|Home town||Corbridge, Northumberland|
|Degree at Edinburgh Napier||BSc Information Systems|
|Role title||Editorial SEO Project Manager|
|Organisation||Yard Digital, Edinburgh|
|Interview date||20th August 2013|
|Interviewed by||Ailish Fowler|
What was Jennie’s experience at Edinburgh Napier University?
Jennie enjoyed the BSc Information Systems course at Edinburgh Napier University because of:
- The diversity of modules
- The combination of computing and business subjects
- The strong relationships with peers on the course
- The friendly and helpful staff who did much to help develop her strengths and find her niche
- The location of the campus
- The university facilities such as the John Kilby Computing Centre
- She loved Edinburgh as a city in which to be a student.
What is Jennie doing now?
Jennie works at Yard Digital as a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Editorial Project Manager. Her work involves organising social media training days, managing projects, and working on a blogger outreach programme.
How did Jennie get to this position?
Jennie works in a very new area, so it is not surprising that she did not envisage this role before she started her undergraduate degree. It was only when she began her final year honours project on social media and marketing that she became more certain of her desired career path.
As part of this project work Jennie became involved with the Edinburgh Coffee Morning, a networking group for the digital media community in Edinburgh. Here she met many contacts who proved helpful for her honours project. These people later helped with the transition into her first job. One of her contacts was Andrew Burnett. He inspired and mentored her, and it is thanks to Andrew and others that she is where she is today.
What was Jennie’s experience as a woman on a computing degree course?
As a woman Jennie never experienced discrimination, or felt at a disadvantage on her course, even though the women were in a minority. Similarly although she hears that women experience sexism in the workplace, she has not been affected by this. Jennie believes that the more women there are in computing, the less of a problem this will become.
Jennie is keen to encourage interested women to enter courses that are traditionally perceived as male-dominated. Jennie emphasises that the stereotype of IT as a boring subject that is only for men is incorrect. Her personal experience shows that there are many different opportunities for interesting work in IT.
What advice would Jennie give to women wanting to work in computing?
Jennie has much advice for women who would like to work in computing. Her hints and tips include:
- Do not be put off undertaking a degree course in Information Systems if you do not have extensive experience in computing. A keen interest in the subject is more important.
- Embrace social networking and take time to make contacts so that you develop a network on which you can draw as a student, and when you graduate. For example, set up a blog, use Twitter professionally, maintain a LinkedIn profile.
- Take advantage of your placement experience, even if you decide that the placement that you undertake turns out not be in the area of work that you will eventually pursue.
- Develop your social skills and confidence so that people remember you as someone who gets on well with others, and want to employ you.