The one thing missing in tech: why diversity matters

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I’ve always been fascinated by technology and how it can improve our lives. It’s furthered everything from putting people on the moon to curing life-threatening diseases. This inspired me to develop my knowledge so that one day I can contribute towards changing someone’s life. 

But there is a lack of women working in technology. Women need to play an equal part in creating our future - a diverse workforce brings more innovative solutions to problems.  

Tech needs to be a more attractive and inclusive working environment. Young girls need to be able to relate to the people they see working in tech, which requires more visible female role models.  

Sky’s Women in Technology Scholarship

This is what was in my mind when I applied for Sky’s Women in Technology Scholarship programme. The Scholarship offers young women an opportunity to bring to life a technology project that they care about and includes a £25,000 bursary, support from mentors and training.  

From an early age, I’ve been interested in engineering and technology and got involved with many activities to develop my skills. My motivation comes from personal loss. My older sister passed away when she was only 16. This life changing moment taught me one thing - sometimes life doesn't give you second chance. Take every opportunity that comes in your way. 

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Bringing my project to life 

Through the scholarship’s resources, I was able to purchase licences to tools that helped me progress with my project, I learnt how to use Machine Learning Studio, which is a platform that allows developers to build their own predictive model and deploy it as a web service, allowing others to use the model. 

I applied for a scholarship because I had an idea to develop a predictive analytical model using machine learning algorithms, which could be used to predict the remaining operational life of the engine sensors in aircrafts. This would then help drive predictive maintenance and save costs from unexpected damages and faults during service.    

The project involved downloading open source datasets from online repositories, working with simulated run-to failure aircraft engine data and historical data from the engine sensors to train the predictive model.  

Alongside this, I’m also working on how the predictive model can help the local community, particularly underprivileged or vulnerable children and young people. Machine learning algorithms will help local authorities detect early signs of vulnerability to identify children and young people who may be at-risk and require support and advice. 

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Image Credit: Pexels (Image credit: Image Credit: Startupstockphotos / Pexels)

Opening doors for women in tech 

Being a scholar means a lot – the programme backs me as a young leader in technology and has helped to build my profile. It's opened a lot of doors, which has helped me get noticed by several other organisations that includes being contacted through LinkedIn by NATO’s Communication and Information (NCI) Agency, who invited me to join a panel discussion on attracting diverse talent in the tech industry at one of their largest cyber security conferences in Belgium.  

I was also fortunate enough, through the flexibility that the programme offers, to juggle my fulltime job at Rolls-Royce alongside my scholarship project.  

One very important lesson that I’ve learnt is to always step outside of my comfort zone. When I feel anxious it means that I’m challenging myself or trying something new, which is adding to my experience and expanding my skills. 

There’s still more to do - my goal is to be a successful Tech professional and I want to take on challenging roles. As a passionate STEM ambassador, I want to be a role model for young girls and women and inspire them into a career in IT.  Therefore, programmes like Sky’s Women in Technology Scholarship matter – they are designed to encourage more women to pursue a career in technology. 

This year the programme is expanding to five women. Applications are open now for the 2019 Scholarships so if you're a woman interested in pursuing a career in technology, why not apply and bring your own project to life.

Oishi Deb, Sky Scholar and Engineer at Rolls Royce

Oishi Deb
Oishi is a successful woman in technology – she is developing her Sky Tech Scholar project whilst holding down a fulltime job as a software engineer at Rolls-Royce. Oishi has made it her business to immerse herself in the world of technology with internships, work placements, computer courses and national and international hackathons/competitions. It has led to her receiving multiple accolades including the President and Vice-Chancellor Student of the Year award in her final year at university and an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Achievement Award. Oishi wants to be a role model for the younger generation (especially females) and to help and inspire them in their tech career.