According to Workforce Support Engineer Rosa Grooff she didn't choose a career in tech – instead it chose her.
To celebrate the UN’s International Girls in IT day, which is held annually on April 25, we asked Rosa Grooff to tell us about her experiences as a woman in tech at Aegon. Rosa has a dual role, combining 3rd level Workforce Support Engineer with the role of IT Support Delivery Manager. She’s based in the Netherlands.
Rosa, why tech?
I guess you could say that tech chose me. I grew up abroad, and in my last stint in Singapore I found out that the university credits I received would not be recognized in the Netherlands. This gave me two options: go back to school or find a job! By chance, I saw an ad in a newspaper for entry-level IT applicants. It turned out to be an opportunity at IBM.
What would you say you specialize in?
After IBM, I spent years working for Centric, a large Dutch technology solutions company, doing something I’m good at: IT support. Over the years I learned a lot about a widevariety of subjects, so I’ve become very flexible and have various specializations. In December 2012, I joined Aegon’s IT helpdesk as a contractor from Centric, and a year later I joined Aegon on a permanent basis.
So why Aegon?
I believe things happen for a reason. I always said that I would not leave Centric, unless my International Dream Job would come knocking at my door! Well, when Aegon’s Global Technology Services came into the picture in 2013, I quickly realized that this was the international opportunity I was looking for. So, I gladly accepted when they offered me the position. The way that Aegon supports its customers and values user experience, speaks to me. Because it’s the exact same way that I want to support my customers and my colleagues at Aegon!
There are still some stereotypes about working in IT and the type of people that are passionate about it. But in practice, it’s completely different.
What’s the best part about working in tech right now?
Honestly, I feel blessed to work in tech. The transition to working from home during the pandemic was no obstacle for me. Sure, it blurs the lines between work and personal life, but I actually enjoy the flexibility. I now have more quality time at home, I spend less time commuting, and I’m more productive both in my personal and professional life. The saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” rings true for me!
Do you believe it’s more difficult for women to choose a career in tech?
Perhaps I’ve been lucky, but I never experienced any specific difficulties as a woman in tech. At Aegon, the majority of my colleagues are male. I think there are still some stereotypes about working in IT and the type of people that are passionate about it. But in practice it’s completely different. There truly is a place for everyone in tech!
What’s your advice for early-in-careers considering a career in tech?
The number of women in tech has grown so much over the past years: there is nothing that we can’t do! The best tip I can give is to create meaningful connections everywhere and find mentors in your line of work. You don’t have to be great at networking or anything, but if you are able to show that you’re motivated and serious about your career, it’s my experience that you will always find support from the people around you.
Why a day to mark women working in IT?
The international United Nations initiative to celebrate Girls in IT day draws attention to the critical need for female talent in the IT sector. Technology plays such a huge role in any company – Aegon included – that diverse perspectives are needed to guarantee sustained success of any software solutions. In addition, learning tech skills at a young age can help women gain economic independence.