The WeAreTechnology conference for female technologists in London is sold out! This just goes to show how many women are either involved with or interested in a career in technology.
As technology gradually takes over the world – especially with respect to the internet and mobile app development – more and more jobs are being created that require some kind of additional tech qualification. Coding and development skills are highly sought after by employers, and gaining a qualification in this area will all but secure yourself a job. Why then are women less inclined to enter into the tech industry than men? Should women consider a career change? We talked to Samantha Eltringham (Web Developer) and Alison Bossaert (Platform Developer) who both work for the UK’s biggest online bingo website. Both Sam and Alison drastically changed their careers by heading back to university to study for a degree in Computer Science, and they both have successful, rewarding careers in the tech sector.
QUESTION: Why did you choose to go into the tech industry?
SAM: With a background in animal welfare, a passion of mine since I was a teen, I’d worked in logistics for 13 years. However, with capped wages, a lack of progression, and a particularly bad day at work, I made the decision to return to uni. There seemed like an abundance of tech jobs and I had always been great with computers. I took the leap into tech as a mature student and I haven’t looked back.
ALISON: I initially studied Music, which was my passion. However, I soon came to realise that job prospects were limited in this industry. I ended up falling into a networking role where I was required to learn code; I really enjoyed this, so I decided to start my second degree at the open university in computer science as a mature student.
QUESTION: And what exactly did you study as a mature student?
SAM: I did a foundation degree first, then a top-up degree in Computer Science at Teesside University.
ALISON: I studied Computer Science at the Open University as it offered a large range of modules, allowing me to focus on my specific interests whilst also learning the general skills required for a degree in development.
QUESTION: Have you faced any challenges, specifically as a woman working in tech, if so what are they?
SAM: I haven’t experienced any discrimination being a woman in tech at tombola. However, some international colleagues in the past have been a little surprised that I was a female web developer. In general, I think companies are really supportive and encouraging of women in the technology industry, particularly tombola – but then I would say that!
ALISON: I do find people are shocked by my job title, but that’s changing. I think having a mixed gender team balances the work force because men and women sometimes think a little differently – that can only be a good thing!
QUESTION: Do you have any advice for young women considering a career in the tech industry?
SAM: I have a daughter and I would definitely encourage her to pursue a tech career, if she was interested. It’s a great industry to work in as your skills are always in demand, and so there are loads of worldwide opportunities.’
ALISON: I’d say it’s hard, but persist with it, because it is really rewarding. It’s a highly in-demand industry. For example: before working at tombola, I was made redundant due to budget cuts and was able to find a new role in three days!
If you’re considering a career change to the technology sector, there is a wealth of information for you on the WeAreTechnology section of the website, and may also want to subscribe to the newsletter for new information, conferences and networking events.