March 27th, 2018
Women-in-Tech: A Work in Progress
By Danielle Steed

Within the Leonardo Museum, in Salt Lake City, sits a mural of national acclaim. It depicts the many women who have made significant contributions in history; yet their stories, and names are widely unknown. As I stood in front of the mural, I was struck with the realization that I did not know who many of these women were. Questions riddled my mind such as, “Who are these women?” “What did they each contribute?” and “Why have their stories been erased from history?”

It was then that the title of the mural, Work in Progress seemed all the more fitting. During this moment of self and historical reflection, I realized that all of this—you, me, this world—is truly a work in progress. We get to choose what contributions we will make in our work, our families, and our communities. Women have played and always will play a leading role in the history of the world, but it will be up to us to decide what part we play in this work in progress.

During the month of March, the world celebrates Women’s History Month and honors the many outstanding women who have contributed and are contributing in positive ways. 1Strategy, an Advanced Amazon Consulting Partner, joined in the celebration by hosting AWS Women-in-Tech Brunch & Learn events in Seattle and in Salt Lake City. At both of these events we had the opportunity to hear from powerful women who shared their experiences on how they have enhanced their tech careers. Attendees were also able to take part in technical demonstrations and breakout groups where they asked questions to the speakers. Here are some of the highlights from those who spoke in Seattle and Utah:

SEATTLE

Show Up, Demonstrate Interest, Go Above and Beyond

Jane Lacy, a Senior Manager, World Wide Public Sector at AWS, shared the following advice for succeeding  in your career: show up as asked, [but] be early because you want to demonstrate an interest above and beyond the job; ask to do more; communicate what you have done and how it has affected the work; never lose your desire to “Learn and Be Curious.” She ended by saying “Keep the faith you were born with, be the pillar of strength you have earned, demonstrate a peaceful command for your knowledge and skills and never, ever, settle for less than what you truly believe in.”

Women Are Great Leaders 

Seattle attendees were able to learn about Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) using AWS Developer Tools. Stephanie Lingwood, a DevOps Engineer for 1Strategy demonstrated her expertise and answered technical questions. Those in attendance were able to learn about different AWS services such as AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeBuild.

Stephanie also shared the following quote from the 2017 State of DevOps Report, “Good leaders help build great teams, great technology, and great organizations indirectly, by enabling teams to re-architect their systems and implement continuous delivery and lean management practices,” (18).

SALT LAKE CITY

Thrive, Don’t Just Survive

Kim Majerus, a leader in State in Local Government at Amazon Web Services (AWS), posed the following questions that are important to consider when deciding if you are thriving or surviving in your career:

  • What interests you?
  • What is your brand?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years?

These are all questions that we each must ask ourselves in order to determine where we are in our careers and where we want to end up. As Steven Covey suggests, “Begin with the end in mind.” This sort of mindset allows us to enjoy our work and thrive rather than merely subsisting. If you are not enjoying your work perhaps you should reevaluate and make necessary changes so that you can feel like you are enjoying your career. If you find yourself feeling stagnant or not being challenged, it is important to make some modifications. Daily challenges can help you grow and progress and keep your work interesting.

Provide Networking and Mentoring Opportunities for Women

Divya Reddy, a Data Analyst from Boostabilty, shared that we can enhance opportunities for women by “Strengthening female networking and mentoring opportunities and providing funding exclusively for women by encouraging more female entrepreneurs.” This all starts by making “improvements to education and raising awareness about technology and tech careers. [By doing so] we counteract negative perceptions.” We should encourage our hiring managers to hire more women from diverse backgrounds.

Cloud Security is a Shared Responsibility

Alert Logic co-hosted our WIT event held in Utah, in connection with The Leonardo Museum and AWS. Marija Strazdas, a Sr. Solutions Engineer, covered the topic of cloud security. Security can be broken down into what Marija called the “Security Triad,” which contains three important parts: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. She offered seven important best practices for ensuring that your cloud environments remain secure:

  1. Secure your code
  2. Create access management
  3. Adopt a patch management approach
  4. Review logs regularly
  5. Build a security standard—Achieve visibility
  6. Leverage automation tools
  7. Understand your cloud service provider’s security model 

TAKE NOTE

Lastly, don’t forget to pause in this journey and see how far you have come. We have limitless potential if we will just believe in that truth. Jane Lacy suggests that “one common thread that women in tech have is the desire to achieve. The evolution of technology is symbolism for how we [personally] evolve. Take the time to jot down your past achievements, small and large…have them at the ready for those days when [you] don’t think [you have] done enough or are progressing.” Take Jane’s advice today! Always remember that you are making difference in this work in progress.