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Women in Tech - Nicolene Ilsley

March 31, 2021

Nicolene Ilsley,

Scrum Master

 

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?

Every day comes with its challenges. My main priority in the morning is to attend to emails for urgent requests, which happens more often than not. Most of my day is jam-packed with planning, assisting, giving feedback, and following up on tasks. It is seldom when I don't have much to do. Time flies when you're busy attending to your business day.

 

Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do? How did you decide?

I have not always been in technology, but after many years of working in the medical environment, I had the good fortune of working with one of the CGM software products before joining the company. I have been in the technology field for over nine years, where I began my new career role as a representative of the support team and then moved to the R&D team as Quality Assurance. I believe that this is where I thrived, as the main objective was to find faults and solve problems.

Years later, my senior manager approached me and asked if I would consider advancing my career as a Scrum Master. At the time, I had no idea what that meant or what the role required, but he assured me that he would guide me every step of the way. To gain confidence as a Scrum Master, I had to work hard, assess personal development, and do a Professional Leadership and Management course. I applied to do the official CSM course, which I passed with flying colours. I am a natural problem solver and enjoy assisting and encouraging my team members in becoming Agile in their working environment.

 

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?

A: I read an article the other day that relates to a similar question. As a woman working amongst a team of men, especially in a Scrum team, there is a preferred impression of communication and output. I believe that men tend to be more generous and show a sense of attentiveness towards women in a leadership role. I think the quote went a little like this, "If the mere presence of a woman amplifies communication and enables cooperation, motivation and innovation, it seems that having at least one female in every Scrum Team should be a requirement.”

If this is what I can bring to the team, then I am ALL IN, while extending a huge THANK YOU to my team!

 

What do you think we should be doing more of to encourage more girls to consider a career in tech?

My advice is not limited to a person considering a career in tech, but technology is evolving, and therefore the possibilities in pursuing a career in tech are endless.

 I would encourage my daughter to...

  • Set goals for yourself, break those goals down into steps and set targets for completing those steps.
  • Identify your values and purpose. Once these are clear to you, let this motivate you to reach your goals.
  • Ask for help. If the person you ask can't help you, ask someone else. You won't get a yes if don’t risk a no.
  • Find a coach or a mentor to guide you in the career you choose.
  • Last and most importantly, take care of yourself. If you are overworked at all times, you will not be working at your true potential. Maintain a healthy work/life balance.
  • Aim to be 1% better every day.

 

Top skills that anyone, who wants to work in Tech need?

I wish I had the background knowledge of the development language my team uses. It would give me a better understanding of the work they do and the environments they work within. I would advise you to start early and do online courses and classes on websites like Girls Who Code, Code.org and Girls in Tech, only to name a few.

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