Bell & Clements Spotlight - Women in IT: Wendy Lyttle
With International Women’s Day taking place on March 8th, this month we’re shining a spotlight on the women working in IT at Bell & Clements. For the first of our internal interviews this month, we sat down with our Data Analyst, Wendy Lyttle, to learn more about how she got started in the industry and her thoughts on working in IT as a woman.
Q: What is your role and how long have you been with Bell & Clements?
Wendy: My official title is Data Analyst but, as with everyone in our team, this does not entirely cover the various roles I perform at B&C since joining 2 years ago.
Q: How did you get into IT?
Wendy: I studied for 3 years and then began working in the industry immediately!
Q: What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
Wendy: My day begins with a team meeting in the morning, where we each discuss what we are going to do that day, as well as asking questions and working out our priorities. My work covers report creation, database design, project management, coding and various other aspects.
Q: What do you think the future for women in IT holds?
Wendy: I hope that the gap between male counterparts and us as females with regard to salaries, benefits and work opportunities continues to narrow. Things are better now, with flexibility for those who need/wish to work part-time in IT while minding children, but I see this happening for men as well. There are more and more agencies which are focusing on women in this respect, and I hope that companies will realise the wealth of experience which is available if they are willing to employ people in a more flexible manner.
Q: How have you had to adapt in your role since the pandemic began?
Wendy: I haven’t had to adapt much at all, while having collaboration within the office can work better at times, the benefit of a role within IT is that you can almost work anywhere.
Q: What would you tell a woman who is starting out her career in IT?
Wendy: It’s so different from when I started working, back then you had to choose your career path and it was not easy to change it. However, I would say to women - don’t be intimidated by any opportunity in IT, the roles and expertise required are so numerous in their variety nowadays. I planned where I wanted to be before I had children so that I could take up half day contract work, but with maternity benefits and other family concessions, it is not such a huge issue any longer. Taking a technical route in your career is great, as women in technical roles are difficult to come by, (as per feedback from employment agencies) but it does require having to keep up to date with new innovations which is very exciting. I think that women can in today’s world continually challenge the inequalities experienced in the workplace where their male counterparts still benefit by virtue of their gender.
Q: What is the biggest change you have seen in the IT and/or insurance industry over the past 5 years?
Wendy: Using alternative options such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, drones, etc. to enhance the service provided. Even though all of these are still a bit immature, using them as tools to collaborate with humans (you can’t replace business knowledge and experience) is slowly improving the products and service that we can provide in the insurance industry. On the IT side I think that companies are a bit more cautious when it comes to onboarding newer technology and realise that one size does not fit all. This is a good thing.
Q: What helps you to stay focused?
Wendy: The reward of adding value somewhere helps keep me driven and focused at work. My personal growth in knowledge and experience also keeps me motivated, as what I do today is hopefully a steppingstone for the next piece of work in the future.
Q: How do you unwind at the end of a busy day/week?
Wendy: I unwind by doing anything which does not involve a computer (I literally have to dust it off on a Monday)! So, I enjoy gardening, DIY, going for walks and catching-up with my family and friends.