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Women in IT

“I want young women – and all women – to know that there is nothing holding you back. Sometimes technology can get a bad rap for being complex, but there are so many great resources to help bridge that gap. No one is an expert out the gate. As well, the tech industry desperately needs more women, they bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, so there is a lot of opportunity here.”
Shannon's biography

Shannon McCluskey is a User Experience Designer at Fluidware, a rapidly growing software company located in Ottawa, ON. She received a Master in Digital Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Marketing from the University of Ottawa. After her undergrad and upon entering the workforce, she recognized the importance of digital when it came to business and marketing. Having always had an interest in design and psychology, she became passionate about how users interact with software interfaces. This lead her to do her master’s at the University of Waterloo where she worked on building mobile apps for industry partners like OpenText and learned about all things digital. Shannon is also the co-founder of an early stage startup called Squib. Squib is a software application that helps marketers to develop effective online display ads without needing any design knowledge. Her and her team recently placed second at Startup Weekend Ottawa for it. When Shannon isn’t at work or working on her startup, she writes a blog on user experience, reads about technology, volunteers with underprivileged children, takes art classes, and runs.

User Experience Designer. At Fluidware, I work with two SAS applications: FluidSurveys and FluidReview. My primary role is to improve the usability of both products so that the interface is more intuitive and the user can accomplish his or her tasks quicker. This may involve wireframing interfaces, interviewing customers, performing usability tests, reporting bugs and graphic design. 

Working at a smaller high tech company means my role typically involves other activities like direct marketing, advertising, sales, copywriting, video production, project management, communications, corporate social responsibility and event planning. Fluidware has an all-hands-on-deck type of atmosphere, and the variety of work keeps things exciting and interesting. Everyday I learn something new.

What excites me the most about the technology field is all the opportunity. It is extremely fast-paced and each new technology created opens the door for more innovation. With technology, anyone can help create a product or service that can impact the world. I see examples of this everyday at my work. We are releasing some seriously cool new features thanks to all the incredibly smart and passionate employees who continue to push the norm, learn, and collaborate.

Back in 2010, I was working in the public sector in marketing. I realized that more and more often I was being asked to execute online strategies. Taking notice where the industry was heading, I jumped at the opportunity to do a master’s in the tech field. I was fortunate to get a scholarship to the University of Waterloo, which is well known for being on the cutting edge of tech. Here, my love for technology deepened. The Waterloo tech community was filled with exciting ideas and hard-working people. I recognized that my skills could make a big impact in this field.

I want young women – and all women – to know that there is nothing holding you back. Sometimes technology can get a bad rap for being complex, but there are so many great resources to help bridge that gap. No one is an expert out the gate. As well, the tech industry desperately needs more women, they bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, so there is a lot of opportunity here.

Lastly, I want young women to know that whatever they’re interested in – whether this is arts, medicine, sports, literature, etc. – that technology plays a critical role. The opportunities are endless and only growing. The job you may have in the coming years probably doesn’t even exist yet. (Isn’t that cool?)

Right now I’m taking sculpting classes for fun. I find it very relaxing and enter a state of flow where hours just fly by. It gives me an opportunity to build something in the physical world, which I never get to do, and it’s really rewarding when I see the final product.

I also find a workout, like running or yoga, or hanging out with friends and family to be a nice way to end a long day.

shannon

 

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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