Technology is not just for technologists - Emma Sinden guest blog

25 years ago today I walked into Stephenson Hall at Sheffield University to start my four year degree in Politics & American Studies. The rationale behind my degree was simple - I got to spend one year living in California. As an English scholar at school who stayed as far away from anything maths or science based as I could I had little idea what I was going to do career wise except that it would probably involve talking and writing. What is was pretty definitely not going to involve was technology. 

In the end it was PR and I have CT marketing manager Jo Snow to thank for that. Through working with big beauty and sports brands she made it look very glamourous! Walking in that first day I had visions of Ab Fab, champagne, free lipstick and parties dancing in my head. What I could never have imagined is that 22 years later I would be looking back at a career in technology. One I have to say for the most part I have absolutely loved.

The point to this little trip down memory lane is that a career in technology is not just for technologists. The 10 Digital Ladies community, of which I am one of the founders includes writers, designers, teachers, project managers, entrepreneurs, communicators, developers, analysts, business leaders, CTOs, CIOs, CEOs, product managers and customer experience specialists - to name but a few. Many did not start out in tech but have retrained or refocused and are now building second or third careers. 

In the time that I have worked in the industry it has changed immeasurably. A quick wander around the offices of the companies I work with today shows just how far we have come. There is huge diversity now in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, background and personality. I don’t think there is an industry that offers so much in terms of the opportunities to learn and grow or one in which there is room for so many different skills and talents.

It is also an industry with a lot of passionate. Given half a chance many of the engineers I have worked with will bend your ears for hours on the possibilities and potential offered by a particular approach to dev or a new type of tech. If you spend enough time with them it is impossible not to develop an appreciation of the beauty of code even for someone as non-technical as I am.

Digital technology is an integral part of our lives. It shapes how we communicate, how we organise and control our lives. It opens up so many new horizons. We cannot pretend that it is all good but it is here and here to stay. The tech industry now sits behind almost every other industry that there is. Tech companies are our biggest hospitality and travel companies (think Uber and AirBnB), retailers (Amazon), communications companies (Apple), Information companies (Google) etc. Working in the industry makes you part of that revolution and that’s a very exciting place to be... 

Emma Sinden, Co-Founder & Director, 10 Digital Ladies