Author: Jesline Justine
Coming from a computer engineering background, I never imagined that I would one day work in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).
However, it’s turned out to be just the right fit for me, and by far the most interesting area of tech I have ever worked in.
I began my career as a programmer, securing my first job through a national-level coding competition. At the time, I thought that IT was all about programming, but I soon discovered that there were many more dimensions to this industry.
I joined CGI in 2018 as a Graduate Consultant. Since then, my journey has been nothing but exciting. Although the world is not always easy for women with strong career ambitions, I’ve learned that remaining confident, building a great network and being fearless enough to pursue your own instincts will ensure a thriving career in tech.
My Top Tips for young women in STEM to get ahead
While I’m happy to say men and women are treated equally at CGI, discrimination is still an unfortunate reality in some environments.
Sadly, there are still people who believe that women are inferior to men when it comes to technology, and they treat females poorly or differently in the workplace.
The most important thing to remember here is simply to have confidence in your abilities and not let these negative experiences affect how you feel about yourself.
Be curious as well. I have never allowed myself to just sit back and get comfortable in my job. Whenever things start to get easy, I step it up and ask for new tasks so I can learn more!
I have also taken every opportunity that has come my way since day one, to learn about all of the different parts of the businesses I’ve worked in, not just my own. There are many areas of tech to potentially excel in, so explore every possibility when you have a chance to do so.
And concentrate on your communication and networking skills. Growing a career in tech is not just about technical know-how. There are many people today with impressive technical skills, but with the right network and relationships behind you, you’ll have a competitive advantage that really aids your progression as you move forward.
I’ve been given many inside tips on potential opportunities for my company, simply because of my rapport with a client who trusts me enough to tell me. I’ve passed these on to my managers immediately and it’s given me a lot of extra credibility over the years.
The importance of finding the right work-life balance
I believe that achieving a healthy balance between your work and your personal life is the key to feeling positive about your career. If your job is starting to feel like a burden, it may be time to reassess your work/life situation.
Having ambitious career goals shouldn’t mean neglecting your personal life. On the contrary, a good work/life balance helps you to be more focused and productive professionally. Ultimately, being happy in your personal life can improve the quality of the work you produce.
Just as important is finding an employer who encourages, develops and celebrates women in this industry.
CGI has continuously presented me with challenges to push myself professionally, and my successes here have always been acknowledged. On the occasions where I have failed, there is strong support available to help me pick myself back up again and learn how to do things better next time.
My father worked in the SCADA industry for many years, so I have been hearing stories about it since I was a little girl. I am so glad that I have this unique opportunity to work in such an exciting area of technology too.
If you’re curious to know what a career at CGI might look like for you, check out our careers page.