Why I care about Women in Monitoring (and IT)

(originally posted Feb 10, 2015)
(image credit Josh Rossi )

I started a thread on Twitter asking Who are some awesome women in monitoring? One of the common reactions (privately and respectfully, I’m happy to say) has been asking me why I started the discussion in the first place. I thought that question deserved a response.

Because, I’m a feminist. Yes, Virginia, Orthodox Jewish middle-aged white guys can be feminists, too. Because I think that anything that can be done to promote and encourage women getting into STEM professions should be done. Full stop. Because people from different backgrounds, cultures, and environments see the world differently, and if there’s one thing you need in a “the order entry system is down again” crisis, it’s as many experienced perspectives as possible to get that sucker running again.

“But why ‘women in monitoring’?” I’m then asked. “Why not ‘awesome women in I.T.’ or just ‘awesome women in STEM’ ?”

Because on top of all the “Because”-es above, I’m also a MONITORING enthusiast. I think monitoring (especially monitoring done right) is awesome, a lot of fun, and provides a huge value to organizations of all sizes.

I also think it’s an under-appreciated discipline within I.T. Monitoring today. The current state of monitoring-as-a-discipline within IT reminds me of InfoSec, Storage, or Virtualization about a decade ago. Back then, it (infosec, virtualization, etc) was a set of skills, but few people claimed that it was their sole role within a company. Fast forward to today, and IT departments would dream of not having specialists in those areas. I think (and hope) that in a few years we’ll look back at monitoring and see the same type of progression.

I want to see monitoring recognized as a career path, the same as being a Voice engineer, or cloud admin, or a data analytics specialist.

Of course, this all ties back to my role as Head Geek. Part of the job of a Head Geek is to promote the amazing—amazing solutions, amazing trends, amazing companies, and amazing groups—as it relates to monitoring.

One reason this is explicitly part of my job is to build an environment where those people who are quietly doing the work, but not identifying as part of “the group” feel more comfortable doing so. The more “the group” gains visibility, the more that people who WANT to be part of the group will gravitate towards it rather than falling into it by happenstance.

Which brings me back to the point about “amazing women in monitoring”. This isn’t a zero-sum competition. Looking for amazing women doesn’t somehow imply women are MORE amazing than x (men, minorities, nuns, hamsters, etc).

This is about doing my part to start a conversation where achievements can be recognized for their own merit.

I know that’s a pretty big soapbox to balance on a series of twitter posts, but I figure it’s gotta start somewhere.

So, if you know of any exceptional women in monitoring: Forward this to them. Encourage to connect – on Twitter (@LeonAdato), THWACK (@adatole) or in the comments below.