Jun 30 3 min read
A Career in Engineering
The technology sector is the fastest growing industry in the world. In 2021, it is predicted to reach 5 trillion dollars1 and lead to an unprecedented level of demand for engineers. Attracting more talent to the engineering sector is vital for economic growth and Bluecube is actively involved in bridging the skill shortage gap by hiring four apprentices this year alone.
Historically the engineering industry has been dominated by men and in the UK, women make up just 12.3% of engineers2. We sat down with Naomi Harris, a FCR engineer at Bluecube to share her journey into engineering; discussing being ‘a late starter’ and a female engineer in the workplace:
Why did you choose to become an engineer?
In all honesty, I didn’t, I sort of fell into it. I started my career in an office and naturally leaned towards the IT side of my job and, as I found myself enjoying it more and more, I actively searched out better opportunities to grow within the technology sector. Being at Bluecube and working in an MSP environment has really confirmed that this is my happy place.
How did you become a qualified engineer?
I learnt the skills for this role on the job. Bluecube was my first dedicated IT role, and they have the facilities for me to learn and take certified courses including Microsoft and Cisco. Bluecube are fully supportive of ongoing self-improvement and we are assigned weekly opportunities to take time to study. There is also the chance to study courses in other areas as well like managerial or security.
What does a FCR typically do?
As an FCR (First Call Resolution) engineer, I focus on the day-to-day calls and tickets that come in. I fix customers issues as soon as possible so that they can continue with their work with minimal disruption. Sometimes their issues are very specific and/or serious (like a security issue) so in those situations I gather all details and escalate their issue to a specialist. I am always there, at the end of the phone to provide support to clients and answer any question they have.
What can be done to get more women into engineering?
I think the key is having more information out there, about what is available in term of actual job roles, and where to start. You don’t have to be a ‘tech nerd’. A passion for technology does help but you don’t need to love or know everything about everything. You can specialise in the parts that you particularly enjoy, and they don’t have to be all IT.
Do you get the same respect as your male engineering colleagues?
I haven’t experienced any issues here at Bluecube. The whole team are supportive of everybody. I have experienced gender inequality at previous companies, but never at Bluecube. In a previous role, we had a client who would only speak to the male staff to start with. After several conversations where I told him something and then a colleague told him the same thing, he started accepting what I said. Sometimes, I think a couple of the clients like to hear a female voice. It can be calming to a few that can be quite nervous around technology.
What obstacles have you had to overcome?
Being a ‘late starter’. I had a few interviews within the IT industry before Bluecube, and, although it was never explicitly said, I felt like they were looking for someone (male), that would be a better fit for their current team. When employers are looking for someone to fit into their team, if it’s already full of male employees, it may be that they think a female would disrupt that. Bluecube gave me the chance to join a growing team in which your gender is irrelevant and as long as you can do your job, opportunities are given to those that deserve it.
Is engineering suited to a particular personality?
Yes and no - It really depends on your job role. My role involves talking to customer and fixing their day-to-day issues that make life easier. I like being customer facing and talking to customers. In contrast some engineers focus on resolving issues that require less customer interaction and more technical know-how. There are 9-5 Monday-Friday roles, or 24/7 nights, and four on four off shifts. You can join in the office chat or keep yourself to yourself.
How has the pandemic changed engineering?
I think working from home has given a lot of people the need to think about their technology, and a lot of companies that realise they may need more support, as we really do rely on our equipment. This has also seen a growth in the technology and technology support companies. The IT industry, whilst growing in confidence over the years, is now seen as an even more desirable and secure career path.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a career in technology?
Throw yourself into it, immerse yourself into the culture, but remember that we’re all human. If you have base knowledge, the rest comes with time, more in-depth information comes from courses and here at Bluecube, the support to learn as you go is amazing. Working alongside learning is great, as practical experience really helps the knowledge stick. The skills to adapt and interact with colleagues (be a team!) and clients can only really be learnt in the workplace.
Want to be the next Naomi? Click here to view all Bluecube’s open opportunities.
1 COMPTIA – Industry Outlook Report 2021
2 WES 2018 Engineering Report