We interviewed Adesuwa Osifo, Graduate Software Engineer at Experian on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
Being a software engineer at Experian involves developing, improving, and maintaining products and solutions through code. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a scheme that carries out rotations between different teams and departments, so I’ve been able to experience a lot of different technologies in what’s coming to the end of my first year here. Working with AWS services to rebuild an existing internal system in a completely serverless way, getting stuck into front-end development, improving, and maintaining APIs in alignment with our clients’ needs, and building a windows application to generate certificates are just some of things I’ve already been able to do during my rotations. Currently I am working with azure services, on a team which constantly seeks to improve software in terms of efficiency and alignment with what our end users need, whether it be across Experian or our external clients. What is not so obvious is that the job involves problem solving, being curious, open to learning and having a mindset that no solution is perfect and can always be improved.
From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed coding because I’ve loved the challenge and the power of technology. Coding was introduced to me at school and was something so new and exciting. It’s crazy to me that the creation process of a lot of things that people use day-to-day such as their phones, applications, and household items, started with a block of code. Another thing that drew me to a career in tech is the fact that technology can be used in every industry and sector, and has what feels like a million ways it can be utilised thus your career path can be varied – you can be a front-end developer in the food industry , create applications in iOS to do with transport, harness of the powers of AI and cloud computing in the finance sector, just to name a few combinations.
I did. I studied Computer Science in GCSE, A Level and at University as well. I have been set on a career in tech for a while 😊
I had done a little bit of front-end development during university but apart from doing a few courses and summer camps, I had not had much work experience in IT. My main experience came from taking on extra projects in my free time and developing websites for people I knew starting new businesses.
Definitely! Although there has been great progress in women filling up roles outside of this sector, in the IT and tech especially, we are not seeing the same progress. I would love to see a lot more women in this space.
Although this stereotype does still exists, I believe another stereotype about the people that work in IT or technology is becoming increasingly more prominent. People believe that those who desire a career in this field are usually people who are not great at socialising, like to stay home and play games, not that that’s an issue but can be very far from the truth. Although some people fit that stereotype, the majority of who I have come across are sociable, have interesting hobbies and are great communicators who are always willing to help and support you.
Firstly, just having more women role models for other women to look up to would be a good start! Having more women relay their experiences and speak about their careers in technology allows other women to get a better idea of what it actually involves, working in technology and the exciting and rewarding career paths they can embark on. The benefit of having plenty of flexibility in technology-based roles is another enticing point, with many people now given the freedom to work remotely or from home. Furthermore, technology-based roles will always be in high demand. However, if you do change your mind about pursuing a role in technology, technology related courses help you develop those transferable skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and diligence that allow you to be suitable to many different roles both in and outside of those technology careers.
From my perspective, the biggest barrier to a lot of women is the fear, intimidation or worries that come about with being in a male-dominated field. In the workplace, women may be wary about whether they are seen and treated the same as their male counterparts, whether they are coming across as too emotional or not professional enough but also wanting to make sure they are heard. We may think we need to put in twice as much effort than men in order to get recognised for the same work and might tire ourselves out trying to fit in a male dominated environment where interests may not always align. These are just some of the concerns that women face and act as a barrier to entering a male dominated field. I believe, as a minimum, companies need to do more to ensure that their workplace environments are accommodating for everyone and show that everyone is valued regardless of things like gender, race, religion, etc.
I believe that reaching out to schools would be effective. Bringing tech-based societies, workshops and opportunities can give girls at a younger age better insight into what a career in tech can look like. Specifically, having girl-based clubs can give girls the confidence to try it out without feeling judged or as they do not belong there. I was first drawn to technology and coding when the school I was in announced that they were participating in a national Lego robotics competition and there would be a reward, so competitions like these could encourage more girls to take an interest in the field. I believe training provided by groups like the SheCanCode at schools is very positive in starting to encourage more women.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be confident in yourself and what you can bring to a team. Be yourself as you will have so many desirable skills and characteristics and there’s value in being unique! Companies are looking for diversity and different backgrounds as the team becomes much more effective and innovative so understand that you can bring value just by being yourself. Also speak up if something doesn’t seem right. Everyone’s usually willing to learn and improve things at the workplace and you deserve to be there the same as