Reach PLC – Amna Askari, Developer

Amna Askari

We recently interviewed Amna Askari, a Developer at Reach PLC about her thoughts and experiences on Women in Tech.

  1. What does your job role involve

I work as a Developer and my role mainly involves writing and maintaining code for new and existing web products. I also get involved with a bit of project management which I really enjoy.

  1. What made you choose a career in technology?

I grew up with 3 older brothers that used to be obsessed with superhero films, in which tech and science are big players. I also went to a university that was quite tech-heavy because it mostly offers STEM courses. Therefore, my interactions were mainly with people that were quite tech-savvy and a lot of what we did involved using the latest and best technology. This showed me how much we have progressed and how much we can achieve using technology and convinced me that it was the career choice for me.

  1. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at A-Level or University?

I studied science subjects at A-level (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths) and then Biomedical Engineering at university which was quite technology related.

  1. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

Not really any commercial experience, however I did an internship at a start-up and I was also a research student in an IT related project.

  1. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

Although the number is growing, they are definitely outnumbered in the industry, particularly as engineers.

  1. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

Yes, I do, although this is gradually diminishing and improving over time.

  1. What would entice women to study technology related courses?

I think a starting point would be to break the idea that technology-related courses are for certain ‘kinds’ of people and that there is actually a lot more to them than meets the eye. You can do some really awesome things in technology courses and it’s helping to showcase that. I also think having female role models that are studying technology courses is a really positive thing.

  1. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

There is, however, at the moment, there is a lot of work being done to break these barriers so it’s becoming easier for women to get into tech. On the surface, there are in fact ‘anti’ barriers because companies and educational institutions are heavily encouraging women to get into tech. There are however still barriers that exist in terms of ideology and subconscious bias.

  1. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

Perhaps by showing women that tech can be really interesting and a worthwhile lucrative career choice. So much of coding is organising and labelling things in a smart way – which could appeal to both males and females. We need amazing female role models in the tech industry, leading the way! And we need to bring these individuals into the workplace at a younger age and show them what a day in the life of a tech career can and does look like!

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

Say yes – You never know where an opportunity (even if it doesn’t seem like it will) will take you. Get involved!

Learn as much as you can – Read up on things that are a question mark, ask questions until things click and try to understand the big picture. Know more than just your role.

Be yourself – Nothing will give you more internal satisfaction and ultimately a unique place at wherever you are. Channel your value and what makes you feel good about you.