Dr Sue Black

Founder and CEO, Savvify "Engage Enlighten Inspire"

Dr Sue Black

I left home at 16, moved to London on my own at 17 and by 23 I was married with three children. Possibly not the best way to start a career in tech, but I got there eventually. Unfortunately my marriage broke down when I was 25 and I ended up a single parent with three children living on a council estate in Brixton. 

I was worried about how I would manage to provide for my three children on my own, I didn't have a well-paid job I could go back to, what should I do?

I decided that I needed to get an education. I studied maths at night schools and then went to South Bank University to study computing. That went well so I went on and did a PhD in software engineering looking at an area called impact analysis. I wanted to work out how to provide useful information to software engineers maintaining large, millions of lines of code, software systems. I reformulated an algorithm and produced a prototype tool in C which computed the "ripple effect" metric, a measure of how a change made to a system would ripple across and cause side effects.

While I was working on my PhD I applied for a full time lectureship, which I got and started a full time career in academia. I became a course leader, taught thousands of students and got promoted to Senior Lecturer. I then applied for a post as Reader focusing back on research. I loved teaching and research, and still do.

After a few more years I applied for a Head of Department role at University of Westminster and was head there for nearly four years before moving to UCL as an Honorary Research Fellow. While at UCL I realised that what I really want to do is to get as many people as possible excited about technology and all its benefits. 

Technology can open so many doors. From a basic understanding of email, writing documents and spreadsheets through to app design, web design and social media. The possibilities for someone who is tech savvy as opposed to someone who is not are very dramatic. My love of technology has led me to set up an organisation focused on getting people excited about tech and tech savvy. That organisation is called Savvify and our first initiative is called #techmums. We are currently on a mission to get the world tech savvy starting with mums. We believe that "educate a man and you educate one person, educate a woman and you educate a nation".

We believe that if we get mums tech savvy they not only help themselves, but mums will teach everyone else around them how cool tech is. 

I'm writing this sitting at the United Nations HQ in Geneva. I'm here for Girls in ICT Day 2014. There are lots of initiatives around now to support and encourage girls and women in tech. There is a skills shortage in this area and there are so many exciting fields in tech to work in. The time is ripe to get out there and get yourself a career in technology. Tech is going to change the world for the better. Be a part of that change :)

About Sue

A visionary leader and radical thinker who excels at bringing people together to solve complex issues. Well known for online and offline activism around women in tech and Saving Bletchley Park, an inspirational public speaker, media savvy and a social media-holic.

An accomplished academic manager and researcher with more than 40 publications and a PhD in software engineering.

Sue is currently focused on getting the world tech savvy starting with mums and writing a book about the campaigns to save Bletchley Park

Web: http://about.me/SUEBLACK

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The real figures

BCS and eSkills have updated for 2014 the Women in IT Scorecard.

BCS survey

79% of IT professionals feel that the profession would benefit from having more women working in IT roles - read more results from our recent survey.

Women in IT

Three expert women in IT debate the issues and suggest some innovative solutions to the gender imbalance problem in IT. Watch the debate

Interview

Listen to an interview with Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen and Kate Russell, journalist and author, discussing why it’s important for more women to be part of the IT profession.

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