According to Tech Nation, the UK tech sector employs 2.93m people, with women accounting for only 19% of the workforce. It seems to be a common misconception that the tech sector and STEM subjects are ‘for the boys’ and unfortunately even today this still continues to be perpetuated.
A report by PWC surveyed 2,000 A-Level and University students and found that only 16% of females had a career in technology suggested to them compared to 33% of males. Lack of information or advice, a view that the sector is too male-dominated and a lack of creativity were all cited as reasons women didn’t pursue a career in tech.
Over the past year, the pandemic has meant many businesses and services have moved online increasing the need for the tech industry. This is shown by an increase of 36% in job vacancies from June to August last year. As the industry continues to thrive and opportunities increase, it's high time more women started their career in tech.
I’ve now been in the sector for just under two years after leaving my previous profession to take on a career as a full-stack developer. Having only taken STEM subjects up to GCSE level, I had no further science, math or IT qualifications and the route I took into tech involved an intensive bootcamp.
At school, I’d personally never considered a career in tech and I believe the stereotypes and a lack of visibility definitely played into my decision to not pursue anything computer-related.
Having changed careers to be in a job that now provides so much fulfilment, I’m passionate about wanting other women to see what the tech industry has to offer. Here are four reasons I believe women should consider a career in tech and specifically development, whether that be from starting your journey from school, or wherever you are in your life.
- Money - As much as we want to skirt around the subject, it is common knowledge that those in a tech career such as a developer can earn a good salary, usually, right from the start of their career path. I know that money is not always the most important factor when choosing a vocation, but it certainly helps to know you’ll be paid well.
- Job satisfaction - Being a developer can be challenging. Not everything will go your way, and you’ll definitely pull your hair out somedays wondering why your code isn’t working, but the satisfaction of seeing your hard work go-live is fantastic. You can work on something for an hour or for weeks, but to see the progression and the time and effort you’ll put in all culminate in a working website or application, is a great feeling.
- Flexibility - There are lots of jobs that can be flexible and tech is no different. According to a survey carried out by the Smarter Working Initiative, in the technology industry, 84% of employees have the option of flexible working, compared to the UK average of 65%. The nature of the job means there will be times that you just need to step away from a problem to refresh and most of the industry understands this and encourages it. Of course, businesses have deadlines, but most also have realistic expectations from their staff which allow flexibility in order to avoid burning out.
- Opportunity to learn and grow - Every day I come to work, I can guarantee I’ll come across a new problem that leads to new solutions and learning something new. From entire new frameworks to simple syntax that I’d never heard of, tech is so vast and fast-paced that you can learn so much and continue to progress throughout your career.
At NorthLink Digital, we currently have two female developers within a team of seven and we’re keen to see more women entering the sector. There is a place in the industry for men and women and I’d love to encourage more young people to think about a career in tech. I think it is time to challenge stereotypes and for more women to get into the tech industry. If you’re just leaving school or looking for a career change, it’s never too late to start learning code. Any questions about how to start or where to start your research, get in touch.