What challenges did you have to overcome to get your foot on a career path in technology?
I think the biggest hurdle for anyone starting out in tech is that a lot of companies seek people who have experience, but it is difficult to get this experience without being hired in the first place. It can be a bit of a catch-22. That being said, there are routes you can take to gain experience and for me this was through my placement year at university.
In your experience, does being a woman in your profession come with extra challenges that you have had to overcome?
I think the main challenge has been to not let the stigma of being a woman stand in the way of my confidence within the male dominant industry. For the most part, I think I have had a good journey to where I am today, but there have been times when I have felt the need to go the extra mile over my male peers to get recognition.
What’s been the single thing that has helped you with your career in technology?
There was a particular moment during college that I will always be grateful for. At the time I was finding it quite difficult to pin-point exactly what I wanted to do after college, but I was adamant that I did not want to go to university. As deadlines started to approach for university applications, I had a particular tutor who spent a lot of time and effort encouraging me to “just apply and see if you get a place”. After quite a bit of persuading I applied and got a place into my preferred option. I think if it wasn’t for this tutor, I wouldn’t have even applied, let alone gone to university and started my career – so for that, thank you, Cath.
Do you believe that being a woman has held you back in any way whilst working in the technology sector?
Overall no, but I think that is due to the determination and effort I have put into my career to not let that happen. However, there are gender gaps, and I have been affected by them at points in my career.
What changes have you seen in the sector since you started working in technology?
I think there has been an increase in women in the technology industry overall, which is great, but there is still a way to go before we get equality in software engineering and developer roles.
What would your advice be to any woman wanting to start her career in the technology industry?
I think my advice would be the same for anyone starting out, which would be, take advantage of the knowledge that others have, learn from them, and ask a lot of questions - there is no such thing as a stupid question. In my current role, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of coaching and mentoring less experienced members of the team. Being involved so closely and watching them become more confident and able to make a strong contribution as they’ve grown is really very rewarding.
Do you think it’s important for more women to find career paths within the technology sector?
Yes, diversity in any team and industry is very important. If the technology industry did not have diversity, whether that is through gender, race, or social background, it would not progress in a modern world.
Do you think enough is done to help women get into the technology industry? If not, what would you recommend?
This probably isn’t related to just the technology industry alone, but I think for young people there is a lack of awareness of the different types of roles that are on offer in the technology industry. Introducing better awareness of job opportunities and encouragement through schools from an early age would help up reduce the gender gaps in future.