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Want to work in the tech industry but don’t love computers? The data centre industry could be for you

Woman holding a tablet standing in a data centre

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Opportunities in the data centre industry are there for the taking!

INTEREST IN THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY FOR THOSE WOMEN STARTING OUT THEIR CAREERS OR LOOKING TO CHANGE PATH CONTINUES TO RISE, PARTICULARLY DUE TO THE POPULARITY OF TRENDS SUCH AS AI, BLOCKCHAIN AND METAVERSE.

Emphasis is often placed on obtaining skills such as coding or engineering to have a successful career in the industry, however, Adelle Desouza, Founder of HireHigher is here to dispel the myth that you must have a love of computers to excel.  

Adelle Desouza, Founder of HireHigher

Adelle, has turned her experience within the tech industry and passion for supporting young people into a professional endeavour. Frustrated by the constant talk (and no action) in the data centre, cloud and telco industries about the need to attract more talent, she set up HireHigher. An organisation set to revolutionise how career advice is delivered in schools and how employers build programmes for young people starting their early careers to encourage them to consider entering the industry.  

Adelle is also launching her podcast series, ‘Adulting – a work in progress,’ where she tackles issues that young professionals face in today’s world.  

VARIETY OF ROLES AVAILABLE 

Many non-technical roles, particularly within the data centre sector, are crying out for new and diverse talent. Often there is the vision of a ‘Techie’, a person, usually male, hunched over a desk in a dark room working on some new code. However, there are many roles within the industry that rely less on technical skills and focus more on organisation (project managers), creativeness (PR and marketing), processes (HR) or people skills (sales). In fact, research found that 43 per cent of roles within the technology industry are non-technical, and that value is placed on these roles just as highly as the more technical counterparts.  

Recently we hosted 60 sixth form students from two London Schools to come and find out more about the world of work and the data centre and cloud industry. The students were taken off on a data centre tour which was truly eye opening for them – watching their reactions and hearing their follow up questions when it came to power consumption, green solutions and financial investment really was great.  

The feedback we received from many of the young people was that they didn’t realise there were career opportunities that didn’t hinge on having an interest in the technical side or wanting a career as an engineer. One student told me, “I’ve decided I now would like to get into tech for a career.” Another said, “I am now more confident and clearer on the path I want to take.” 

DRIVING A DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE WORKFORCE 

Today, organisations must focus on building a sustainable model for their workforce ensuring it is diverse and inclusive. With the average age of an engineer at 60 years old, the data centre industry is a great example of one that needs to work hard to educate and recruit new and diverse talent into the workforce to develop the next generation of professionals.  

It’s widely accepted that lack of diversity has a long-term negative impact, so it is imperative young people are inspired and encouraged to see that the data centre industry could be a viable and inclusive future career choice. Talking directly with young people in schools and highlighting the impact the data centre industry has on our lives, I believe, will help to encourage this new talent. 

The industry is driven by innovation, so it must strive to include those from different backgrounds, with a variety of skill sets to bring a new perspective to the workforce. Teams need more than technical skills to innovate, and the most successful companies appreciate this is the secret to their success. It is a great time for those of us who want to go for these non-technical roles to go for it, the industry has never been more exciting. 

NEXT STEPS 

I’ll admit, when I was younger, I was confused and unsure what my next options were. With minimal exposure to roles, industries and opportunities through school or university, I left school unaware of what was available to me. My advice for young people      looking to start out in the tech industry is research all roles, whether technical or non-technical and understand what you can bring to the table. The reality is that there is no role today that doesn’t involve technology, so it is important to be mindful of ‘writing off’ roles and industries based on your current exposure. Be aware that roles that exist now did not exist when I was a teenager, and the same will be true for when these young people enter the workforce.  

Critically, don’t feel the pressure to choose a job role or a career at such a young age. There is no reason to panic, rather remember everyone’s career timeline is different. Instead focus on the next steps you believe will develop you as an individual and think about transferable skills, as those are what any industry (tech or otherwise) will be looking for in the future.  

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