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To celebrate Ada Lovelace day, NHS Digital is hosting several internal events to celebrate the women in technology.
Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Ada Lovelace, often referred to as the world’s first computer programmer, was a leading 19th century mathematician in a time when women had little access to basic education. Ada is considered to have written the world's first machine algorithm for an early computer.
We interviewed Sally Bogg, Head of Live Services at NHS Digital, who is one of the women sharing her experiences in tech, as part of a series of webinars celebrating Ada Lovelace day. In her webinar she will discuss her career journey, leadership and breaking down misconceptions about women in tech.
Why did you decide to get involved in Ada Lovelace Day?
I was attracted to the opportunity to get involved in Ada Lovelace day as it is focused specifically on women in STEM and I am very passionate about advancing women in technology.
I have worked in the tech field for 15 years and I too often find that I am the only woman in a meeting or working on a project. When many people think of a career in technology, they picture something out of the ‘IT Crowd’ and I wanted to break down misconceptions about roles in tech and encourage more women to pursue it as a career. For example, you don’t have to have done really well at school to pursue a career in tech, I truly think it has something for everyone.
Why did you choose to pursue a role in technology?
I was 32 and I had 3 small children. I worked in retail at the time, which was hard to do with a young family. I was never really taught much about or used technology at school, so I decided to go back to college for some basic training in tech skills.
I did an office course and completely fell in love with it, so I decided to enrol in a university course in computing. For me, it’s really the amazing things that technology can do for people that made me want to pursue it as a career.
Why is celebrating women in tech so important?
It’s really important to encourage more women to pursue a career in tech. There are so many benefits to having a diverse workforce as the users of technology are so diverse. This also includes diversity in age, ethnicity and education. We want to get more women to access opportunities in tech and break the stereotypes and misconceptions that prevent that from happening.
For women to get into tech it is important to have role models and to ‘be what you can’t see’. Women today, even 200 years after Ada Lovelace’s work, don’t receive the recognition they deserve for their achievements in tech and other STEM fields.
What advice do you have for women in tech?
My advice to women wanting to go into tech would be to build a strong network and make it as broad as possible. Gain mentors and coaches that you can really learn something from, and who will advocate for you. It’s also important to get a good understanding of the sector in general.