Let us continue on this amazing journey through the stories of women in tech. In this new interview, we discover the experience of Marsha Castello, a Data Analyst from London. She shares a lot of details about her motivation and her vision of the tech industry.
I definitely enjoyed working on this interview, and I hope you will love it.
Could you start with a small presentation, so we can get to know you better?
Hello, I’m Marsha Castello, I hold a MSc. International Business and Development from the University of London, alongside PRINCE2 Practitioner and APM Project Management certification. I am passionate about emerging ethical and sustainable technologies, and AI and technological innovation. I currently work in Data Analysis. I enjoy Sci-Fi movies and literature, the theatre, ballet, live music, music festivals, fitness and pilates.
I recently completed a Microsoft Azure and Python Bootcamp, where I achieved IT Specialist certification in Python and Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. I hope to take the Microsoft Azure Developer Associate exam later this year after already sitting the taught classes.
With the Bootcamp, I discovered a love for both Python and Cloud Computing and I am now studying several follow up complimentary courses, including Code First Girls Introduction to Data & SQL and Code First Girls Introduction to Python & Apps. I am also completing Avado’s Data Analyst Advanced Skills Bootcamp to formally train in this area.
The courses I am completing are covering similar subjects so compliment and work as revision for each other. SQL is very easy to learn especially as I now have experience with Python, and Python is a language you can do so much with so there’s always an opportunity to learn more.
What motivated you to work in a tech field?
I have always had a profound love of technological innovation and Sci-Fi movies from as early as I could remember! I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek and I am now a massive Marvel movie fan! What I love about such movies is the way they display the limitless bounds of technology, and how concepts and innovations that start off as fiction can often be brought to life by a tech genius somewhere. For example, the iPad and metaverse were introduced as Sci-Fi concepts and have been brought to life
I love the possibilities of tech and using tech for social good. For example we’re moving from unnecessary invasive surgery towards microscopic capsules containing cameras you can swallow to give your surgeon internal photographs. Drones that deliver medicines and food packages to compromised regions.
AI and Machine Learning which can teach computer models to problem solve and forecast with a few lines of code, and Cloud technologies which can expand out and up and contract in and down with demand to maximise efficiency fascinate me.
There is so much in tech to be fascinated by and in awe of. I love feeling like a magician as lines of my own code transform on the terminal!
How did you learn your technical skills? (self-taught, college, bootcamp...)
I first learnt Python and Azure with Firebrand Python Software Engineer Bootcamp and I am now consolidating and expanding my knowledge with Avado’s Data Analyst Advanced Skills Bootcamp, as sponsored by BT, and Code First Girls Kickstarter courses. All have flexible online taught classes alongside required pre-reading, homework and either projects and/or exams. I have found that reading the required documentation and then bringing this to life with YouTube videos and other courses on Udemy and FreeCodeCamp really brings the subject alive for me and consolidates my knowledge. YouTube is a tremendous resource as are Udemy, Coursera, DataCamp, FreeCodeCamp and similar platforms.
How is it to find a job in tech?
There are some lay-offs in the tech sector at present, but as the sector is so vast there is always demand in some areas of tech. Do your research thoroughly about tech roles in demand in your desired location and areas of interest. Plus a recession means there will be layoffs across industries, so having a greater combination of diverse skills is a great way to stay in demand in these times.
There’s a future coming where every job role will require some form of technological knowledge and experience and you could argue that it’s already here. Which is why I feel up-skilling in tech and continuous learning in this field is essential.
There are so many opportunities to work in the tech field now, but there is also always fierce competition as there are so many talented and inspirational individuals in the tech field. This means the application process can be challenging as it is meant to be in order to sift through so many talented candidates. But there are also many success stories and no reason, with the right time and dedication that one of those success stories couldn’t be you! Securing a mentor will help you to navigate this.
Have you experienced imposter syndrome? If yes, could you tell us a little about it?
Imposter syndrome is such a buzz phrase right now and essentially is a crisis of confidence which I feel if we’re all honest everyone has experienced, which is why it’s such a popular concept. I find that the concept itself though is not always helpful and can instil fear – the word ‘imposter’ is disempowering. Its important to realise that everyone feels like this. You are not an imposter you are in the learning/growth zone.
I saw a fantastic quote on LinkedIn: “ If you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t have the opportunity, If you weren’t capable, you wouldn’t have the desire”
What has worked for me is the concept of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, definitely check out a book: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – by Susan Jeffers. Embrace the fact that everyone feels this way at some point. We fear that which we think we don’t know, so the trick is to practice, practice, practice until you master your craft. Fear often exists in the growth zone when you are learning something new, or are in an environment where you fear others know more than you so be compassionate with yourself as you learn, learn from others, be inspired, all while having faith that you can only improve from where you are as long as you keep going. Embrace the challenge and keep going!
How do you feel about being a minority in tech as a female? Have you had any uncomfortable situations to share? Or a funny situation?
Finding a community is vital – this is a safe space to share and validate your experiences with people similar to you and/or on similar journeys to you.
I’m a part of a lovely women in tech mentoring and networking group called Cajigo run by Rav Bumbra. We are assigned a mentor, and also peer mentor and learn from each other and other incredible mentors on the program. I have expanded my network at least 10 fold and now always have someone to go to if I have a query. I have learned from this and gained the confidence to expand my network even further everywhere I go, which includes the courses, bootcamps and associated events I go to and at work too!
By building a community of support you also build a safe space where you are no longer in the minority and that is essential to offset spaces where you you may feel that you are. It builds confidence and awareness of opportunities. It is also important to believe that everyone has something valuable to contribute, everyone has a lesson teach those that look like you and those that don’t, everyone has a lesson to teach and an invaluable perspective to impart and that includes you.
What do you like about your job?
What I love most about my current job is I have a lovely supportive and fun team and an opportunity to work with data and the associated data and business intelligence tools such as Power BI. I hope to find such teams, and support every where I go. What I love about my learning path is the opportunity to learn something new everyday and to continue to be inspired and invigorated and on the cusp of endless possibilities.
Are you happy with your career choice?
Well I’m currently expanding my options by Up-skilling as a Software Engineer, I also have an interest in Data Science, so my Data Analyst experience will always be invaluable. With the rise in digital tools and technologies – the data trails these leave – and the abundance of data created (We are generating approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day!), every organisation and eventually every role will be shaped by data insights and analysis. Data skills will always be invaluable which is why I have chosen to also continue my learning in this field.
How do you expect to grow in the future?
I am aiming to specialise in Python and Cloud technologies and use my transferable skills in data to realise my aspirations as a Software Engineer in Cloud, or DevOps.
What would you say to a girl/woman who wants to start a career in tech?
Start where you are and go for it. There are wonderful organisations especially for women offering free courses, such as Code First Girls and SheBuilds. So you lose nothing by trying out one of these courses or a few to find an area you are passionate about and there is so much to be passionate about and in awe of in tech, so it won’t take you long.
Yes learning something new is hard and daunting and takes time particularly in programming/coding. You will suffer from “imposter syndrome” initially and at different points along your path, but remember there is a learning curve with everything and you can only get better, with practice. You will also surprise yourself with your capabilities and realise it’s not as difficult as you originally thought.
A career in tech can be life changing, give yourself that chance. Everything is also easier with a strong network/community and mentor so ensure that you find these. Cajigo is a great place to start. Also reach out to people in tech on LinkedIn and at tech networking events.
Would you like to share anything else?
Tech is amazing, the scope is endless because tech powers everything we do and consume so there are multiple fields within tech to be inspired by and in be awe of and multiple avenues in which to use tech for social good and that should also mean that there is a place for everyone to contribute their skills and vision. Investing in yourself yields the highest return and is never time wasted. The time will pass anyway so start where you are and continue to grow. In an uncertain future with a recession on the horizon it is also essential to future proof your career and skill set, tech is recession proof, transferable and global as it only continues to grow and evolve which is one of the very reasons it’s so awe inspiring. Good luck and remember to start where you are, you probably have an abundance of transferable skills which will propel you forward in this field. Find your superpower and utilise that.
If you want to follow Marsha here is her LinkedIn:
Tools I use for this site
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