by unconscious bias, and socially conditioned from a young age to second-guess ourselves and underplay our skills and achievements. Hopefully I can bring some of what I have learned to company presentations and demos and become a female role model myself!

Looking to the future – “digital transformation” seemed to be the buzzword of the event, with many speakers looking to the future to consider how the world will continue changing during the technological revolution of the “Information Age” and how the very make up of teams and job roles will shift and evolve.

  • Traditional team silos such as projects, development, support etc. will likely become one fluid team, with a DevOps mentality throughout and all hands-on deck to support the product through every stage of its lifecycle.
  • An emphasis on knowledge and experience will be replaced with an emphasis on the ability to learn and adapt. According to BP, 3x more jobs will be lost to automation than there were from the Wall Street crash – however they will be replaced with a new generation of “human-centred” jobs which will prioritise creative and innovative skills over the ability to perform repetitive, automatable tasks.
  • AI-driven technology and automation will become ubiquitous and a vital part of day-to-day work. We may be working alongside robots sooner than we think! It was pertinent to hear from Dayne Turbitt of Dell Tech that voice-driven interfaces will be an integral part of this, as the only form of communication which does not prevent a barrier to face-to-face interaction.

Exciting times are ahead!

Meeting like-minded people at all stages of their career – as part of the workshops and even some seminars, we were encouraged to introduce ourselves to those around us and discuss and collaborate on activities. One particularly fun one was a workshop on Design Thinking, which is philosophy that calls for a design mindset shift from business needs to user needs. For this we had to take a business case and come up with a solution which satisfied our user as well. It was great to be able to work with a diverse group of women from a number of tech roles to design and deliver our solution.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience and we learned a lot about how to improve ourselves and our careers, and also how to improve our company too! As Red Box strives to be a world-leading software company, we will have to keep on continuously adapting and improving in order to keep up, but as long as we do keep doing so, then the future looks bright.

Katy Ashby

Katy is one of our Software Developers at Red Box. Joining in 2017 as part of a graduate program she now works as a full time developer, playing a key role in future innovations and technologies for our product.

Interested in finding more about opportunities in our development team? Take a look at our current vacancies here.

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