Andrew Holt finds that not all IT professionals are geeks
Information technology is often associated with spotty adolescent male geeks, more interested in sci-fi and computer games than the real world.
Is this a fair description? Taking our cue from the world of sci-fi there does seem to be more Princess Leias, Scullys and Padminas than we first thought.
But what may take more than a few people by surprise is the fact that there are indeed intelligent, resourceful, knowledgeable and determined women working in IT.
Dawn Hammond is a case in point - one of no less than six women who are rising stars at insurance industry software provider Intech Solutions.
Dawn is in her mid-twenties and has been with Intech for five years. She joined after gaining a BSc in applied psychology and computing - two subjects she finds to be of practical daily use.
Her work as a senior trechnical architect incorporates both systems design in the technical sphere and client liaison at a people level.
Her career path was set as far back as school where she gained 10 GCSEs and three science A-levels.
Dawn's role at Intech Solutions gives her an ideal opportunity to indulge another non-geeky passion - travel. Recently she's been to Norway and New York, not to mention Bermuda, where she trained an Intech client on a newly-configured system.
Although it's still a surprise to many clients to meet a woman ‘guru', they very soon realise that they're dealing with a talented and shrewd woman who really means business.
Dawn loves to see the impact that a new system can make on a client's IT needs, saying it is a partnership from which she can learn too.
A normal day for Dawn sees a 5am start for a work-out and then off to take the train into London from Basingstoke.
Dawn likes to end her working day with colleagues at Vineyard or one of the many other busy wine bars a few minutes walk from her office at St Katharine's Dock, or a trip to the cinema with friends.
Intech Solutions is committed to sponsoring post-graduate studies, a policy which gets Dawn's wholehearted support, especially where other talented women are concerned.
She believes that feminine characteristics such as empathy, patience, creative attitudes to problem-solving, teamworking and a natural ability to multi-task, enable women to bring unique qualities to the IT business, thus creating a healthier and more balanced working environment. IT