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Emalee Tea: Profile of a ShadowTech Alumni

ShadowTech provides girls in Y9–11 with an opportunity to experience what working in the tech sector is like, encouraging them onto education pathways that lead into tech sector roles.

The programme connects girls at school with women working in the tech sector, who act as mentors.  Secondary school students get to spend a day with the woman in tech, experiencing a day in the life of an IT professional.

Emalee Tea is an alumni of the ShadowTech programme, who has gone on to study for a career in the tech sector. Here are her thoughts on why other girls should get involved:

What education pathway have you decided to take after leaving high school?
I am studying towards a Bachelor of Computer and Information Science at AUT; currently in my first year. So far, I’m really enjoying it, particularly the problem solving aspects of programming. I find this really fun to do, because I can come up with my own way of getting any tasks done. Even if I can’t get my code to work at first, which happens all the time, I develop from it. Plus there’s a great feeling that comes after finally solving any bugs in your code and finally getting it to work.

How did attending ShadowTech influence your decisions on what to study after high school?
I attended ShadowTech when I was 14 years old and a student at Aorere College. At the time, computer science wasn’t widely promoted within my school. After attending ShadowTech, I enrolled into a computing class offered at my high school as I was curious to find out more about what I’d seen during the day, and have a chance to put the ideas discussed into practise.

What did you enjoy about participating in ShadowTech? How did your involvement with the day influence your decisions in what to study?
One of the things I really enjoyed about participating in ShadowTech was seeing the many different careers that IT has to offer. It was just fascinating to see how much IT impacted companies of all kinds, not just technology companies. I spent the day at an insurance company, and I had no idea how much they used technology before I went there. I remember sitting next to one of the ladies who showed me a programme she worked on, with a bunch of code that I did not understand at all. I found it really fascinating and I just wanted to learn how it all worked and helped the company to run smoothly.

What is your advice to other high school girls considering a career in tech?
Don’t let the fact that people say IT can be a male-dominated career pathway stop you from pursuing a career in tech. Girls can do anything that guys can do, and do it just as well. Technology definitely isn’t a career that’s all about sitting behind a computer all day, there’s so many different career choices in technology out there suited to anybody, so don’t limit your choices. Have fun learning, because I think this is a career that teaches you things as you go along; even with a degree, you’ll always be learning something new as technology develops.

Why would you encourage other young girls to attend ShadowTech?
I would encourage other young girls to attend ShadowTech, even those that maybe haven’t thought about a career in tech. In our fast developing society, technology is widely becoming more incorporated into almost every career and industry. ShadowTech gives girls the opportunity to see what a potential career in tech is like, as well as getting any questions you may have answered. It’s always good to give yourself options even if technology might not even be something you’re considering at the moment, I know you’ll definitely take something away from this experience. You can meet other students who are interested in tech; and develop a relationship with a mentor to help guide you through decisions about what to study in the future.

Join Emalee at Techweek event, “From Pencils to Pixels – The Future of Work Skills”
Tuesday, 22 May, 12:00 – 3:00pm
ASB Cube, 12 Jellicoe St
Auckland

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