What’s it like to work in data centers?
ANNA, Regional Safety Engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Tech has always been a big passion. I was the type of ten-year-old who set up the computer at home when it arrived. Being a girl, many teachers and people around me put me into a biology box. So I have a master of science in Biotechnology. But then I got a job as a project manager for an environmental health and safety project. It gave me the opportunity to get a broad background; I can switch from very technical questions to more safety culture-based questions.
I started this job in April 2018. I’ve seen the region grow from nothing to a fully-fledged Amazon Web Services Region. I had to hit the ground running. It was a very fun time, allowing me to see all aspects of starting up a data centre. It becomes your baby.
At Amazon you can adapt your work to hone skills that interest you. I’ve been running a global course, including workshops in Seattle, on how to set up safety in new regions. I’m about to go on maternity leave. I’ve been allowed to slow down and I’ve been allowed to speed up when I wanted. I’ve never been told: “You’re pregnant so of course you cannot do this”. It’s more: “How are you feeling today?”
I appreciate that opportunity to grow when you feel like it. There’s no limit. You’re not put into a box. Nobody will tell you to stay there and just focus on your job, or your country.
There’s so much room for great women in tech. We can all support each other. It’s important to remember that companies that have diverse teams are doing better than companies that don’t. To get a different perspective tech needs to adapt to what the world looks like today.
LOU, Data Centre Technician, Tallaght, Ireland
What I do is definitely not a nine to five job. I maintain the servers, repair them, diagnose issues. It involves a lot of trouble shooting and lots of physical work. You’re never bored here. You have to be on top of your game, every minute counts.
Growing up, tech and engineering jobs weren’t promoted to women. I didn’t even know that women could do jobs like mine. I thought only men wore hard hats.
I love the team here. Even though we all have the same principles, we have completely contrasting perspectives on issues. When I first started, I found it challenging. But with the team you can ask any questions, however simple or difficult. Someone’s always there to help. I’m never seen as a number; my opinion is always valued.
Once I started to pick it up, I started doing the same for other people. I even created a trouble-shooting guide that ended up getting used in data centres around the world. It really helped me settle in and establish my identity.
NELISWA, Data Centre Logistics Manager, Cape Town, South Africa
Before this job, I had no tech exposure or experience at all. The last two years have been a completely new adventure for me. Every day here is different, but essential parts of my role include end-to-end inventory management, and stock distribution both internally within the cluster and internationally to other clusters or suppliers. As a manager, I check in on my team, stay on top of emails and tickets, close out tasks and train almost every day. It’s important that I keep up with the current regulations and developments in my field.
I’m surrounded by smart people. What I love about the culture is that our Leadership Principles matter for everybody. If you use them as a guide, you’ll do your job well. I want young girls considering a career in tech to know that it’s an exciting new world.
As a single mother of one, the benefit of being able to work from home allows me to be home when my family needs me to be, while I still fulfil my work duties.One piece of advice I’d give to other women is to remember to put yourself forward, and take your place in the room. Invite yourself to meetings where you think you will add value, or you can learn something. There’s always things to pick up that are good for your growth. Even if they have nothing to do with your department. Make yourself noticeable. Say to yourself - “I will be included”.