In a world where we recognise the need for equality for all, we want to shine a spot light on women in the technology industry. Current statistics show that females aren’t considering technology careers as they aren’t given enough information on what working in the sector involves or, quite simply, no one is putting it forward as an option.
Sunday 8th of March is International Women’s Day which is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. With that in mind, we wanted to celebrate the incredible talent we have at CEWE. After all, with only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector held by women, celebrating women in tech is more important than ever!
Say Hello to Sally
Fuelled by coffee and a love of cute cats, Sally is the ‘Queen of Dev’ but is officially known as the Front End Web Developer here at CEWE.
We caught up with Sally about her journey into the tech industry and her experience working in technology.
Can you provide an overview of your job role?
I am a Front-End Web Developer. My job is to make sure the website is maintained, running well on all devices, error free and to keep it fresh. Technology updates fast (and you’re always going to be in a battle with Google!)
What does your day to day look like?
There are standard jobs that are carried out most days, such as checking error reports and page speed, but the bulk of my job is fixing issues that pop up. I also make sure that new products go live on site, create new pages and run through the job board to get things done.
How did you get into a career in technology?
It all started when I used Photoshop to scan and edit old photos that my gran had stored away as I wanted to create a photo book to give her for Christmas. I was then made redundant and I decided that it was the perfect time to retrain and do something I enjoy.
At that time, I didn’t have the qualifications to go to university, so I spent a year doing an Access to Higher Education Course – which had absolutely zero tech involved. At this point, it was like going back to school as I learnt Biology, Environmental Science and Sociology. At the same time, I was doing a Photoshop night course at a different college. Once I had completed my Access to Higher Education Course, I attended University of Gloucestershire and earned a degree in Multimedia Web Design! There were only four females in 100 students.
When I first started out and was attending interviews, I was told that I ‘don’t look like a web developer’ and that there aren’t many women developers out there, so there was interest surrounding meeting me. Luckily, I wasn’t upset by this!
Did you have to overcome any hurdles?
University was a great experience, but it wasn’t easy – especially when you’re on your own with two young children and working part time. Post uni, I had a degree and a website but no experience to be able to get into ‘the real world’.
When I was 30, I found an apprenticeship which allowed me to gain some experience. Then, I took a chance and applied for a part time teaching position at a college teaching Photoshop – which I was offered! My career took years to build. This role was followed by another position as a Graduate Web Designer.
I spent many hours watching tutorials, reading lots and trying to keep up-to-date on everything – just constantly learning! Most importantly, I was telling myself that I am good at my job and I am good enough.
What advice would you give to girls/women who are interested in a career in tech?
When I told my family that I was planning to go to university, my Gran told me I shouldn’t do it and that I needed to be a mother to my children. Four years later, she came to my graduation and said that was one of the best days ever.
My advice would be to do what makes you happy and something that you enjoy! If you want to get into tech and someone tries to talk you out of it, then respect their opinion… but do what you want to do anyway.
What do you enjoy about the industry?
Every developer I’ve been involved with is willing to pass on their knowledge. CEWE has multiple developers in different countries and every one of them will pass on their knowledge or send you things they think will help.
The moment you upload your very first code and get your website live is a brilliant feeling.
Creating websites is a challenge, often one where people don’t realise how much work will go into it, but it is a great challenge and I can happily sit a whole day writing code.
Thank you Sally!