March 08, 2021
I had never considered a career in technology. Nor had a career in technology ever been suggested to me. In fact, my understanding of the software industry was limited to that portrayed in television series and movies. This is perhaps where the issues relating to gender diversity within the tech industry begin.
Only 27% of our female respondents overall say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males. - PWC
A colleague recently discussed how to challenge stereotypes by talking to children in schools about career opportunities within technology. Throughout my education, from school through to college and university, a job in tech had never been a part of my future aspirations; likely because it had never been advocated. As a young, suggestible teen, I took inspiration from the leaders and role models around me. At career fairs, I do not recall information stands about software development, or at least if they were there, they were not approaching me and my female counterparts.
A shortage of female role models is a major barrier – as is a lack of understanding of how technology can enable women to change the world - PWC
Life at Valtech
It wasn’t until the third year of my Psychology degree that a friend (a male friend might I add) introduced me to coding and from there my interest in the industry transpired. In February 2019, I joined Valtech as an Apprentice Java developer with no prior experience in software development; an extremely rare job opportunity in today’s competitive market. I was chucked into the deep end on a three month intensive bootcamp, learning the core principles of Java before immersing in to the office environment and working on some award winning governmental teams and services.
I quickly settled in to the Valtech way of working, adapting to the culture of the office life and more importantly, adapting to the start of a brand-new career. At first, being a junior in amongst incredibly talented people was inspirational yet terrifying – a little fish in a big pond if you will. Being a female junior in a male dominated environment is perhaps even more intimidating. But my experience at Valtech so far has taught me that my male colleagues respect me and value my opinions and that I shouldn’t shy away from contributing to discussions or aspiring to be better and dream bigger.
Within the first year of my career taking off, I was named Newcomer of the Year 2019 at our Manchester office. In the last two years, I have grown from having little technical knowledge to having four software development based certifications. I have organised both fundraising events and social activities whilst looking to promote positive mental-wellbeing and maintain a sense of connectedness throughout our new virtual working environment. And whilst feeling like an imposter in the workplace may seem like an uphill battle, the encouragement and support I receive from my colleagues reminds me that there is a place for myself and other women in the industry and that tech is not just for men!