Meet The Role Models is a technology community series which highlights the stories of The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models. The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative is down to the continuous participation of technology professionals across Ireland and since September 2015, voluntary speakers have reached over 5000 secondary school students between them.
In our latest interview we are joined by Louise Glavey, Senior Technical Content Developer at Siren.
MEET LOUISE GLAVEY
Hey Louise! How would you describe your current role?
Have you ever used a software program or a website that was difficult, so you needed to access the online help? Well, that’s the content I write, as well as error messages and even down to the smallest text on screen – button labels and hover help.
My job title has gone from Information Developer to Technical Writer to Technical Content Developer as I changed companies and expanded my responsibilities. And my role includes the responsibilities of an Editor and a UX Writer, so it all keeps me on my toes!
What attracted you to this type of career?
I honestly did not love Technical Writing when I was at University. It was my least favourite subject. I loved the languages that I was learning more, but I knew that the computing part of my degree would open doors for me. My goal was to find a computing job abroad, where I could use my languages daily.
What did you study in college?
I studied Applied Languages with Computing at the University of Limerick. French and Spanish were my heart’s choices, and my head was satisfied with the practical Computing side of the degree. That included computer basics, some coding, e-learning, localisation, human-computer interaction, and technical communication.
What were your favourite subjects when you were in school?
Oh, languages – all the way. I moved back to Ireland after spending a decade England, where I had some time in a school that offered French, Spanish and Latin. Sadly, I never got to learn Irish in school, but that’s something I’m trying to rectify now.
What were your favourite hobbies when you were in school?
I was into music, going to gigs and festivals. I enjoyed reading, but I wasn’t big into literature. It might have helped my current career if I had been, but luckily I’m doing okay.
What would you say is a common misconception about your role type?
That I’m an overpaid grammar and spelling checker!
What would you say is the best part of your work?
The opportunity to delve into user experience (UX) design and use words and language to craft the user’s first impressions of the product. My general objective is to produce less help text – not more – because the software should be designed so that it’s easy to navigate with minimal written help.
What motivated you to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative?
I would love to see a better gender balance in the technology industry across the board. So, I wanted to let the students know that tech can be fun, challenging, can provide great opportunities for travel, and give you good job security and pay. While girls are still deciding on their futures, I may be able to encourage them to consider a career in STEM.
How important do you think it is for young girls to have the opportunity to meet female role models in the stem space?
Girls don’t always feel confident that they can do well in the STEM subjects in school or college, and I want to let them know that, firstly, they are as competent as the boys and, secondly, those subjects aren’t always the route into a career in technology.
Women who are already working in STEM careers should make an effort to address any concerns these young women may have. Coming to their school to speak to them and sharing our career stories can have a huge impact.
Who is a role model in history that you look up to, and why?
I have great admiration for suffragists like Constance Markievicz. She strikes me as a rebel who pushed the boundaries of her gender and didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
Who would you say is your own role model in your career today, and why?
Deborah Frances-White is a comedian, writer and business woman who makes me laugh and who I have learned so much from in terms of self-confidence and inclusivity. Her podcast, The Guilty Feminist, is full of great conversations and her TED talk is excellent, too.
What advice would you give to any young girls considering a tech / stem future?
Stop thinking you can’t do it – you can. And, whatever career you choose, try thinking like a man. Apply for jobs like a man. Negotiate your salary like a man. It might sound strange, but it works.
A big thanks to Louise for joining us to share her story and inspire other young women considering STEM as a path for them!
If you too would like to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative, please visit our A.L.I page.
Keep up to date and never miss out on exciting A.L.I news by following Verify Recruitment on LinkedIn or @VerifyCommunity on Twitter. And why not check out our Women in STEM podcast to get a little more insight at https://otia.io/2021/06/24/women-in-stem-podcast/