What do you do?
I’m a PHP developer.
Why did you start in digital/tech?
Originally I started programming because I was obsessed with video games and wanted to make some of my own. Back in the 90s they had this piece of software called The Games Factorythat got me using some basic programming concepts and creating things.
How have you got to where you are?
I did a Computer Science A-level then went to University. When I first started, I did some freelance stuff and free projects for charities before landing my first full time paid job. I’ve been a professional developer for around 7 years now.
What advice would you give your younger self or other young women starting out?
For people just leaving uni or school, or those who have changed careers and have little experience as developers:
- Doing pro-bono work for charities and local community organisations is a good way build your portfolio and demonstrate your skills to potential employers. This also gives you valuable experience with working with real life clients.
- Don’t be discouraged if certain concepts don’t make sense to you straight away. No one is born an expert and we were all beginners once. Be compassionate with yourself in the learning process.
- If you’re trying to learn to program my advice would be to avoid wasting money on expensive programming courses or bootcamps. If you get a space on a course for free then that’s great, but it’s not necessary. The internet and meetup.com are great resources. Especially for an introductory level.
- Lastly if you’re thinking about a career in tech – just go for it! Don’t be put off by some of the negative stories that have been in the news lately.
Even if you end up being the only girl on your team, the vast majority of guys won’t treat you any differently as long as you know your stuff and get the job done. I’m only the female developer at Fat Beehive, and all my male team mates are brilliant!
How do you think tech should change to encourage more women to start out?
Most people who work in the industry had an interest in technology from a young age. Parents should try to encourage an interest in problem solving and creativity from a young age whatever the gender of their child. Empower your kids to build solutions for problems and experiment with science.