Three women recently appointed to senior tech roles discuss why it's so important for women and girls to explore tech-related education and careers
A number of women who have recently been appointed to senior positions in Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG) - the world recognised and leading ICT research centre based at WIT have highlighted the importance of raising awareness of technology career opportunities for young women so that it is the norm.
This follows the inaugural Women in Technology event held at the WIT Arena on International Women's Day 2018 which highlighted tech careers to schoolgoers across the south east of Ireland. In addition, in late 2017, a Women in Technology Society was established in WIT.
The three recent key senior appointments were Technology Gateway Manager, Denise Manton; and Research Unit Manager for the Mobile Ecosystem and Pervasive Sensing (MEPS) Research Unit Frances Cleary; and Catherine Cunniffe who is both TSSG Delivery Manager and PSES Unit Manager.
Careers that can lead to ground breaking change
As Technology Gateway Manager, Manton facilitates collaboration between industry and TSSG researchers and engineers to ensure industry engagements deliver measurable commercial value.
Manton who originally joined WIT five years previously as a research unit manager is part of a team that gets to constantly push boundaries.
“TSSG has supported my career progression from leading a research unit to now overseeing and growing the organisation’s commercial activities with industry partners. We must raise awareness amongst young girls that they can forge careers in technology that can lead to ground breaking change. The ultimate goal is for ‘women in tech’ conversations to be no longer a requirement, for it will be the norm for the ICT sector to have a gender balanced, diverse workforce which will propel research and innovation activities to greater heights,” says Manton who is also the co-founder of Presana Health; a start-up in the Life Sciences sector.
Frances Cleary is Research Unit Manager for the Mobile Ecosystem and Pervasive Sensing (MEPS) Research Unit in TSSG which is participating in the EU funded H2020 TransSec project that focuses on ‘Autonomous emergency manoeuvring and movement monitoring for road transport security’.
Importance of encouraging women in tech
Cleary, an Electronic Engineering graduate of WIT, has found in her 14 years that TSSG is a positive ecosystem for women to advance their research career and actively engage on an equal level with their peers.
“Young women and girls need to be reminded that this digital world we live in is not just for men. This has been proven time and time again through strong, talented and accomplished women breaking boundaries in STEM and influencing technological advancements. Encouraging women in tech is vitally important and something we need to maintain a high level of awareness around, to actively build out a strong and equal workforce for the future,” she says.
Access to new and exciting opportunities
TSSG Delivery Manager and Professional Software Engineering Services (PSES) Unit Manager Catherine Cunniffe is another WIT graduate with 20 years’ experience across a broad base of the IT and telecommunications industries from start-ups to multinationals. More recently her role involves supporting TSSG’s international projects by delivering software solutions into its customer’s market places.
She believes every parent and educator should ensure that every young female has an opportunity and access to pursue a career in technology. “When I was applying for Computer courses in 1992, I knew I wanted something new and exciting. It never crossed my mind that working in technology would mean working in a male dominated industry.”
Cunniffe has found her employers over the last two decades have supported her in further developing her skills and advancing her career in technology.
TSSG works across the research, development and innovation spectrum in areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Advanced Infrastructure, Future Network Comms and IoT, Creative Design (UI/UX) and process driven software engineering. Located in the scenic WIT West Campus in Carriganore, TSSG boasts an international footprint through its strategic partnerships with industry and academic institutes.
The Technology Gateway funded by Enterprise Ireland and is part of an overall network comprising of 15 Gateways across 11 Institutes of Technology. Its purpose is to facilitate and grow collaboration between industry and research centres to progress Ireland’s global positioning on the research, development and innovation ladder, ultimately improving Irish economic growth.