Emma Hopkinson-Spark rocks in the SR2 spotlight
Our awesome Delivery Director and part-time coach Emma Hopkinson-Spark spoke to SR2 Co-Founder Alicia Teagle for their Women Rock blog last week about her contracting career path, supporting women in tech with our new WTF community and how to stand out in the crowd (blue hair helps).
In case you missed the highlights:
What advice would you give to women about contracting positions?
I think it can feel risky when you’re looking from the outside in. I struggled with the decision when I was offered my first contract role as my daughter was just a few months old at the time. But, I spoke to friends who had already made the transition, braved it and never regretted taking the plunge.
I was given great advice to make sure I had at least three months ‘wages’ saved before I started. I had to pay two mortgage instalments before my first invoice was paid and it took a while to feel settled. One of the things I did was to pay myself regularly, whether I was working or not, which worked out well. Whilst I was working and invoicing, my business bank account was growing, which meant I was always able to take time off without impacting my personal income.
Tell me about the new WTF community at 101 Ways
On International Women’s Day, we launched the 101 Ways’ Women’s Tech Focus (WTF) – a new community group. Our first event was talking about ‘going freelance’. We want to build a support network of women working in technology. We aim to facilitate the initial conversations so the groups can become self-organising and self-sufficient, and go on to work out how best to help each other in the future.
If you could change anything within the industry what would you do and why?
When it comes to hiring people, I’d like to see less emphasis on a specific amount of time spent working with any particular technology and more focus on good engineering practices, communication and collaboration, problem solving and analysis. Technologies will come and go, but quality engineers will always be valuable.
How can we get more women into tech careers from your experience?
I believe it has to start young. As a woman who has been an engineer before moving into different roles within technology, I can only talk from personal experience about why I left an engineering career path. At the time, I didn’t know any other women engineers and never felt like I had a handle on the issues. As they say, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.