Sky – Courtney Cox, Associate Software Developer

We interviewed Courtney Cox, Associate Software Developer at Sky on her thoughts and experiences on women in tech.

1. What does your job involve?

I am an Associate Software Developer at Sky and work in the Sky Sports Web team working on the Sky Sports UK/DE websites. My day-to-day work involves modifying existing code or writing new code as per business requirements.

2. What made you choose a career in technology?

I stumbled across coding as part of my degree with no prior knowledge that it existed as I hadn’t considered a career in technology before. I had a compulsory module on my course and this was my very first module in web development called ‘Interface Design’ where we covered HTML and CSS. And needless to say, from there I was hooked and spent most evenings teaching myself more.

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

At college, I studied A-Levels in Media, English Language and Geography. I then went onto the University of Leeds to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Media in the School of Media and Communication.

4. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this job?

Yes, I completed two summer internships in 2019 whilst at university, one at a web-design agency called Mixd and the other at Sky both as a Junior Developer. After my internship at Mixd, I was offered a placement alongside my final year at university working there part-time to gain more experience and learn from the professionals in the industry. In January 2020, I attended Work in the Web 2020, a 3-day development workshop for students who want to work in the web industry at Mixd. I also completed the Code First Girls “Introduction to Web Development” course in summer 2020 to help improve my understanding and also learn about JavaScript too.

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

Yes, 100%! We need to think about how to improve gender diversity and keep pushing for it as there is still more work to be done.

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

Yes, to some extent, I want to believe that this stereotype doesn’t exist anymore however, some people still associate IT and technology with men (unfortunately!).

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

Breaking the stereotype as mentioned above and introducing girls to STEM subjects from an early age. And the fact technology is one of the most innovative and exciting industries to enter.

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

I think there are barriers and some key potential reasons that hinder women such as lack of awareness about careers in STEM subjects and Tech and lack of activities in school that encourage them to choose technology driven roles. I came across Code First Girls, Women in Tech UK and Girl Code who are all on a mission to tackle the gender-gap, encourage more women into tech and support them in their careers in tech. I think these organisations are massively encouraging more women into tech and removing the barriers. I am keen to help inspire women from non-tech backgrounds to get into tech. It was really encouraging for me to see women from all kinds of backgrounds and that the majority of them didn’t have a Computer Science degree and work in the tech industry. This was amazing to hear as if they could do it then I could too, and it gave me the confidence to apply for a tech role.

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

Educate women about opportunities in tech roles and the various pathways on careers in technology by sharing experiences and guidance. Women already working in tech can actively become role models and inspire other women to have a career in tech.

10. What advice would you give to young women at the start of their career?

  • Compare yourself to only yourself – There are a lot of people learning to code out there. Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s, instead compare yourself to previous you and focus on your own growth.
  • Have an online presence – build a portfolio, connect with the wider Dev Community on platforms such as Twitter.
  • Complete free online courses – (freeCodeCamp, Codeademy, Udemy etc). There are a million and one resources for learning how to code.
  • Build projects you love – Work on side projects to help develop your skills and knowledge. When you’re learning, you will be building various projects to practice (and show off) your skills. Pick project ideas that are interesting to you; you will be much more likely to finish them and want to put work into them.
  • Don’t feel like you need to know everything and don’t be afraid to ask for help – the community is super friendly and there is always someone willing to help.
  • Say yes to every opportunity!