Jay Patel

Joined in: Oct 2012

Job title: Principal Cloud Architecture Governance Manager

Jay Patel is an example of a woman who has thrived in a typically male-dominated industry. 

Since unearthing her passion and a career for computing in the late nineties whilst assembling a hefty Microsoft Windows 98 PC with her dad, she’s gone on to follow and achieve her dreams of working in the technology sector.

Read this blog to find out how she has defied stereotypes by working her way up and excelling in a variety of roles, namely working with Advanced for the best part of a decade to become a Principal Cloud Architecture Governance Manager.

It was the Summer of 98, and I will never forget the day my father came home from work with a large box that was half the size of him! I quickly unravelled the packaging to find, what was, back then, a state-of-the-art Microsoft Windows 98 PC. I connected it up to the dial-up internet and despite the 3 to 4 minutes of the cackling, screeching sound which led to internet connectivity; in those moments, I was sold.

My destiny and career would lie in computing.

Every step from that day, would be in pursuit of fulfilling my ambitions and dreams. Gender bias would not stand in my way.

As sad as it may be to admit, my spare time would involve taking the PC apart and putting it back together again. Just for fun! In my education, I opted to take A-level Computing which was then the stepping stone which secured me a place at Aston University undertaking a Computer Science degree.

I will never forget walking into lecture rooms or lab classes (it truly was a room full of testosterone!) My heart would race as I felt apprehensive and nervous as I sat amongst my male peers. I felt slight amounts of anxiety; would I be accepted as one of the only women in my class? Would I feel out of place? It was always recognisable when I walked into the room, as you could distinguish the sound of my 'click clack' heels. But despite being one of the few women studying in this field, I am blessed as I look back on my experience and journey with a smile on my face. I am fortunate to have never faced any hardship, prejudice or seized opportunities, due to my gender. My gender has also never affected the way I have been perceived or treated, with a fair chance at every stage. For this, I am forever grateful. Especially when not every sister in our industry has had the same experience.

After graduating, I started my first role in IT with Advanced (Serco Learning then). In my 14 years with this organisation, I am pleased to see a gradual change.  I would be in denial, if I were to say, there is an even split of men and women within our division, or that that the majority were not men. However, it is positive to see an increase in women working within the industry. It's incredible to see the number of women working in Engineering, especially outside of the UK. And, it is incredible to see a rise in women leaders, we only have to look at the C-Suite which represents this.

For those starting out in IT now, I appreciate your journey may not be as seamless as mine. My hope is that you don't walk into a male dominated room. My hope is you don't feel out of place or anxiety due to gender. I think a continuation of education, encouragement, awareness, and celebrating women who have made great strides in IT will help get more girls interested in the field. At the end of the day, you need someone in the role that can do the job, regardless of their gender, and therefore we should continue to promote inclusivity and diversity.

My advice to anyone out there wanting to pursue a career in IT, would be to always follow your heart and your dreams and to be brave. In the famous words of Beyoncé; ‘Who run the world?’ Girls!