This week we’ve been taking a deep dive into gender equality in the tech industry, sharing insight from across our team to discover why women are typically in short supply in the coding world.
In our latest podcast episode, craftswoman Solange Gasengayire spoke to client and partner engagement lead, Natalie Gray; regional director, Amelia Bampton and people operations and recruitment, Emily Reboul about their formative years in tech, the experiences that made them want to pursue their careers, and what the industry can do more of to encourage more women to take up the banner for software craftsmanship.
Read on for some highlights about their career journeys into the tech industry and what influenced their decisions to pursue careers in technology. Or you can listen to the entire podcast.
Solange: Let's start off with your respective careers. Could you share with the audience what your background is before joining Codurance?
Natalie: Sure. So I've had a varied career. Before I joined Codurance back in April 2020. I ran Business Development at Voxgig, which is an event tech startup. I learned a lot about running a startup and how agile dev teams are projects work. Before that I spent 10 years as a tech events company called Skills Matter. During my working life, I've also had two children. I took a three year sabbatical running a successful guesthouse in Spain. So it's been pretty varied but fun. I've learned a lot along the way.
SG: Nice. What about you, Amelia?
Amelia: Yeah, mine's a little bit more basic. That was quite a tough act to follow. I've worked in tech my whole career, and I feel very boring now! Yeah, I've worked in tech in various forms for the last 16 years. I found my career in tech after my two degrees. They were very heavily weighted on the business emphasis on how tech was enabling business going forward. I just loved that concept. I started as a business analyst, back in the early noughties, worked across a number of key consultancies in the UK, spent a proportion of my career working in house for Vodafone for seven years. That was a big proportion of my career, which is where I found many different roles moving from a business analyst to project manager to portfolio manager. I went back to consulting in the last few years as a delivery manager, which led me on the path to my role as regional director now with Codurance. I've moved into this year, which is harnessing all the key areas and skills that I kind of taken across that journey, and putting them into practice in it in a much wider role.
SG: Thank you, Emily?
Emily: I actually studied International Business Management. It was a very general degree and with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. Then I got into recruitment by chance, like most recruiters, I think. I started working in an agency and I rapidly started focusing on tech profiles. I discovered a whole new world in technology. That's something I really liked. I worked in that agency for a few years. Then I got into a gaming company and that was another amazing experience. Also very tech oriented. I started doing a few more things than just recruitment. Now I'm at Codurance and still in tech, still loving it.
SG: What would you say was the biggest factor or maybe person who influenced you into pursuing a career in technology? the tech industry?
NG: For me it's not so much somebody that influenced me, but somebody who taught me to take risks and put myself outside of my comfort zone. My old boss at the tech startup, Richard Roger, a tech entrepreneur. We were a really, really small team. I was taken on to do business development, but he would say, ‘you know, I know you're doing business development, but we're a really small team. I'm going off to America for a few months, can you just run the dev team while I'm away?’ And I was just like ‘what? That's crazy.’ But he just had complete faith in me and I think it taught me to learn. Learn as you go along. I learned so much from that experience. The technology industry is just throw yourself in and learn and improve as you go. You never know. You'll never start as the perfect article but just try things and be fearless. That experience for me helped me understand how agile projects work. That experience helped me to eventually, have this great job at Codurance. And so that's really inspired me.
SG: Yeah. Anyone else would like to jump in?
AB: I struggle to pinpoint one particular person. I do feel quite lucky that I've been blessed across my career working alongside so many really inspiring people. I suppose, to be honest, I found my career in tech and, not to be overly gushing, but I did love it from day one. So there was no one that pushed me in that direction or fell into it. I've loved pretty much every day. Looking back at the start my career, it was fairly male dominated but I think the one thing I take away with regard to this question is I got put in some really great positions had some great opportunities, and each one of my managers always believed in me. I was always given a lot of encouragement to just be myself and continue doing what I was doing, that really always put me on the springboard and the platform to learn more, do more, and continue to progress my career. Just constant encouragement from your peers, and sometimes your managers, just getting that reassurance that you're in the right place, and you're doing the right thing is highly valuable. More so I'd say, than from one particular person. I do feel very lucky with all the great people I've worked with, across the different roles I’ve had.
ER: I think I'm Monica, maybe in that sense, I don't really have, I can't really think of any specific moment, or any specific person who really inspired me in that direction. IT. I started having IT classes in high school or secondary school. I remember, I was IT support at home. Because I liked to understand how the computer was working and everything. So I wasn't really a developer or anything, but I just like understanding everything. Then I kind of forgot about it. Later on when I was interviewing candidates on a regular daily basis, and I was speaking to people who were so interested and interesting and passionate about tech. It just kind of inspired me. I decided to continue on that path. And still today, every time I speak with candidates, with colleagues, and people in general - they're so passionate, and they really managed to pass this on. In addition, you're seeing respect and encouragement is something that was very defining as well. Tech is an industry where it can be very professional, but it can also be not so formal, like compared to banking, or like more traditional industries. And it's something that I really enjoyed. Because I feel like I can do a better job, if I'm being myself, really. And as Amelia was saying, that's what she was encouraged to do.
NG: I think the three of you are probably a bit younger than me. And certainly, when I started my career in the 90s, there weren't really that many inspiring female role models in the tech industry, like there are in more recent years. And so I think that probably did hold me back in my career at the beginning. As for encouragement and support that you've all had, I don't think I necessarily had that same level 20 years ago or longer than that. I think looking at today's tech industry, it's a very different place. And there's just so many really, really inspiring women now in tech who are really open with, very generous with their time and support to help other women wanting to come through. Helping them be mentored and gain those skills to help them progress their careers. So I think there's a lot. It's definitely really, really encouraging. I'm quite jealous of Amelia and Emily's career trajectory. It would have been great to have had that. But when I started in the tech industry, it was a very, very different place and that it is today. It's not perfect today, but it's definitely very, very different today, I'd say.