I'm Anna, Sales Account Executive at CloudLinux. As a fairly recent recruit, the company wanted to hear how I’d got into IT and what it’s like being a remote-working woman in a male-dominated field. Here's what I told them.
How I got into IT
Becoming a part of the remote working culture at CloudLinux wasn’t hard. This way of life had sneaked into my work patterns since my first job in IT. And like many, I fell into this sector accidentally.
I’m originally from Spain and was studying Psychology there. To complete my studies, I moved to the Netherlands, and it was there one day that I went along with a friend to a web hosting conference. My studies were looking at how people’s behavior varies according to the medium they use, specifically those on the internet, so I thought it might be interesting for me. At the event I met a web service provider moving into Spanish markets. We got talking. Being Spanish, I had lots of ideas and insights for them. Soon after, they offered me a job and suddenly I was deep into IT. I was later head-hunted by other internet companies, and they helped me broaden my experience.
If you know Rotterdam or Amsterdam, you’ll know what a nightmare the traffic can be. A 45 minute drive can take 3 hours. So it was normal for us to work from home a couple of days a week, or come in at 10 to avoid the Dutch rush hour. Then my job took me traveling, and I was away from home so much that I had those mornings waking up not knowing where I was, and getting out of the hotel bed on the wrong side and hitting the wall. I was traveling but it was like remote working in that you have to be adaptable and communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds. These are the same skills I’m using every day in my sales role at CloudLinux.
How I work remotely
Remote working isn’t for everyone.
I've adjusted to it now, but still, I am very much a social person and love the hubbub of everyday life. Before, even though I was working away from the office, I always had colleagues or customers to talk to. Now, sometimes I go and work outside, in a cafe or somewhere, just to feel connected with people. I know for some this can be a distraction, but for me it’s a way to focus.
Want to hear a trick I learned to make myself have a break?
Stare at the kettle!
I'll make tea and watch the water boil. It sounds crazy but I'm a bit of a workaholic, so I need to force myself to rest, if only for a few minutes.
Working from home, working remotely, it has its ups and downs, and you need little tricks like this to keep yourself healthy. I like to start my day with a good breakfast of hot oats. And a few times a week I end my day boxing with my personal trainer. It's a time when I'm completely focused and it’s a great way to 'switch off' and get out of the house. It’s booked in advance so there’s no escape!
What I miss most is being able to skip down the corridor to chat with a colleague or friend about some idea that just popped into my head. Sure, there is Skype, Slack, and so on, but they are not as immediate and sometimes you have to wait for an answer.
Yes! I am a Woman in IT!
And no, it's not unusual anymore.
Workplace diversity is improving. When I started in IT, everyone knew me at events like CloudFest (where I’ve been all last week–it was fabulous!) because I was the only woman there. I've had those moments where a customer appears and asks me, “Can I speak to someone from the company?”, even though I'm wearing my company-branded gear and ID badge! So yes, as a woman, it takes a little more effort to get established in IT, to prove we are as good as men when it comes to tech. There are now lots of superb women developers out there, but still, men are surprised when they meet a woman who knows how to code and what GIT is.
Remote working is more common at start-ups, partly because it's cheaper, and because they can; they're small, and communication is between just a few people. CloudLinux is mature and no longer a start-up (10 years on we’ve 150 people with more joining every week) but still retains a flexible and efficient distributed working ethic, one that recruits people based on pure merit. Location, gender, age, none of those things matter. I was also glad to find a healthy percentage of women working here, and not just in admin, but in tech too. I'm proud to be boosting the numbers and doing what I can to push the company to the next level of success. Maybe you’ll join us soon?