Despite the pandemic, the UK technology industry has continued to prosper. According to Tech Nation, the UK technology industry is worth over £10 billion and employs around 3 million people - very impressive statistics. However, just 19% of those employees are women! Gender diversity is a very important issue and at Yapily, we want to encourage as many women as we can to be a part of, what we believe, is an exciting fast growth sector.
Over the last week, we decided to interview some of the amazing women who work in our team, to gain insight into what they love about tech and why they chose to pursue a career in it.
Elizabeth Prendergast - Software Engineer
My first introduction to tech was an ‘Introduction to Programming’ course I had to take in my first year of university - I hated it! It wasn’t until I began working in consulting that I really started to get interested in technology. I slowly started getting involved in more technical consulting projects and started teaching myself how to code during my evenings and weekends. I fell in love with coding, and eventually I realised that I was enjoying it more than my actual work, so I decided to make the switch to software engineering. I quit my consulting job and enrolled in a 15 week coding bootcamp before starting with Yapily in February 2020. I’ve never looked back!
I love tech for so many reasons. It's such a fast-paced industry, so you never stop learning and never get bored. I live for that “rush” that you experience when you finally solve a really challenging problem or bug. I also really enjoy working with the people. Many people in tech end up here from a variety of backgrounds, so I find it incredibly refreshing to work with people who have so many different life experiences.
Meryem Alay - Technical Lead
Everything started at university. I remember the first code I wrote, thinking I was accomplishing something great. Especially when I first saw the command line, I was in love! I thought I was a hacker when I used the command line. I was sure during my university years that I would be a software developer.
When I got into business life, I realised that software development is not just about computers; human relations were as important as software development. This was also something I enjoyed. I still do my job very fondly. If I were born again, I would be a software developer.
Simona Matei - Software Engineer
In school my favourite subjects were always maths and sciences. I wrote my first lines of code when I was 10 as part of a Computer Science club I joined mostly so I could play computer games with my friends. I liked it and kept learning to program and by the time I went to university, studying Computer Science felt like the most natural thing to do. I went to study abroad and was one of the 20 or so female students in the Computer Science school at the time, from a total of over 200 students, but weirdly gender was never a factor in my career decision. I never even questioned it from a gender perspective simply because I never thought there were things that boys could do, that girls couldn't. If anything, the gender inequality just fuelled my determination.
These days I work as a back-end developer in a startup and I still love it, for plenty of reasons. It's one of the most exciting, fast-paced jobs out there! Literally every day brings new challenges, new things to learn, new puzzles to solve, sometimes you have to find solutions no one has ever come up with before. It requires creativity and a lot of curiosity. You get to work with a lot of talented individuals and genuinely impact people's lives with the tools that you build. Tech also offers a lot of opportunities, from the variety of industries, roles and environments you can work in, to being able to travel the world doing it. It's not always an easy job, sometimes it takes hours or days to make something work, but those "Aha!" moments are the best and they usually teach you the most.
Becky Danks - Product Manager
My academic background is in research sciences, so I guess I’ve always loved knowing how things work, but never got into coding or computer engineering. Instead I first came across the world of tech from product roles in my graduate scheme at Nationwide Building Society. I’ve always had so many ideas about creating exciting products that customers would love. But, I quickly realised that in order to actually build those products, I needed to understand more about the technology behind it. For me, coding and engineering is all about the products you can create, and I love tech because it’s what takes a great idea from concept to reality.
Since joining Yapily, I’ve learnt so much about software engineering and Elizabeth (mentioned above) has been teaching me how to code. We try to catch up every fortnight and I have learnt so much about how things work! Last week I wrote my first script to make some (very small) production changes, and it was an amazing feeling. I’m not an engineer but learning the basics has definitely made me a better product manager.
We all have a part to play in tackling the lack of diversity and inclusion in our industry. Hopefully you, or someone you know will find these stories interesting and inspiring. If you do find yourself reading this and think you know someone who would benefit from this too, please share this article with them. We appreciate your support, thank you.