Diversity in the tech sector remains to be a huge issue, with awareness of the disparity being elevated in the last ten years. With only 10-15% of the Cyber Security workforce being made up of women, the ever-growing cyber security market and demand for cyber security professionals means that organisations must directly address this issue. Falanx Operations Manager, Meghan Grange shares her insight on being a woman working in the tech sector today.
Tell us about your experience in the Tech sector, how did you get where you are today and how did you come to work at Falanx?
I didn’t particularly set out to join the tech sector, I started working at Falanx after a couple of years working in an unfulfilling and uninspiring role within the finance and insurance industries after I finished my degree. Feeling uninspired and decidedly lacklustre about the ways in which I would be able to imprint myself on the industry, I decided to pursue a career that would propel me out of my comfort zone beyond any professional working environment that I was familiar with, thus allowing me the opportunity to try something entirely new, fresh and dynamic.
Being a small but fast-growing company, Falanx instantly appealed to me. I found a hub of likeminded, creative and fantastic individuals who all had a shared goal of being a valued part of something a bit different and cutting edge. In the end, I suppose it wasn’t the opportunity to work within a technology company specifically that drew me to Falanx Cyber, rather the chance to work alongside a group of inspiring colleagues, in a working environment that promoted and celebrated creative freedom.
I began working with Falanx in an administrative support role, a position which gave me the chance to work between many different technical teams, affording me the chance to be involved with many service functions within the company. I grew into this position quickly and have since been promoted to Operations Manager, managing the day-to-day functioning of the business, and all interaction between our various technical departments.
Do you think there is a diversity issue in the tech sector? Has it affected you in any way?
I agree that there is a diversity issue within the tech sector, which probably extends far beyond issues of gender, but I don’t believe that this has particularly affected me as I’ve only ever been granted opportunity whilst working in the sector. There just aren’t enough people entering the Cyber market with the appropriate skillsets, across all backgrounds, and I hope that this begins to change over time.
I am encouraged by the specialist degrees and various other educational initiatives that have been put in place to try and bring more talent into the industry, however I think we need to actively work to encourage more young people to enter the industry, male and female and from all backgrounds.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in the Tech sector as a woman today?
I think perhaps the biggest misconception about working in the tech sector is that you need to be a male technical genius to be respected and get ahead. I was initially nervous that my skillset would never match the unattainable knowledge of my male, technical and educated colleagues, and that because I couldn’t relate on every technical level, that I might be somewhat of an ‘outsider.’ But I can absolutely with full confidence say that this has not been the case at all. I’ve never felt more valued, respected or felt as comfortable working with such a great group of friends and inspiring colleagues as I do now, and I’ve come to realise that everyone can be valued for what they as an individual bring to an organisation, and this isn’t necessarily what’s written on a piece of paper or certificate.
Do you think it is getting easier for women to get into Tech?
While I do believe we are experiencing a gradual shift in gender culture in the industry, I don’t believe that enough is currently being done to encourage women to apply for technology based roles, and I would like to see action taken to address this. I have been the only woman to work for Falanx Cyber for the vast majority of my time with the organisation, and while I don’t believe this has affected me in any way whatsoever, and am very proud to represent women in tech through my role, I’d like to see some of the misconceptions that the industry is male dominant erased and that I can be a very tiny piece in the puzzle of working to achieve this. I think that the biggest problem is that women just don’t even consider working in a tech company.
Are there any particular women in tech who have inspired you?
I fully admire the incredible impact that Sheryl Sandberg has had upon the projected image of women in technology, for she has been so consistently high profile for so long. I once read a quote by her which read ‘in the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders’ which is an ethos that I fully support. I think discussions about the role that women currently have in tech is a little taboo, and I’m enthused for a time where both men and women are celebrated for their contributions equally.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry, who may be put off by the preconception that it is predominately made up of white male privilege?
I think that the industry knows that it has a problem with gender diversity, but that it is actively trying to solve it. The Tech industry is screaming out for more diversity, and as such, Falanx have really empowered me to be the best version of myself, encouraging me to contribute and add professional value wherever possible. I am very proud of all that I have and will continue to achieve in my time with the organisation, and I believe that my influence and position in the company is a testament to the cultural shift that the sector is starting to experience.