In this interview, Sandra Babylon, member of the management board at ITERGO and member of ET&SM Global Delivery Leadership team, talks about her career. She says: IT as a professional field needs diversity: "IT is about using technology to make products smarter and improve our daily lives. This is interesting for everyone - regardless of gender, age, background or anything else."
How did you come to ITERGO?
Before I started as a member of the management board at ITERGO, I worked as a consultant for a long time. Of course, my impression of IT back then was different from the one I have now after more than a year at ITERGO. I think IT is a very broad and therefore interesting field: on the one hand, you work with technology, which offers enormous potential in general and specifically for ERGO. On the other hand, it's always about people – we work with people and for people. I find this combination extremely exciting. Digitisation is a central key to the success of ERGO Group; and so at ITERGO, for example, we build intelligent bots, make use of AI, and are one of the first insurers in the German market to complete our annual financial statement in the cloud.
What do you think you need in order to be successful in this fast-moving and technically comprehensive professional field?
Curiosity – the bottom line is that this is the most important thing. Curiosity means asking questions and thus expanding your knowledge step by step. By asking the right questions, you can make others think or question what already exists and thus stimulate progress.
If someone is interested in IT, a Master's degree in information technology is not absolutely necessary. I myself studied something completely different (editor's note: Sandra has a degree in Cultural Studies). However, I want to understand everything – overall processes from the data field level to the finished IT application, and this willingness to dig in is also very important. The IT background can still be acquired.
So is IT a field for people with different CVs and backgrounds?
Yes, because IT is diversity through and through. Technically, it is a versatile field of work that requires different skills, and programming is only one of many. Even more: IT as a professional field needs diversity. Clients' requirements are increasingly complex and diverse. To meet them in the best possible way, we need mixed teams. We need men and women - even if IT in Germany is not usually considered a professional field for women – along with mixed age groups and different cultures, languages and attitudes. In short: diversity in every respect. On these points, however, we should be united in one thing: in the objective and the will to use IT for the benefit of all.
ERGO as an insurance company is diverse in itself: customers find products for all life situations – from the birth of a child to health insurance to e-bike insurance. Diverse teams enable us as an IT provider to bring different perspectives to the development of our products and IT solutions, and in this way to be the best we can be for our business partners.
And what does it take to make IT more attractive for women?
That is a question to which there is no one answer. The truth is that a rethink is necessary in many places in society. Basically, I believe we should stop thinking in terms of gender roles. Because girls are also interested in IT. Our task as a society is to give boys and girls the same opportunities to get involved with IT – in kindergarten, at school and at university. IT is about using technology to make products smarter and improve our daily lives. This is interesting for everyone - regardless of gender, age, background or anything else.
What advice would you give to young women?
I would say: Just try it out. I am convinced that it is worth it!