Women in Tech: What is a techie?

Emily Crittenden. Picture: James Neale

Emily Crittenden. Picture: James Neale - Credit: James Neale

Emily Crittenden knows the tech industry inside out. She has been a director of a software company, organises conferences such as Dev East and The Things Conference on Tour.

She's also founder and organizer of community group Digital East Anglia, and community director at Pycom IoT. Here, Ms Crittenden discusses what being a 'techie' means within the industry.

A question that comes up all to often in the tech sector is 'what is a techie?' - this is asked by those who work in and to support tech as much as it is by anyone else. But I have noticed that men are much less scrutinised at the head of a tech business for being non technical than women.

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I've also noticed that women at the top, due to their roles, aren't appreciated for their technical abilities, and are often dismissed as untechnical. This dismissal seems to be more assumed of and applied to female founders compared to male counterparts in my experience.

Software developers would have you believe that a techie is a person that can code, but a sound engineer would feel that the term 'techie' applies to them just as equally. Now you can see, the definition of techie can differ so strongly, even within the technology industry - no one can really agree on a definition.

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So I shall give you my own and attempt to define this all too ambiguous term - I'd say that a 'techie' is anyone who uses the art of science to solve a problem, be it a real world one, or creating the next tinder.

In essence this anyone with a driving passion, good low-level interest and understanding in absolutely any technical subject, so that would include science, engineering, designers, coders, project managers, software developers and anyone else who utilizes technology, can themselves apply it, to create a product or provide a service, be it physical or digital.

This tends to mean that techies also 'make' things, but simply doing so on it's own doesn't in itself define a techie. For example, one might have a passion for electronics or chemistry and construct something from a kit to use, but a techie would understand (or 'need' to understand) the details and knowledge that make it possible - perhaps by designing their own novel experiments or devices for themselves.

The techie generally has a deep passion and interest in the subject matter considerably beyond the surface or work place, usually creating solutions from the ground-up instead of top-down.

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