Women in Tech – Alexandra Jakobsen
What was your background?
My background is computer programming. I have started coding at school and went on to obtain Bachelor’s degree from Kiev University of Information systems and technology in programming and software engineering. I have since worked with Microsoft ERP systems in various roles, from software developer to team leader for tech and implementation teams to IT company founder and co-owner, getting involved in multiple aspects of running a software business.
How did you get into Tech?
I got into tech via university placement program. Quite a few global IT companies were opening branches in Kiev, Ukraine, at the time I was finishing up my degree and I was very lucky to get a place as a software developer ERP software consultancy, working with teams and projects internationally. With that experience I got roles in UK, firmly establishing my career in tech.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?
One of the biggest challenges with IT roles that I think should be addressed is work/life balance. The nature of the systems we work with means they need to be available and online 24/7. The downtime planning and management for such systems is critical, so there is a constant sense of urgency with deliverables and activities. Working long hours and out of the usual 9-5 working hours pattern is not unusual, with some projects requiring work over weekends and evenings. Combined with busy family life, this becomes particularly challenging to manage. I had fantastic opportunity over “COVID” period, to qualify as Integrated Nutrition Health coach and currently applying all the practices I learned to my daily work with clients and in Carbon & Finch Ltd.
As a women in any role, I had to face some difficult choices and make sacrifices based on priorities that I have set for my family life and well-being. It is re-assuring to see the change in narrative and attitude when it comes to employing women. Flexibility of employers towards work schedule and workload is noticeable, especially for contract work but a lot still needs to be done in IT industry overall to make it more manageable for women with family and children.
How do you feel about being a woman in the Tech industry?
I feel there is still underrepresentation of women in IT overall and the gender pay gap prevalent, especially in the higher earners sector. There are quite a few positive initiatives and very strong voices that are driving the change and it is very important to keep this on the agenda.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
Quality, attention to detail, professionalism
How can we get more women in Tech?
Making it visible that carers in Tech are accessible, creative and fun will get more female graduates pursue careers in Tech. Just suggesting this option might be the easiest step, as sometimes career in tech is not seen as a path for girls.
I think it’s also the lack of confidence that can put women off going into tech or staying for the long run. Women have so many more options and opportunities in tech and it is a pleasure to see the percentage of females in tech increasing significantly in UK.