Trainline – Natalie Akam, Developer

We recently interviewed Natalie Akam, Developer at Trainline on her thoughts and experience on women in tech.

1. What does your job role involve?

Coding (JS, REACT, C#, .NET), problem solving, pairing & communicating


2. What made you choose a career in technology?

I always wanted to code when I was younger and thought that tech would grow and become more important in the future. I also wanted to live in central London and have the opportunity to work abroad at some point, which fits in well with the tech industry


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

At university (MSc level) but IT was not offered at my secondary school


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

I worked in digital marketing at one point


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

I think it’s getting better and there are a lot of women only coding courses and meetup groups which is helping to foster a good sense of community and make it more welcoming for women. Many of the female devs coming into the industry are through coding bootcamps and it’s great to see the impact these bootcamps have had for diversity in tech. However, I think we need to work on giving more girls the opportunity to do coding at school and study comp sci at university.


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

Yes, I would like to see more diverse and visible role models for younger people. The entertainment industry is particularly unhelpful here, nearly always portraying coders as nerdy guys


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

Make the courses more broadly available and force girls’ schools to offer a good range of technology/coding courses. I don’t think IT is as respected or seen as being as useful compared to the other STEM subjects, when in reality it’s more applied and can lead to careers in a whole range of industries. More work can be done to promote IT as a subject that is useful, and clearly explain the links between studying certain subjects and the types of careers that can be achieved


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

Lack of choice of subjects in girls’ schools. Hard to know where to start when self-teaching (although these days there are a lot of online resources). Schools focusing on grades rather than students’ futures (careers advice, helping people to study the right subjects). The high price of coding bootcamps is also a barrier


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

Go into schools and give talks about career paths, how to get into tech, more information about what the roles entail


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

Believe in yourself, focus on your strengths, talk to as many people as possible who are further on in your chosen career than you and ask what you should do to get there.