3 June 2020

What tech means to me, a non-techy

Louise Barker


What tech means to me, a non-techy

Opencast internal recruiter Louise Barker reflects on the career journey brought her into the tech sector.

Before starting in recruitment, I had worked as a bartender and had pranced around on stage during my drama and applied theatre degree (which was great fun!). I had never considered or could see myself working in the tech industry – oh, how things change, and in a good way.

Growing up, my relationship with technology was very much ‘turn on the computer, Gameboy or Nintendo DS and do what I wanted to do’ and as long as it worked, there were no questions asked. I never considered where my game was from, how Google worked or how YouTube was created as long as I could watch Charlie bite his brother’s finger on repeat, talk to my friends on MSN or find the right source for my coursework. Other than “needing” tech, I didn’t have much interest in understanding it.

I have now been working in this industry for just over a year and I’ve learned so much, and how I view technology has changed massively. Rather than it just being an everyday thing that I, and the majority of the world, depend on to get through our day, I can now appreciate the people behind the technology, the ideas that go into it and the time it takes to develop. When I see and hear of new technology, I find myself interested and googling to find out more about it – how it came about, how it was developed and who developed it (one thing that still surprises me is just how many different job roles are involved in this process.)

An exciting piece of technology I have learned of since working in this industry is the technology that was built to measure fill levels of public bins in Newcastle. This technology helps the bin service create the most efficient route by knowing in advance which bins are full and which aren’t. There is some more info here if you are interested in knowing more about it. This is an example of something so simple which has created a positive change – as you can see from the article linked above, Newcastle City Council were able to reduce resources by 50%.

Working as a recruiter at Opencast and talking day to day to different developers, testers, and others who work in this industry has given me the opportunity to see the different aspects of the tech world. I have learned that with the industry growing as fast as it is, it can be difficult to find the right people for the roles we have available as Java and Scala developers, testers etc are in such demand (which is not a bad thing!) However, the more I learn about the industry, our clients and the candidates we interview, I understand how important it is to fill these roles with the right people but also to make sure that the role is right for the candidate.

I have been inspired by the people I work with here to get involved in conversations about technology, encouraged to attend conferences such as Build IT Right, and tech meetups like Agile North East (highly recommended – I learned a lot playing the DevOps ball game!). Along with this, I am seeing the great impact that technology and software development has had in the world we live in. I see this through the projects we work on with our clients, especially some recent developments directly assisting the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. All of this has contributed not only to my growing interest in the industry but also my desire to further my career.

Tech to me now is a lot of different things. It allows us to improve how we teach in schools, how efficient our businesses work, and how we live our lives in general. It gives us the ability to connect; being able to see and stay in close contact with friends and family even if they live on the other side of the world, meeting and creating new relationships with people you never would have met through shared interests.

We see the benefits of this more now during Covid-19 lockdown, people coming together through video calls to work and socialise, sharing relatable content from social media and also being able to keep up to date with world and local news.

For me, my journey in this industry is just beginning and I am sure that over time, what tech means to me will change as technology changes. It’s only been a year; I can’t wait to see what happens next.