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Women have always been under-represented in the technology industry - and in 2018, they still only represent a very small proportion of the workforce (around 17%).
This is undoubtedly a worrying statistic, but it is looking up – in recent years there has been a strong and unmistakable push to encourage diversity in the industry. Between government initiatives to inspire girls to study STEM subjects at university, tech organisations’ commitment to hiring more women, and female figures like Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube) standing as some of the most powerful in technology today – it’s clear that big steps are being taken to encourage female presence in the industry.
In line with this drive towards diversity, we’re glad to have helped a number of women secure graduate tech jobs at a range of companies, and in roles right across the board.
To coincide with British Science Week (a celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) we spoke to some of these women to find out about their very different roles, responsibilities and personal experiences of working in the technology sector…
My current role is somewhat divided between that of a support analyst (in which I investigate issues with our software and try to fix them) and a software developer (in which I work on software development projects).
I'm a Trainee Project Manager, which means working alongside Project Managers in my team on a variety of projects in the company. As I work at a software company these are things like managing new releases, client upgrades and incident management. As a Project Manager you need to report on project progress and keep track of project budgets. An important part of the role is co-ordinating and supporting people from several teams to work in the most efficient and effective way possible, making sure they have everything they need for us to hit our deadlines.
I am a Solutions Developer on support work - this involves fixing bugs in our software that have been raised as an issue using numerous programming / database communication languages.
Patricia - My parents both work in tech, so I was always connected to this field. But it wasn't until I finished my university degree that I realised I want to work in tech.
Alice - I have always had a strong interest in science and technology and studied Physics at university. Growing up I always thought I would go into research or academia but as I got older this changed slightly so I explored other options open to me. My university course gave me valuable and transferable skills and although I decided I didn't want to go down a very technical route, such as a developer, I could still start my career in an industry that I enjoy.
Jerry - At first I really wanted to be a physicist or work in the finance industry, but during university my eyes were opened to technology through learning several programming languages. The more I researched the technology and FinTech industries, the more I realised that the world is heading in that direction and so I decided it would be a good path to go down for my career.
Patricia - I usually start my day by reading any new emails and checking my calendar for the day, followed by a quick catch up with my team. Then I check the list of issues that are assigned to me and investigate them, based on their priority. On other days I may be working on projects, which could be, for example, coding a new functionality in our software application. Oh and one nice thing about my office is that, around 3pm, we have our 'Tea Time' and gather in the kitchen for a quick chat over a cup of tea.
Alice - In a typical day I attend a number of meetings that check progress, discuss any new issues people are facing and try and help everything to run as smoothly as possible. An important but not very glamorous part of project management is keeping budget trackers and various other reporting documents up to date - not always the most exciting part of my day but things would quickly go wrong if it wasn't done!
Jerry - Issues with our software come in from clients, I look into the issue and make a code change wherever necessary and then test the code changes to check that the issue is fixed.
Patricia - It's always so satisfying when I find the root cause of an issue, especially when it's a hard one.
Alice - Probably working with so many different people, I'm a sociable person and I spend most of my day interacting with people from different areas of the business which is always enjoyable. I also like how my role can be fairly fast paced as a situation can change very suddenly and you have to react and adapt quickly which keeps it interesting.
Jerry - I adore the company I work for - from what I've seen of the technology industry, it's a very friendly and modern environment to work in. Also, coding itself is very rewarding - identifying the location of the bug and devising a logical solution to the issue can be very satisfying once you get it to work.
Patricia - Sometimes women in this field tend to be over-prepared and under-confident. So my advice is to be confident!
Alice - If it's something that interests you then go for it, there are so many different ways you can get into tech so if you can't get into the exact role you want right now, try a different approach. The good thing about tech is there's always opportunities for growth and learning so if you're determined there's definitely a way to do what you want. And if you're not sure, then try it!
Jerry - The technology industry isn't just a man's world and is definitely a career path that shouldn't be overlooked if you have no prior programming experience - if you're a logical thinker and want a solid future, technology is a very good path to go down.
Patricia - I can think of two scenarios: one, I will have become an experienced programmer within the company, or two, I will be continuing my studies by doing a PhD in Astrophysics.
Alice - Hopefully I will be running larger projects on my own and be more knowledgeable and experienced in my role. I'm sure I'll still have plenty to learn but if I there was no room for progression then I'd be bored!
Jerry - I see myself learning more programming languages and being given more responsibility with new client projects – so I see myself staying in the technology industry!
Speaking to women who are clearly thriving in their graduate tech jobs gives us reassurance that the future of technology is not only looking to be much more diverse, but hugely exciting. As it continues to evolve, women will play an integral role in driving discovery, invention and progression in every corner of the industry.
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