Founder, The Technical Millennial
London, United Kingdom
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I'm Natasha. I am Nigerian and I live in London, UK. In terms of my career path, I studied computer science at both Bachelor's and Master's level. I have been a technology professional for approximately 3 years now and in that time, I have had the pleasure of contributing to the tech industry in a variety of ways. I currently work as a Technical Account Manager at Braze and I have a passion for all things technology.
When I am not doing my day job, you can find me building / designing websites, serving the church, trying out new recipes, watching tv shows and catching some zzzs.
How did you decide to get into technology?
I discovered the world of Information Technology during A levels when I could not study any science focused subjects because my grade in Chemistry was not the best (in retrospect, thank God!). It turned out that my only option based on the subjects I had done at school was to do an IT related course, which I did. During this time, I was introduced to web development (the good old days of Dreamweaver) and IT in the business world. I enjoyed every aspect of this and that naturally led to me choosing to study Computer Science at University and the rest, as they say, is history.
What motivated me to start the Technical Millennial blog?
The short answer is the Coronavirus pandemic. The long answer is that I have always enjoyed writing. I used to own a blog when I was younger, but due to the workload of University, I gave that up. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the whole world was issued with a lockdown with nowhere for us to go, I was granted the opportunity to get back into writing.
It took a while to figure out what I wanted to write about. After a few hours of brainstorming, I decided to blog about my experience as a woman in tech. The moment that thought came to me, everything else fell into place and The Technical Millennial was born. My vision for the blog at the time was to write about being a woman in tech. However, I had only been in the industry for less than 2 years at the point, so I felt like I wouldn't have much to talk about *insert imposter syndrome*.
This led me to opening up the platform to include other women in tech and have them share their journeys with the aim of inspiring a younger generation of women to get into tech because we need more of them.
There is a big push to get women into tech in the world today, but I don't believe there are many information sources out there actually describing what it means to be a Woman in Tech and all the benefits that come from being in the tech industry.
I want The Technical Millennial to be that source that sheds some light and hopefully inspire a few people to take the leap into the industry.
How would you describe your experience in the industry so far?
If I were to describe it in one word, it would be "Interesting".
One thing to know about the industry is that nothing is ever as it seems. When I started at my previous role, I remember that one of the very first piece of advice that my manager at the time gave me was "Trust no one, not even yourself".
I have met some interesting characters along the way over the past two and a half years and good or bad, I have learnt something from each and every single person.
I have been very fortunate to have amazing managers and that can make all the difference in your career journey.
What is your current role? What does a typical day in your job look like?
My current job title is Technical Account Manager. This is still a relatively new role for me. However, prior to this role, I worked as a Technology Implementation Consultant / Automation Engineer. A typical day in that role looked something like this: A 15-minute team stand-up where we talk about the tasks of the previous day and what we (each person in the team) plans to achieve on this day. Once the stand-up is over, I have free reign on how I fill in the rest of the day with the tasks in the sprints that have been assigned to me. There could also be a meeting or two scheduled for the day.
I anticipate that a typical day in my new role would be very different to the above and I look forward to updating my answer in a few months' time.
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
I think similar to most people who only knew of the career paths in tech from watching movies and TV shows, a part of my expectation of the tech industry was that you had to be a tech whiz / guru. You needed to be the smartest person in the room and be someone who could type more than a *1000* words per minute.
The reality of course, turned out to be very different to that perception. There are varying levels of competency, as with all industries and not everyone has to be a programmer or hacker (imagine that!).
It has been a very interesting couple of years for me and there is still so much more to discover about the tech industry and ecosystem. The opportunities are endless, and I cannot wait to discover as much as possible.
How do you navigate working with men daily (if you do) and how do you make sure to get your voice heard?
In all my roles so far, I have always been the only woman in a team of at least 3 men, so I realised early on that in order to be respected in your field, you need to know your stuff. Knowledge is key.
Knowing when to act and react and being emotionally mature can come in really handy when working in a male dominated industry like tech, but I think this applies across the board to all industries.
When it comes to working with men, there is a term that everyone needs to be aware of - mansplaining. I can confidently say that NOT all men do this. There are people who are conscious of the fact that they need to know your level of understanding first before trying to explain something to you, but there are also those who just seem to blatantly display characteristics of man-splainers and I have certainly experienced this a few times.
In instances like this, if I ask someone a question and they mansplain to me, I usually just let them speak and when they're done talking, I let them know that I already knew everything that was just explained to me and I make sure to reiterate my original question. This tends to set them straight, but I wonder if there is a more effective way of handling this?
Let me know in the comments.
If you could change one thing about your journey in tech so far, what would it be?
I would not change a thing. As a Christian, I believe that everything happens for a reason and that my journey has already been mapped out by God. I got on to the path of studying IT in college for a reason and I cannot wait to see where that part leads me to.
What was the best professional advice you ever received?
"Believe in yourself and your abilities. If you were not qualified, you wouldn't get the job".
This is advice is paraphrased but is in line with the advice I was given by one of my first managers. He was explaining to me how job descriptions work and what employers look for and that made me realise that there was nothing to be afraid of. This is something that has stayed with me throughout my career so far even during the times where I feel like I am not skilled enough to do my job.
"I think the imposter syndrome feeling is inevitable. Even people that are veterans in the industry feel this way sometimes, especially with the constant evolution of technology, so why not feel what you need to feel, but also remember that you got the job because you are qualified!"
What advice do you have for younger ladies aiming to pursue a career in technology?
What are you waiting for?
Do it. The opportunities are endless. There are so many different routes to go on in the tech industry. If you have a passion for using your brain, being hands on and solving problems in a creative manner, a career in technology is for you. The future is bright!
Many thanks to all those who sent mw questions on Instagram. I have enjoyed answering the questions and I hope that you have enjoyed reading this interview.
You can visit my socials and websites and connect with me via the links listed above.
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