All Things DevOps Related with Kara Nottingham – Guest Interview

By:Alfie Rice

All Things DevOps Related with Kara Nottingham – Guest Interview

Our global platform has allowed us to meet like-minded DevOps enthusiasts and simultaneously build a community where voices can be heard, actions can be taken, and friendships can be formed.

Kara Nottingham is a DevOps engineer from London; she started working in IT support and quickly moved up the ranks while realising her interest and potential in DevOps. We were delighted when Kara accepted to be our Community Member of the Month in our September Newsletter; we learnt about Kara’s early career beginnings, as well as the proudest career moment and her vision for the future – and strangely enough – kitchens!

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in DevOps?

“I got into DevOps by chance - I initially pursued a career in fitness, unfortunately, due to an injury I found myself already in my thirties and in need of finding a different path. Hoping for a desk job, I enrolled in an online IT training programme and after three months of study, I got my first gig in IT support. It was only after I broke into the field I realised I held a lot of misconceptions about IT and programming - one does not have to be a geek nor be good at maths to succeed! In fact, it's a lot like cooking - something I already had quite some experience in you need to think ahead what you want to achieve, what ingredients you need and in which order to mix them, which utensils are best for the job and how to substitute what you don't have at hand for what's available. Once I started thinking about programming algorithms as culinary recipes, it stopped being alien and scary and started being fun!”

 

If you could elect a famous figurehead to represent women in tech, who would it be?

“Just any woman willing to. At tech events addressed for women, I almost always hear of Ada or Grace and I think it creates a false impression that a woman has to be a genius to work in IT. It puts a lot of pressure on us and we don't allow ourselves to be just "good enough", as if we had to be better than anyone else only to justify our presence at work. I've seen it over and again - women working 110% and burning out much quicker than men who were at the same time giving their 90% (or even less). It's about time we cut ourselves some slack and realise that we're in tech because we're fit for it and stop apologising! If you're a woman in tech - you represent us all!”

 

How important is it to have D&I initiatives within the workplace?

“Did you know that the standard kitchen layout was designed with the average man's height in mind? I did not! As an average height woman, my whole life I thought I was too small for my kitchens when in reality my kitchens were too big for me! That's what happens when product design teams are not diverse - they design great products for themselves and wonder why users complain it's not that good at all. So yes - very important and very beneficial, for the teams, the products, and the end-users.”

 

What’s been your proudest career moment so far?

“I worked alongside a guy who's been in IT for longer than I walked the Earth, he was my absolute guru and I thought that if I ever manage to learn as much as he managed to forget, I'll be golden! So, when one day he came to me and asked my help with a problem - and not only I was able to help, but I actually thought what he asked about was really easy - I felt like I really earned my place. The next day I brought my ‘Tux the Penguin’ coffee mug to work and proudly displayed it on my desk - finally, I felt part of the Linux crowd!”

 

What is your vision for the future of technology?

“I'm hopeful but wary. I can't help noticing that technology advances much faster than we can collectively adapt to. It allows us to connect and explore in ways we never thought possible before, but just as much it has the power to divide and isolate. As we celebrate technological progress, we must find a way to promote technological literacy, so that it's accessible for all and not used against us.”

 

Any advice for our future leaders hoping to make their mark in the DevOps landscape?

“Don't let anyone else define your limits. Learn them yourself. And then break them.” 

 

We’d like to thank Kara for her support and contribution towards our newsletter – if you’d like to find out more about her, check out the community member section of our newsletter. In the meantime, stay connected with us here at Women in DevOps, and explore more of our community.  

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