Client Server Australia: What made you choose a career in technology?
Lana Brindley: I was the kind of kid who pulled their toys apart, but I also always wrote stories. Later, as an adult, I found myself working as an admin at a local tech startup and was tasked with writing some internal procedural documentation. I enjoyed the work and the CTO was impressed by my writing and suggested I try my hand at technical writing. I admit that I asked, "What's that?" to start with, but once I started, I never looked back. Now, I still get to pull my toys apart, and write about what I find, it's just now that I get paid to do it!
CS: How would you describe your experience of being a woman in the tech industry?
Lana: Some days can be frustrating, especially when you're just not being listened to, or you're being talked over, or someone presents your ideas as their own. Generally, though, I have found tech to be a very rewarding and personally fulfilling career. There are bad days in every industry, and every job, it's how you respond to the challenges that matters. Throughout my career, I have done a lot of work with women in tech groups, got involved with conferences trying to increase women's participation, and made sure to seek out younger women coming through the ranks in every community I've been part of. This has really helped me to see the women who are there, recognise that I'm not the only one (and that many have challenges much bigger than mine), and hopefully give a little back to the communities that have given me so much.
CS: How could we encourage more women to start a career in technology?
Lana: I think that getting women started isn't the problem: we're already interested, and engaged, and want to get involved; the challenge is in keeping us; women drop out of university courses, leave their careers, and fall out of the industry. We need to encourage, support, and engage women at every stage of their journey. Whether that's through mentorship, better parenting programs, or just more gender-diverse-friendly workplaces, I think there's a lot of work still to be done. Personally, I have always tried to identify both a current mentor and a mentee, to try and reinforce the idea in myself that I have plenty more to learn, but also that I have something to offer to those coming through.
CS: What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career so far?
Lana: Don't just listen to what people say, understand what they mean. Part of that is about meeting people where they are: it can be difficult when you're steeped in a particular idea to realise that not everyone has the same level of knowledge as you, and it can be frustrating if you have to explain what might seem like very basic concepts. This is known as the 'curse of knowledge', and while it's an underlying principle of technical writing, it's also an important thing to remember every time you need to try and bring someone around to your point of view. Take the time to work out the perspective or context that other people are coming from, and you will be able to help take them on a journey to understanding.
CS: How did you find working with Client Server on your job search?
Lana: I had been laid off only a few days earlier, and somehow I found the button on the internet that made my phone ring! Rupert was incredibly helpful and attentive throughout the interviews and offer. He showed genuine interest in my situation and guided me through the recruitment process with aplomb and alacrity. I always enjoyed our chats, and I'm still reeling a bit from how fast the entire process was. I'm fairly certain I now owe Rupert a beverage of his choice!
If you would like to join Client Server Australia on their adventures moving forward, be it as a client, a candidate, or a recruiter, please do reach out!
02 8295 3700