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Careers in Tech 2021

Why women should take the leap into tech

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Debbie Forster

CEO, Tech Talent Charter

It’s never too late to consider a career in technology, even if you don’t have a traditional tech or academic background. There are opportunities for women to switch to tech from other sectors.

With the rise of remote working and the growing importance of ecommerce, every company has realised it needs to be a digital company. This shift is creating new opportunities for a wide range of well-paid jobs in all sectors – especially in technology. 

However, for many people, the tech sector can still be regarded as a specialist field, with misconceptions that you must have niche qualifications or a long career history in the space. With so much diversification, that’s no longer the case. Opportunities are opening up for people with diverse backgrounds, particularly women, to encourage them to consider a tech career. 

New opportunities

The Tech Talent Charter works with more than 600 companies across the UK, many of whom offer opportunities, training and return-to-work schemes to attract more women into tech. 

As part of our recent Doing It Anyway campaign, we uncovered some incredible women who came to tech through unusual routes, with backgrounds including teachers, marketeers, pastry-chefs and stay-at-home mums. 

Opportunities are opening up for people with diverse backgrounds, particularly women, to encourage them to consider a tech career. 

The ‘squiggly’ career

One woman who made the leap was Clare Streets. She moved into tech after enrolling on a free government-funded course and is now director at TechTalent Academy.

“It’s easy to perceive the world of tech as one that you don’t understand or couldn’t be a part of unless you’re some kind of computer or maths genius,” Streets says. “However, the basic principles are very logical. Once you gain that understanding it’s easy to break down the jargon and understand that you can specialise in one area or easily access the learning to discover new areas of tech.”

Her advice to other women is to worry less about linear routes and embrace the “squiggly career” that allows you to explore different avenues of tech.

Never too late

Patience Ndlovu also had a “squiggly” career path. After spending 10 years in the Royal Navy, she started learning to code in 2018. However, she was told she couldn’t get into tech without experience or a relevant degree. 

“When I realised how passionate I was about tech, I knew that I was not going to let not having a Computer Science degree or experience stop me from applying,” she says.

“I found the right company that was willing to give me a chance because they saw my potential even without the degree or experience. They have supported me and given me the right opportunities to succeed. I am living proof that it is never too late to retrain if you are willing to learn, challenge yourself and take a risk to grow.”

Remember your worth

These are just two examples of the value of “squiggly” careers. Whatever your background, you are likely to have transferable skills for the world of tech. With many companies proactively connecting with women without tech backgrounds and creating alternative routes into tech, there’s never been a better time to take the leap.

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