In celebration of International Women's Day, we hear from Jill Ross, Director of ITWORX UK about her career journey.
How did you get into technology/IT?
From a young age I have always been curious to know how things work. Since the first wave of home computing hit the UK, things like ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64 I was hooked!
My first job after leaving school was working for the NHS in the IT department, initially working as a Computer Operator with ICL Mainframe’s and then progressing into the Data Communications / Networking field.
Why did you choose to become an engineer? What was a pivotal moment?
After leaving the NHS, I went to work in the Oil and Gas sector, it was there that I was introduced to Cisco equipment. I knew, 100%, that this was the area that I wanted to specialise in and set to work studying for the various professional certifications such as CCNA and CCNP.
What made you decide to start your own IT business?
After leaving the Oil and Gas sector, I worked for various IT service companies. I really loved the variety this provided, in terms of both technology and the opportunity to work with lots of different companies and sectors. Every day was different. It was during this period that I started to have more of a 360 view of not just the services I was delivering in my engineering role, but how this provided benefits to the businesses procuring our services.
I learned a lot over this period, good and bad, I came to the conclusion that running my own IT services business was something I wanted to do, building on the successes and work on improving the issues that I had come across.
Have you faced any barriers in your career, based on your gender? If so, how did you overcome them?
I’ve never experienced any issues at all, and I’ve worked in the IT industry for 34 years now.
I’ve worked for several different companies in various sectors, and I’ve never felt that I was held back in any way. If anything, I feel I was encouraged and supported by my peers. As an engineer I held all the relevant professional accreditations, so it was never in question that I had the skillset required to fulfil my role and I was there based on merit.
What advice would you give to women who want to work in the engineering and technology fields?
Simply, Go for it! If you have an interest in this area then the opportunities are vast. I think having some sort of professional qualification in the area you want to work in helps too.