IWD24: Inclusion with Tash, Tennille and Zuza

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating some of the amazing women who help make BaseKit the company it is today. 

Taking inspiration from this year’s theme of inclusion, we took some time to catch up with Tash, Tennille and Zuza to learn more about their tech careers so far.

First up we spoke with Tash, Product Manager here at BaseKit, about pursuing a career in tech and the benefits of doing an apprenticeship. 

When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

Working in tech was something I decided to pursue before leaving secondary school. After leaving school, I started a software and web development apprenticeship where I learned more about the tech industry and developed my skills.

What specific knowledge did you gain during your apprenticeship that has helped you in your tech career so far?

During my apprenticeship, I learned more about programming languages, development frameworks, customer support, and project management. This experience helped me figure out my career path, which led me to start a career in product management. I was able to try out different technical and non-technical roles in tech during my apprenticeship, such as QA tester, devops, project management and business analyst.

You work in the product team, how were you made to feel included when you first started working at BaseKit?

When I first joined the product team, I felt welcomed and included, I jumped straight into the weekly meetings and the open communication and collaboration was refreshing.

What advice would you give someone looking to work in tech?

Firstly, explore areas within the tech industry to find what interests you the most. Networking and connecting with professionals in tech is important, and attending tech events is a great way to do so. Lastly, keep learning about the tech industry as it is constantly changing, offering new opportunities and roles.

Next, we spoke with Tennille, Global Key Account Manager here at BaseKit, who last year made the decision to relocate from the South West of the UK back home to Australia.

How have you been made to feel included as part of the BaseKit team while working on the other side of the world?

BaseKit have always made a conscious effort to focus on inclusion regardless of where in the world you might reside. For example when we have monthly company meetings and lunch is provided, my doorbell rings and it’s an Uber eats delivery from BaseKit. It’s small gestures like these that make me feel valued, included and a part of the overall team. Even if I am 9,461 miles away!

We also have a fabulous “Wellness Warrior” champion in the company, who facilitates amazing webinars and workshops around physical, mental and emotional health for all employees within BaseKit. These kinds of benefits work wherever you are in the world.

I am also really lucky enough to have a super engaged manager, who schedules regular check-in’s to ensure I am feeling supported and heard.

What are some of the biggest challenges working from Australia?

I’d have to say the main challenge for me is the occasional feeling of isolation. This is undoubtedly due to the limited in-person interaction with my work colleagues. I’m definitely a social person and really enjoy being in the physical company of other people. I miss the hallway or kitchen banter you have when in an office environment – not to mention the super fun work socials and company events BaseKit organise.

What are some of the biggest benefits of working from Australia?

For me the biggest benefit is that I have most of my “day time” free! Due to the nature of time zones, I work from late afternoon into the early hours of the morning. It means I can attend all my kids’ school events, spend time during the day exercising or have a swim at my local beach – I have a great work life balance in that respect.

What advice would you give someone looking to work in tech?

DO IT! The tech world is fast-paced, energetic and such an exciting industry to be involved in. It’s ever changing and evolving, which creates diversity and keeps things super interesting. From my overall experience in the tech industry, most tech companies really value culture, which makes for a fun, happy environment to be a part of.

Finally, we sat down with BaseKit QA Test Analyst Zuza Kopacka, to discuss transitioning from a non-tech role into the tech industry. 

When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in tech?

Since I was a child I enjoyed spending time on the computer and with my camera. Back then I thought nothing of it, I was just a kid who liked playing games and taking portraits of people but looking back I believe that that’s when my interests started developing.

After I moved to England I picked my camera back up. I did a media course at college and after that I got accepted into university to study a film course. I found that I enjoyed specialising in more technical roles where I practised using a variety of cameras and editing software.

Recently I learnt that creativity plays a big part in tech and in being a QA Tester. I often have to think outside the box and put myself into the user’s shoes. I test various ways our software could be used, taking into consideration the functionality but also the look and the feel of our products.

Also my maternal uncle was a computer specialist, maybe you can inherit it.

Can you tell us about your journey into the world of tech?

Working at Costa was my first ever job, and I didn’t think that the skills I gained there could help me get a job anywhere else but hospitality. I was wrong. We all have transferable skills, with the customer service experience, film degree and one extra language I landed a Support Agent role at Baskit.

Something I love about BaseKit is that everyone, besides their sole duties, also holds knowledge about other specific areas of the business or the software. We come together well as a company and a team to support each other, share the knowledge and teach/ learn new skills.

Since working in tech I don’t feel stuck anymore. There are plenty of career paths and opportunities for further development. I’m currently taking a ISTQB Software Testing Foundation course and BaseKit has been very supportive with the tools and flexible with the time I need to study and to pass the end exam.

You work in the dev team, how were you made to feel included when you first started working at BaseKit?

At BaseKit I have never felt like I was being treated differently because of my gender, there was always a strong feeling of inclusion. When I first started at BaseKit I had a female mentor who taught me everything about our products and supported me throughout the first months. I then followed the footsteps of another brilliant woman who was the former QA tester who has helped me progress my career in tech further. Both of them are very knowledgeable and tech savvy which gave me the confidence to work alongside all the talented people at BaseKit and reassured me that my gender doesn’t make me any less employable or capable of performing my job.

What advice would you give someone looking to work in tech?

The process of finding a job and getting an interview can be very difficult. It might not be obvious where your skills, whether gained from uni course, a job, books or life experience, can take you but it can be further than you currently think. I understand it might not be easy to see that yourself – people say I don’t always give myself enough credit. If you’re finding it hard my advice would be to reach out to others, career advisors, friends, whoever you can and don’t just think of your set of skills as something that restricts your career choices, think of your skills as possibilities and explore them. Skills you thought didn’t count, might.

My current role isn’t highly technical. As a Quality Assurance Tester at BaseKit I don’t test the code per-se, I test the functionality of the software we build, mainly from a user perspective. I have definitely learnt a lot over the past year, I even tried my strength at coding a basic website, but I started without that knowledge. BaseKit trusted me with the skills I had to offer at the time and I’ve just built on it since.

To find out more about working at BaseKit and our culture, head to https://www.basekit.com/company/our-people/.

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