Article by Alexandra Morris, MD of national proptech firm, MakeUrMove 

woman coding on laptop, Code First GirlsAs managing director of national proptech firm, MakeUrMove, my biggest achievement in the tech world has been building a platform that delivered on its intention. 

I don’t come from a tech or business background, but I’ve always had a business and enterprise-focused mind. I grew up in a family business where my Mum was a serial entrepreneur and couldn’t turn down any opportunity. After school, I went into banking and then moved into conveyancing, before eventually joining a friend of mine on the journey to change the property sector using technology.

My journey in tech 

I started out as the first employee of MakeUrMove in 2008 as a customer service advisor. I then progressed to operations director and then managing director in June 2017. When I first started in the property industry, I spent most of my time astonished at the inefficiency of the services in the industry. There seemed to be an overwhelming amount of outdated and slow software which was clunky and built for the agent and didn’t have any thought or consideration for the end-users.

As managing director, it became my mission to improve the way we do things using technology without compromising on quality customer service. Ultimately, the core of my work is taking repetitive tasks and automating the service of building algorithms to enhance customer service. It took years for me to appreciate that I was in the world of ‘tech’, but the transition came naturally as I have a natural affinity to make processes easier for everyone.

With no prior knowledge or training in technology, I set my mind on understanding software and web development which has led us to where we are today – building award-winning solutions and delivering outstanding service for our customers.

One of the main challenges I faced getting into the industry was the ability to be taken seriously as a young woman in two industries (tech and property) which are both lacking in female leadership. I had to find ways to ensure my voice was heard on the board and within the market – it was tough and at times degrading but I know my worth and persevered to ensure my voice became heard.

Women in the tech industry 

There have been some changes over the last few years which indicate the tech industry is shifting from being male-dominated. There are more female founders and investors, and the knock-on effect is more women handling recruitment too. There are also plenty of female role models, who have carved out their own paths and are encouraging others to follow suit. It has never been about excluding women, but more about repositioning the way tech is seen and encouraging it as a career choice.

However, there are still barriers that women face when getting into tech. I think it starts with school. A framework needs to be created that ensures both girls and boys can learn and explore this career type, which would help create a smoother transition from GCSE, college and university into the workplace. Girls need to believe that tech is a good choice, fun, challenging, interesting, and last but not least, has endless opportunities for ongoing development.

How to get more women into tech 

Over the next few years, I hope to see a greater focus on attracting more women into the tech industry. The changes in education are a really important factor. Teaching has to be based on real-life career opportunities and application of the skills to the workplace. I’d like to see talks in schools delivered by women working in tech, or businesses centered on tech, to promote the whole range of careers available. Similarly, promoting these opportunities to working mothers and championing flexible roles in the industry.

Alongside this is a focus on reshaping the overall image of tech. Let’s showcase the variety of tech employees or leaders in the industry instead of the ‘dark room with headphones on for hours at a time’ misconception.

I’m dedicated to helping women who want to get into the world of business and tech through mentoring and working with an amazing network of super talented women promoting programmes focused on developing careers in tech for women.

In the last 12 months alone, I have worked with three different female founders at the startup stage, with my focus on communication and encouragement. I guide them through the pitfalls of pitching and encourage them to find the positive in constructive feedback, and not to dwell on feedback which can sometimes be disheartening. One of these founders had previously been told that they needed a male co-founder to be successful… you can guess my response to that!

I also work with students who are exploring entrepreneurial paths as part of their university courses and have helped with the Barclays Young Entrepreneur awards. There tends to be a significant drop-out between university and entering the tech industry, so my focus is on demonstrating to students that tech offers a rewarding career.

My advice for women looking to get into tech 

My advice for women who are looking to get into tech is to work out what interests you. In our digital world, tech is everywhere and spills over into pretty much every business or career. From building and managing IT systems, to software development, database management, project management, testing, design, chatbot and digital marketing.

There are also plenty of free online courses with the Open University, Future Learn or other universities that can help, but you don’t need to have a university degree or 10 year’s experience to be a part of the tech industry. All you need is an interest, focus and determination.

And when it comes to dealing with instances of inequality in the industry, don’t be put off. You have to believe you can do anything.

About the author

Alex MorrisAlexandra Morris is the managing director of national proptech firm, MakeUrMove.

Launched in 2008 as the UK’s first national online letting agency, MakeUrMove has worked with over 26,000 landlords and has dealt with more than 250,000 tenants. This award-winning and industry-defining Proptech firm provides a lettings platform and agency services for UK-based landlords, whilst helping tenants find good homes.


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