E2 - Rita Younger at World Wide Technology10 July, 2023
For the second episode of our spin-off series of The Route to Networking, which focuses on women in the Networking space, our host Maddy Norris was joined by Rita Younger, the Cloud Networking Solution Manager at Worldwide Technology. Rita has worked in the Networking industry for over 30 years now, where she has worked her way from a Consultant, a Data Centre Solution Architect, and a Technical Trainer at Cisco Systems. Now working at Worldwide Technology, she shares the reasons behind her change in career alongside what she’s doing currently to encourage more women in the tech space.
Being in the tech space for as long as she has, it was a very different time back when she was first starting out in her career. You had female careers where you went into what you thought you were good at. In Rita’s case, she was good at art so went down the graphic design route. She worked in that field for a couple of years before realising she was miserable.
Through her graphic design journey, she went and helped someone start a computer training company, got her MCSE from Microsoft, Novel, and Cisco certifications etc and from that she couldn’t get enough of the technical concepts. She found she was good at explaining tech, so she developed her presentation skills to help with her ability to speak publicly about technology. Initially, she had problems getting into a career as an Engineer because they said just because you can teach it doesn’t mean you know it. This led her to her consulting career. She worked for Cisco Systems as a Technical Trainer, travelled the world, and ultimately started on her Networking journey.
In the role she’s in, you need to be constantly keeping up to date with new and emerging technologies. She jokes because she has children who are Network Engineers and when they were younger, she didn’t read them nursery rhymes, she was reading them certifications books. When her son was 5, she had him reset IP addresses. So, she was not only engraving her skills and knowledge to her children, but she was also using it as a way to stay on top of technology and her training.
“I didn’t realise I was a woman in technology, I just wanted to be the best damn engineer there was”.
Even today in 2022, she finds that she walks into a room and there is an unconscious bias that she is somebody's assistant. For 30 years she has been fighting against that, and then the women in tech movement happened. Since then, she has attended the women in tech conferences but the problem she has found is that most of the women in the room weren’t engineers, they are in typical female roles just in the tech industry. This is something she wants to see change in the future.
Women in Global Engineering…
Women in Global Engineering give people the chance to meet and discuss various topics. Some of the things they do, for example, getting the leadership to do a speed mentoring session and if you have a granddaughter, daughter, niece etc between the ages of 4-18, they host a virtual take your daughter to work day and they send them stem kits and are asked to do a project to build something.
For all young women engineers who are looking to start a career in the Networking industry but don’t know where to start, give this episode a listen now! Rita shares her best advice on where you should start and what the best route to take is.