Liquid Web’s Technical Hiring Coordinator on tenacity, technology, and being unafraid to be yourself.
Nicky Bulmer-Jones is unapologetically herself. A self-proclaimed nerd and avid lover of video games, she is on a mission to show young women and men that the tech field isn’t just a boys’ club.
Though she has lived all over the country (in Hawaii, Nebraska, and Georgia) she always finds herself returning to the place she was born and raised— Lansing, Michigan— where she joined the Liquid Web team with just one month of self-taught server administration. That was 10 years ago.
Since then, her accomplishments speak for themselves. During her decade at Liquid Web, she has become a Red Hat Certified System Administrator, earned her cPanel admin certification, become a supervisor, and helps others learn Linux. Though she has held several positions during her decade with the company, she currently serves as Technical Hiring Coordinator, interviewing candidates for employment, assessing their fit with the company and their technical abilities.
Liquid Web was Bulmer-Jones’ first venture into the world of tech. Before joining Liquid Web, she worked in television, first as a Production Assistant. She ran camera, floor directed, rolled teleprompter, and did audio for newscasts. Eventually, she moved into Master Control, ensuring commercials ran at the correct times and that things were properly recorded.
She attributes her success to tenacity, determination, her eagerness to try new things as well as, she says, stubbornness. As a child, she loved science and mathematics and looked up to her aunt, a successful electrical engineer. She also had a deep love for video games— a love which continues— that sparked her interested in technology.
Without many role models, she is proud of all that she has accomplished. “I set goals for myself. I accomplish them. I set the next one,” she says. “There have been people that have influenced me on the way, for better or for worse, but at the end of the day I set my own path and forge it.”
She takes pride in her work ethic and expects a lot from the people who work with her. “As a supervisor, I have learned that people will give you exactly what you expect of them. If you set the bar too low, you will forever handicap their potential.”
One of her favorite aspects of her current role at Liquid Web is that she is able to work within the community, meeting high school students and sharing her love of technology with them, showing young women especially that they can go into STEM fields and find success.
“There are women in STEM— we just aren’t as visible,” says Bulmer-Jones. “Which is sad considering that women were well represented in the field at its inception. Ada Lovelace was the first person to publish an algorithm for a modern computer to execute. The creation of COBOL, a language still used pretty heavily in the insurance and finance industries, was led to by the efforts of a woman— Grace Hopper.”
Bulmer-Jones cites media stereotypes as part of the reason so many women found themselves pushed out of the tech field. “When video games came into play and were aggressively marketed to the male audience, it sort of sealed the deal,” she says. “As visibility improves, it is my hope that so will acceptance and things will balance out more.”
There are women working in technology and they are successful. Nicky Bulmer-Jones wants young people to know this. “I love getting out to schools and talking to young people,” she said. “I think it is just as important for men to see women succeeding in the field because it normalizes it for them before they can get set into a bias.” She encourages young people interested in STEM to be themselves and to do their job well. “Never be embarrassed to like the things you like and never apologize for who you are,” she says.
Her biggest advice to women interested in tech? “Try everything. You never know unless you give it a shot.”