Software Developer, JPMorgan Chase & Co
We're at a time now where technology is such that we can create or do just about anything. The barriers to entry in the technology world are falling, and women are an ever-growing percentage of the technologist population.
I would love to say that I began my career in the technology industry and followed a well thought out path to where I am today, but that is far from the truth. After graduating with a BSc in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, I went into independent sales, holding contracts with various companies and building up a stable book of business. Although successful, my real passion was rooted in technology. Changing careers to join the technology industry meant leaving a solid position and income, returning to school, and effectively rebooting in technology what I had already created in a different industry.
On my first day of class it instantly became apparent that I was joining a male-dominated field, being the only female in each of my classes. The program I joined perfectly fit the stereotype of the industry, with few groups or networking opportunities available despite faculty attempts. I was up against a class full of men who had been programming since they were five, whereas I had just begun.
During the summer break of my studies I interned with J.P. Morgan, which introduced me to a very different side of the technology industry and corporate world. I was concerned that, given my limited coding experience, I would struggle at whatever job I was assigned to for the summer. However, I had nothing to lose by trying.
The support, not only from my manager and the Corporate Development Program for interns, but also from internal networks like Women in Technology (WIT) and Womens Interactive Network (WIN), was amazing. I left that summer with an offer in-hand to return full time after graduation, a new level of confidence, and several lessons learned.
Be open to failure.
Try anything once. I believe the saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is overused and not always true. Rather I think it should be "If you don't succeed, you don't have to try again if you don't want to, but at least you gave it a chance." What's the worst that can happen? Someone says no to your question or you don't succeed on the first try?
It's not about what you know, but who you know, right? But remember that who you know won't cover for what you don't know. Relationships can be a catalyst for success, but you and you alone must own your success. People work with those they like and trust. If you serve as a resource and help others succeed, they, in turn, will help you succeed.
This is where your network will come in very handy. If you don't know something, don't pretend. Chances are, if you've built up your network, you know someone that has the answer. Reach out and ask them. People would rather spend 5 minutes explaining now than 30 minutes fixing later on.
Let the cards play themselves.
If you had asked me 10 years ago what I thought I would be doing today, working in technology for one of the largest investment banks in the world never would have even crossed my mind. You rarely end up doing what you initially set out to do at the start of your career. Bumps, twists and turns take you down various paths, but they all lead you to where you're meant to be. I may not have liked every job I had between then and now, but each one of those led me to where I am now, and without them I wouldn't be here.
Managing Director, EMEA Treasury Services, Cash Management and CIB Branches Technology JPMorgan Chase & Co
People ask 'what is it like being a woman in technology'? My answer to that is 'what is it like to be a man in technology'? For me, it is just how it is... I am a woman and the path my career has taken me has danced in and out of technology as it has progressed over the years. It is a comfortable environment, one I am very familiar with.
Women are underrepresented in the technology space and fewer young women are entering further education within the Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths faculties. If continued and not stemmed this drop-off will clearly limit the talent pool of the future and make it even more difficult to achieve gender balance in the workplace, which in itself will limit efficacy within business. It has after all been proven again and again that a diverse workforce is indeed more productive, more harmonious and higher achieving than one that attracts people biased toward recruiting largely within a specific demographic.
Technology was not where it started for me. I only moved into this area after seeing the amazing effects the application of technology brought to the business area I was working in at the time. The increased productivity and job satisfaction automation brought to businesses back in the 1980s and early 1990s was truly inspiring for me as a young school leaver starting out in my career. Having been part of a technology enabled business transformation, I determined technology was indeed where I wanted to develop my career going forward, which is exactly what I have done.
Over the last 20 years, I have grown my career within technology, working my way up to CIO and Transformation Director roles within some top FTSE companies. There has never been a dull moment and the exposure I have had to so many different businesses has been incredible. The role of the CIO today affords an end-to-end view across a company previously only enjoyed by CEO's and CFO's as technology now underpins entire business operating models and offers a huge opportunity to drive competitive advantage through innovation in almost every industry sector.
The creative aspect to technology is often lost on people. Technology is sometimes considered dull (and I have had my moments at dinner parties just after the 'dot com' collapse where I tried everything possible to not admit to working in technology) but the truth is, technology is revolutionizing the world and developing now at such a staggering pace, it is almost inconceivable to me that people might continue to level that accusation at the industry.
I am proud to work within technology and proud to be a woman within this area and more than anything want to encourage girls and women of all ages to take the plunge... as Emma Watson so recently said... 'if not me, who... if not now, when'?
So, having never been active as a woman in technology previously, I am now stepping up to the plate and working with the many incredible women at J.P. Morgan who are part of initiatives such as the Women's Interactive Network (WIN), Women in Technology (WIT) and the Take IT Forward programme all designed to support women and their managers (male or female) to create an environment where everyone can flourish and have a meaningful and satisfying technology career within the banking sector.
I would urge all women out there currently working within technology to do likewise and take an interest in the women in technology agenda. Both men and women need to tackle this together if we are to make a real difference.
Bri Murphy is a software developer in Commodities Investment Banking for J.P. Morgan. She is involved in many firm-wide technology programs and events and is a strong advocate for women in technology. Leaving a career in sales to pursue her love of technology, she moved from Chicago to London and returned to school.
She obtained her MSc from Birkbeck University whilst interning with J.P. Morgan and joined the firm full time upon completion of her degree. She is involved in several firm-wide programs such as Women in Technology, which fosters the growth of women in Technology functions at J.P. Morgan.
A founding member of the Birkbeck University Enterprise HUB, she is still involved with the group and is a regular guest lecturer at Birkbeck University. She is also a guest speaker for the BBC's Women in Tech group. In her free time, Bri attends various coding challenges and technology events, loves to travel, and maintains a blog of her own.
Julia Warrack joined J.P. Morgan at the end of 2014 and has recently been appointed Bournemouth Technology Hub Lead and a member of the European Technology Operating Committee.
Previously Group CIO at Whitbread, Michael Page International, Tata Global Beverages and joint acting CIO, Diageo, Julia has successfully led business and technology enabled transformation programmes across multiple industry sectors over the last 20 years following an early career in the Civil Service largely outside of technology.