Celebrating International Women's Day with an interview with our Software Developer Apprentice

International Womens Day

Celebrating International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day!

This is a day that is dedicated to honoring the achievements of women worldwide, as well as advocating for gender equality and women's rights. International Women's Day serves as a platform to raise awareness about issues such as gender discrimination against women, and the need for equal opportunities in all spheres of life.

In the IT industry, it is well known that there is a stigma surrounding women's participation, reflected in the current statistic that only 29% of the tech workforce comprises women in 2024 as reported by TechTalent Charter

Today we sat down with Sandra, our software development apprentice, to discuss her role at the company and to get her thoughts on the opportunities available to women in the IT industry. See what she had to say below!

Interview with Sandra

What does your job role involve?

As a software developer apprentice, I help build and maintain client systems and websites, getting involved in all stages of the software development lifecycle.

What made you choose a career in technology?

I wanted a more challenging career, to learn new skills and gain qualifications in an ever-evolving industry, I was drawn specifically to the creativity and problem-solving aspects of software development.

Did you study an IT or technology-related subject at any level of education, was there a stigma around this subject?

There was no GCSE for Computer Science when I was at school, so a career in IT had never crossed my mind!

I studied IT qualifications later on around my work, but friends and colleagues often thought my choice of subject was unusual!

Do you think this issue stems back to school and what can companies do to help mediate these issues?

Companies could make use of platforms such as tick-tock and Instagram to reach a wider audience and showcase the industry in a more positive light, focusing on the creativity and problem-solving aspects of software development, the flexibility and home/life balance of being able to work remotely, the wide variety of projects we work on and the value placed on team collaboration within the industry, hopefully breaking down the stereotypical imagery of coders just sitting alone in a dark room!

What could a small/medium-sized company like ours do to encourage women into the workplace/make women feel welcomed?

Women tend to feel less confident than men when applying for jobs, I know myself that if I don't feel like I've ticked every single box then I won't put myself forward for a role.

Job adverts can sometimes put women off applying just by describing skills as 'required' rather than 'desired'.

What would you like to see from us as a company?

I've felt incredibly welcomed at Network, being the first woman to join the company! The flexibility has helped me to juggle full-time work and a young family, all while working towards a qualification and gaining valuable technical skills. I don't think I could ask for more!

Have you experienced any barriers or issues that prevented you from pursuing this career sooner?

Having a young family has certainly played a major factor in my work choices, I spent many years in customer service for different companies where almost invariably the entire workforce was predominantly women and almost all were part-time. It's a tough choice to fully commit to a more challenging career without feeling the guilt of sacrificing family time, it is a massive compromise and one that many women do not make.

If you could go back and change your path into tech now, what would you change or tell your younger self?

I would certainly tell my younger self to stop letting self doubt get in the way of my progression, I wish I had been more confident in taking risks and striving for more in my early career.

What do you think is the biggest issue women in tech/business are facing today?

Having worked with mostly women for the last 15 years, flexibility and part-time hours are often the main deciders when looking for work, especially for those with children. If more IT jobs fit into school hours then I'm positive there would be a rapid increase in women applying for those positions.

What advice would you give women today at the start of their career?

Just go for it, and don't be afraid of the unknown, it's all valuable experiences, fresh challenges and new opportunities. It's far too easy to 'stick with what you know' and stay within your comfort zone.