Women in Tech: “Dare to question things and adapt them for your own purposes!”
Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Uta Hemmann, Managing Consultant at Microsoft.
A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?
Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Uta Hemmann, Managing Consultant at Microsoft.
Today’s Woman in Tech: Uta Hemmann, Managing Consultant at Microsoft
As a student, I already worked for an Internet start-up and then for Telekom at Product & Innovation. There I worked in the “Agile Transition” on the agilisation of software development teams. Here I was able to gain in-depth experience with development projects and their management at a very early stage.
I then joined Union Investment as a freelancer and started working in a team that was responsible for the effective aggregation of risk data and risk reporting. Here I built a platform for the entire project management, documentation, test and communication management. Here I was able to familiarize myself even more intensively with Microsoft technologies such as Sharepoint, Nintex & Co. My pronounced change management expertise also stems from this time. It was a phase full of challenges, ideas and solutions.
At the end of 2017 I joined my current employer, the IT service provider adesso, where I have been leading customer projects in the Microsoft environment as a management consultant ever since.
When did you become interested in technology?
I come from a family of electrical and mechanical engineers. In my childhood, a lot of things were screwed and unscrewed and worked together. So there was a basic understanding of machines and technology that was transferred to me. My parents supported and encouraged me in this respect, as they brought me into contact with technology at an early age and taught me that girls can do this just as well as boys. Through these early experiences I developed a fascination for technology in order to develop or adapt certain things for myself or for others according to my own wishes. In addition, I developed a certain “maker gene”, which I also inherited from my family.
Obstacles and challenges
I am also a member of the “adesso eleven”, a team of eleven IT experts who are working at adesso to crack the male domain of IT and to inspire more young women for this interesting field of work.
My impression is that as a woman in this field you always have to go a little bit more in advance and are a tad more on the test than your male colleagues. I find that tiresome at times: proving that you have what it takes to do it. But I like doing it. I love my job and I like to show that.
In general, I had experiences where people felt that women are not trusted to do complicated things. There is also the cliché that women are more sensitive and less capable of conflict and assertion, and that they are therefore not so good at managing large projects involving many people. Which of course is nonsense.
A day in Uta’s life
I am working for adesso as a Managing Consultant in the Microsoft area. Here I regularly have project meetings at the customer’s site or within my team, conduct workshops, control and develop IT strategies for different challenges in different companies. For example for companies in the banking and insurance sector, where I am responsible for the implementation of software systems and technologies for risk management, compliance, maintenance, change management and sales processes. I currently also support other customers in the automotive and manufacturing industries.
I am also a member of the “adesso eleven”, a team of eleven IT experts who are working at adesso to crack the male domain of IT and to inspire more young women for this interesting field of work. “She for IT – for more women in IT professions” is the motto of our initiative, which was launched by my employer. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, the national coach of the national women’s soccer team, supports this initiative as a prominent patroness and accompanies the adesso eleven also very actively with exciting coachings and bootcamps for the personal development of the participants. It is a great cause that I personally support with full commitment! Because I think it is a longer process until we have really implemented the large-scale project Diversity. But personally I am looking forward to everything that comes in this regard – and through my work at “She for IT” at adesso I would like to actively contribute to changing things for women in IT.
What are you particularly proud of in your career?
While working for a bank, I developed a complete project platform of which I am very proud of. It integrated everyone involved and provided a 360-degree view of all levels of the project. Since I did not study computer science but civil engineering, I can’t program, but the Microsoft technology cosmos still offers me many possibilities and under this premise I have of course also made some developments in my field in the last few years. At adesso I am currently developing a project controlling and monitoring platform – in addition to my activities as IT project manager – in order to support other project managers and to give our customers an insight into their projects and to make monitoring, controlling and steering more efficient. Last but not least, this is especially important to me because I want to give project managers the opportunity to take care of their project and the customer and not to get lost in the administration of the project.
Why aren’t there more women in the tech industry?
The tech industry is still a male domain. A traditionally male-dominated culture prevails here. In the construction industry, for example, where I originally come from, there is a rather harsh tone among men. You have to be able to deal with that as a woman. Many people find it rather daunting. The whole technology is not necessarily the hobby of women either. It’s simply because they haven’t had much contact with it since childhood. Education and socialisation have immense influence. I was lucky to grow up with it in my family and in my environment as a matter of course. Maybe that’s why it’s rather easy for me today to move in male circles and to assert myself. Women with an affinity for technology have to come to terms with the fact that they are often underestimated in their jobs. At least until they have proven that they can do it just as well – or even better.
My tip is: Get to know as many people as possible, because every person has different abilities from which you can benefit.
Why should more women work in the tech industry?
Because diversity is important! Because mixed teams are demonstrably more successful. Women look at situations differently, are more socially oriented, have more empathy, can read people better and are more likely to notice when personal matters are out of balance and could hinder the progress of the project. In fact, even if this sounds strange, they do in fact ensure that people behave, which has a cultural aspect. Men are often in strong competition with each other, which encourages ego-shows instead of teamwork – they don’t do that so much when women are involved.
Basically, however, things don’t just get better just because there are more women in the team, but it’s also always primarily about having the right competence in the right place at the right time. Then the economic result is also right.
What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?
My tip is: Get to know as many people as possible, because every person has different abilities from which you can benefit. This is especially important in technology, where everyone is a specialist for something. There is not an armada of specialists in which everyone can do everything equally well, but rather there is a strong specialization in IT – and women should know and use this. And another tip for women: Dare to question things and adapt them for your own purposes!
More Women in Tech:
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