Rebecca SawRebecca is looking to create never-before-seen interactive story-telling that will mix linear television and gaming to provide viewers with a dynamic blended reality. 

She recently worked on Traitor, a VR-live theatre thriller that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m a freelance developer – I code Virtual Reality experiences as well as Android and iOS apps.

With the Sky Women in Tech Scholarship I’m creating a proof of concept for a piece of Interactive Television. I’m using emerging technology to create a new form of storytelling, that encourages rewatchability, increases engagement and sparks discussion after viewing.

Without revealing too much, it’s a piece that the viewer watches on their TV, interacting with their remote control. It’s not ‘Choose A or B’, instead it’s something which is designed to feel a lot more natural to the traditional TV viewing experience.

 How did you feel when you were chosen for Sky’s Women in Tech Scholarship?

Completely over the moon! I couldn’t quite believe it for a little while, I had to keep checking my phone to double check I hadn’t imagined the phone call.

What has happened since you won the scholarship? How has the initiative helped?

I’m a much more confident person than I was a year ago. One of my friends remarked recently that she could hear a change in the way I spoke about my projects and myself.

The Scholarship includes mentoring and training, both of which have been invaluable. I’ve got some great advice on presenting technical concepts with clarity, as well as project management training and public speaking opportunities.

How do you think initiatives like Sky’s Women in Tech Scholarship helps open doors for women and ensure greater diversity in tech?

It’s a great opportunity to specifically show women they belong in the tech space. I’ve been really privileged to speak to women from all different backgrounds about their goals and dreams. It’s really special to have people tell you that they have been inspired by the tech scholars to continue chasing their passions.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in Technology?

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know it all – often in tech circles there’s pressure to seem like you can do everything, but that’s really not necessary.

Have you faced any personal battles? How did you overcome them?

I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome. One of my first jobs after uni was in an office where everyone was male and older than me. It felt like what I was working on was easy compared to what they were doing. I found the best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to talk about it – those negative thoughts lose a lot of their power when you take them out of your brain, and can see them for what they are.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

There’s loads of companies that do this really well. Mentorships schemes where younger women can learn from people of all genders in senior roles can be incredibly valuable. Encouraging creativity and development opportunities is also great for everyone.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Media representation of the tech industry tends to be skewed very young, white and male. I’d love to see more TV shows or other media showing a more diverse range of people represented.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Code First: Girls do great work in increasing the number of women in tech. They offer free coding lessons for women and non-binary people at Universities across the UK. If you’re already in tech, they have a range of volunteering roles which is a great way to support other women and build a network of contacts.