Caitlyn McCaughran , Auvik Networks, Field Marketing Manager
How did you start your career in technology?
I had always been interested in tech when I was younger, and throughout high school. I excelled at my computer classes and I got to be immersed in things even more so at home with my step-dad being one of the lead techs for the British Columbia Government, which was headquartered in Victoria. After graduating high school, I really struggled with what it was I wanted to do and ended up attending college and university in Vancouver. As a woman, I never really saw the IT Industry as a path for me and because of that, I majored in Criminology and Psychology. After graduation, I had run into a good friend who worked at IT Glue and they were looking for an Events Manager. I wasn’t really ready to complete my Master’s Degree yet, so I applied, got the job, and fell in love with tech and the IT Industry all over again.
What is your guidance for girls and women looking at technology as a career?
This industry is constantly changing and evolving, and because of that, I don't think you can go wrong with pursuing a career in this field. There are so many avenues and options within "tech" as an industry; and because of this, getting your foot in the door will for sure land you within a role you really love. I would highly encourage anyone to explore any IT opportunity that may be available to them, even if it doesn’t grab their immediate attention. Take a coding class (if I could go back to high school, there is no way I would have given up the opportunity to learn how to code), learn about IT security, work for a SaaS company (at least once). And if the technical or engineering side of things isn’t really what excites you, then look at the other possibilities WITHIN this space that may be more your professional ideal. Marketing (SEM, content writing, events planning, etc.), sales, partner success (which is also sales with a more relationship-building spin on things), HR, business development, etc. Find what you love and then find a way to make it work in the IT industry.
The amount of talent in this space and the knowledge you can gain from your peers is like nothing I have ever seen before, in any other industry I have had the pleasure of coming across. Accompanied by the fact we are all willing to educate and learn from one another, as a collective, is what drives this industry forward and it truly makes me believe that a career in Tech is a sure thing. For me, I strive off the chaos and fast-paced nature of this environment. I am constantly learning (which I LOVE) and the members of the tech community, and the industry that drives it, are unmatched. It’s definitely somewhere I have been able to truly challenge myself (regardless of the role I am in) and I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon - at the end of the day, this is now my career.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about women in technology?
The most stigmatized notion as a woman in tech is that I know nothing about tech - which is not the case. Personally, I can speak configurations and networks just as well as someone who has been in the industry 2x longer than I have. Education is key, in any role and industry and personally, I like taking people by surprise here and there ;) I also think there is also a misconception that women have to prioritize being a wife and mother over having a career - not only in tech but really, in any sense, regardless of the field.. With the fast and busy nature of this industry, and the constant hammering of "work-life balance" in general, I think a lot of women are not sure this industry is a good fit for them, and that really sucks.
Further to the above, and In my experience as a woman in this industry, a lot of opportunities in these fields were not even presented to me during my younger years. It was just never an option. Because of this, I think being personally involved as much as possible in order to ensure that any female who wants to get into this space, can do so, is extremely important to me. I want anyone (female or otherwise) looking at Tech as a career to feel 100% confident about doing so, and I think this is why being a part of the AWIT Community is truly so important to me.
If you could be mentored by any women in technology who would it be and why?
I am extremely lucky to be mentored (indirectly, but regularly) by one of the brightest women (in my opinion) in the Tech space today. Jacqui Murphy, Auvik's CMO, is truly one of the greatest mentors anyone could ever ask for. She is brilliant and has more business savvy than I have ever seen another woman have. On top of this, she is funny, kind, compassionate, and is respected within this community beyond words. Not only has she been patient with me during the evolution of my career (not just during my time at Auvik, but during my career as a whole), she has also taught me more than I could have ever imagined learning when I took on my role with Auvik in 2017. I am constantly amazed at her knowledge of the industry and I take any chance I can to get someone on one time with her so I can soak up what it is she has to offer on any particular day. I am extremely thankful to have worked under her directly for almost two years and I look forward to working on her team for many more years to come. I would definitely not be the person I am at my job, or in my career today without her mentorship (and her constant support, guidance, and her allowance of letting me run with some of the few crazy ideas I have had over the years), and I am not sure she will ever really know how grateful I am that she took a chance on me.
What questions do you have for the AWIT Town Hall in January?
- Why do we not promote more women in business, specifically tech, whether they have children or not?
- When is “work/life balance” no longer going to be a thing - especially in the shift we have seen in the last year from in-office to remote work
- When are we going to “normalize” women in higher technical positions within our space (I would love to see more female leaders and executives in Sales, Engineering, and/or Support - especially those more technical positions, and not just in Marketing, Partner Success, Accounting, etc.)
What is your prediction for women in technology in 2021?
Education is going to be key, and more training will be needed and required by those working in this industry. Security is extremely sexy and the necessity for it is becoming more and more prevalent on a daily basis. CompTIA does a great job at keeping on top of today’s trends and offering reports and certifications that reflect what it is the workforce within this industry needs in order to do their jobs - and they offer it in an easily absorbable way. Touching on the above, keeping up with the faced paced nature of this space is going to be a challenge, and having trusted and accredited resources that allow for our industry to educate and prepare themselves for these changes is really important. I feel extremely grateful to be a part of an organization that also recognizes the importance of this.
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