February 27, 2024

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Empowering Voices: Celebrating Women in Tech - Sarah Barrett

This is the first post in our International Women's Day-inspired blog series.  

In this series, we delve into crucial conversations surrounding gender diversity and inequality within the tech industry. Our colleagues share their personal journeys, shedding light on the challenges they've encountered and the successes they've achieved along the way.

We explore how we can collectively create a more inclusive environment where women can thrive professionally and personally. We also highlight the invaluable contributions of our male allies who champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, and actively support their female counterparts.

Sarah Barrett, Head of Business Analysis 

What does your job involve?

My role at Jumar is quite broad; I’m a business analyst by trade which means I meet with clients / customers and discuss with them their business problems or opportunities and I help them realise a successful outcome through IT or business change.  But in Jumar I also get involved in Sales, internal change, team management, recruitment and so much more.

Why did you choose a career in technology?

I actually didn’t, I fell into it!  I did a personality test when I applied for a Tax Inspector role with HMRC and from my answers they concluded I would make a good BA.  I’m so glad they did!

Did you study an IT or technology-related subject at College or University?

No, and I didn’t go to college or university until I was much older.  I studied the Business Analysis qualifications as I built my career but then I had the opportunity to do a Foundation Degree with my employer back in 2012, so I then went back to education and studied a Foundation Degree in Computer Science.  It was pretty daunting, not only were there very few females on the course but I was a lot older than many of the other students.  However, as a group we gelled really well and supported one another in a very collaborative and inclusive environment.

What do you think would encourage more women to study technology-related courses?

I think a realisation that working in tech isn’t all coding and sitting behind a computer!  Quite often its collaboration, innovation, creativity and problem solving as well as building relationships and trust and having the satisfaction in helping a client achieve their goals.

Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

Some meetings I attend have a distinct lack of female representation and I think sometimes that can be more prevalent as you progress up the career ladder.  But for me it’s more about the individual than the gender; I’ve met some incredibly talented and skilled female techies but equally men also.  I try not to ever be driven by stereotypes or assumptions; IT is an industry where anyone can make a contribution; male, female, young, old, any race, religion, physical / mental ability or sexual orientation.  Tech does not discriminate.

How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

I believe females need to understand the breadth of roles in IT to appreciate how their skills may be utilised in a technical or IT capacity.  I think being able to see past the male domination that is sometimes apparent (in my degree course there were 2 females but 20 males) and know what value we can add.

Have you experienced any barriers/challenges so far in your career as a woman in tech?

No, not really.  I think the biggest hurdle sometimes for women are around family commitments and being mobile and travelling when you have a young family.  But I suspect that impacts males in our industry too.  I don’t get particularly phased if I am the single female in an otherwise male environment; I know my views are relevant and so I contribute as I would if there were all females in the room or a balanced mix.

What advice would you give young women today at the start of their career?

Find your passion.  We spend a lot of time at work and while not every day will be wonderful, if you can pursue a career where you have a sense of achievement, accomplishment, you look forward to the challenge and you have more good days than bad, then I think you are onto a winner. And also, be open!  I fell into this career and sometimes that’s how things happen; you are given an opportunity, and you just allow yourself to be open to it.  You never know, it might just be the best thing you do.


Look out for more empowering stories and discussions in our series over the coming weeks as we celebrate International Women's Day 2024.