Less than 15 percent of the people who work in ICT in The Netherlands are women. This percentage recently increased by 3 percent. The number of women following ICT training in the Netherlands also remains low, certainly compared to the European average. But of course, they are there. For example, Jessica Keppel at Solvinity.
What position do you have?
I am a Junior Engineer
How did you get to this position?
After high school I first followed the MBO course to become a nurse and soon after I went to work. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too much routine work for me, I missed the challenge. I studied nursing for another year, but it turned out to be not enough. In the last period of my career as a nurse I worked at a care center in Drenthe. For a long time, this was a fantastic job, but after 7 years it was no longer a challenge. I moved more and more towards the IT managers. I occasionally helped install workstations, write manuals, and help colleagues in the technical field. My husband Merijn Keppel, who also works at Solvinity, has been a great support in daring to take the step for the switch from healthcare to ICT. Before I would change my mind, I quickly registered for the part-time HBO course. The only thing I still had to arrange was a workplace in IT.
I posted an open application via LinkedIn to find a great workplace. At the same time, HR at Solvinity tipped me off. After a few pleasant conversations I got a job as Change and Release manager. A great experience, but I noticed that this was not yet the position I aspire to. That was listened to, and I was able to work as an engineer in a new engineering team at Solvinity.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Due to the rapid developments in IT, your learning curve is automatically very fast. It is a creative and challenging position in which I can still grow a lot. The pace is high, and the work is diverse. It is very cool to combine school and work in this way and to have colleagues around you who are always willing to help.
As a woman, what do you notice about IT as a man’s world?
That was exactly the question I had before I made the choice to switch to a career in IT. I am the only woman, both at school and in the team where I work. I was surprised when I heard that the numbers are very different in other countries. I still don’t really understand how this came about, but I don’t notice it much in daily life.
How do you think we can ensure that more women choose a career in tech?
When more emphasis is placed on the added value of women in IT, I think making the transition to learning and working in IT will also be easier. And show even more what great possibilities there are. Integrate tech more into the curriculum in preparatory courses, such as primary and secondary education.
What would you like to say to women considering a career in IT?
Don’t hesitate any longer and go for it! To this day I am still very happy with the choice I made.