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Madgex – Rachel, Development team leader Company

We interviewed Rachel, Development team leader Company at Madgex  on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.

 

  1. What does your job role involve?

Manage a team of eight C# developers and three testers at a software house. Resource management, line management, software release and deployment management, incident management, recruitment, scrum master, test team strategist, continuous delivery strategist.

 

  1. What made you choose a career in technology?

My first job I was an admin assistant. I worked with a team who were building computer systems, I was inspired by this team, plus I seemed to have an ability to sort out computer problems around the office. I was especially inspired by a lady who worked with us as an IT consultant.

I was also inspired by my older brother who was into computers from an early age. He guided me on what technology subjects to follow.

Although my education was geared towards the arts and social sciences, I realised what I wanted to do was get the skills to earn enough money to be independent. I worked out that getting an education in IT was the quickest and most failsafe way to do that and the arts and social sciences was not.

 

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

Computing was not an option when I was at school many years ago.

I left my admin role to go to the University of Brighton to study Computing and Information systems.

 

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

My degree was a sandwich course during which I had a years’ placement as a programmer. I couldn’t program when I arrived, I could when I left. This is how I became a programmer.

 

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

Yes. There is usually at least one other female developer in the places I have worked and all other development team members seem to be male. There are more female graphic designers and frontend developers, but the C# and SQL coders are mostly male. The managers are mostly male. Testers are mostly male.

 

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

I found this was the case when I was at school. I was discouraged by one teacher from swapping from a career in social science to IT. I don’t know what it’s like now. I hope they would not do that now. I found the careers advise service at school very uninspiring.

 

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

Knowing that the time to achieve financial reward is quicker than in many other careers.

The people in tech tend to be young, friendly, intelligent and considerate. The work is challenging and interesting. It’s good brain exercise.

 

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

I have been recruiting developers for 4 years now. I put up no barriers for women. In my experience, developers and recruitment managers would love to have more women in their teams. The main problem is that there aren’t many female developers applying for these roles. There is also a skills shortage regardless of gender.

One barrier to all people is getting on the first wrung of the programming ladder. Many companies are too busy to hire and train at that level. They need people who can program already.

 

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

Financial encouragement for companies to run well organised technology placements and encourage female school leavers to do these placements.

Let people know how much money they could earn within 2 years of becoming a professional developer?  (£30k +).

It’s a path to happiness: The female developers I know have a lot of pride in being developers. It’s an important part of one’s identity and grows strong self-esteem.

Girls should experience computers and IT from a young age and it should just be a normal thing to do.

Female role models should be accessible in schools.

Careers advisers should understand the roles that are in tech. Not all roles in technology are programming and systems maintenance but these can be steps in a career in tech. Because in the end it’s all about communication. The best technologist are the best communicators.