Hayley RansomeI started my career in 2010, having graduated in Psychology. I did some casual work to get the money to travel and, on my return, joined a software company and began my technology journey.

I was initially in a customer care-type role, but it was a business with problems to solve, and if you were the kind of person to jump in, then there were lots of opportunities. I quickly moved to an assistant project manager role and progressed through a number of delivery roles. My  years here were very varied and allowed me to be hands-on with the tech, as well as manage people, interact with clients and figure out the fundamentals of business.

I then began work at a digital agency, which was more commercially focused, and it was there that I first met Andy Peddar, who is the CEO of my current company Deazy. I was looking for ways to deliver more efficiently for our clients and business and looked to outsource some of our development work via Deazy. Because I’d seen first-hand how the model works and the impact that it can have on a business in terms of trying to manage your cost base versus your client demands, joining was a no-brainer for me, when the opportunity arose.

I’m now Head of Client Services at Deazy, and there’s four of us in the client services team. Deazy is a curated marketplace of development talent, a platform to intelligently connect enterprises and agencies with development teams. We’re growing fast, the work is great, and I love it.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not much! It sometimes amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I do love technology, but in my personal life I’m not someone that’s glued to their phone, and I like to step away from it on the weekends. But I like seeing technology make people’s lives better, which is what drew me in and it is hard to get bored when there is always so much to learn. I did make a conscious plan to move into a more commercial role a few years ago. I always was the person from the delivery team that would put my hand up to support new business, and I’m definitely enjoying the challenges and rewards that a commercial role brings.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

At the start of my career, without a doubt. I was often the only woman in the room. I was in my early 20s working with people, who were not used to having a young female in charge of a project and I felt I had to prove myself fast! That could be challenging and isolating at times. But when you are younger, you tend to be a bit more fearless, so at the time it didn’t seem as daunting as it does looking back.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do at Deazy, although I should stress that it is very much a team effort. When I started at Deazy in September 2020, there wasn’t a Client Services team. I’ve built that to a team of four, alongside a great portfolio of clients. We are constantly growing and delivering on all our targets, as a team and as a business. I think Deazy is the perfect business for me at this point in my career, providing me the chance to pull everything that I’ve learned in my career into one place. I’ve been given the autonomy to do that, and that’s something for which I’m very grateful.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Can I say two!? First of all, I’m tenacious and don’t give up easily, learning fast and taking feedback to improve and keep going.  Then there’s the people element. I’d consider myself empathetic, which has really helped me build relationships. Whether it’s your boss, colleagues or clients, knowing how to communicate effectively is vital.

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

Seek out opportunities for yourself. There is never a shortage of problems that need solving and stepping up is a great way to demonstrate your skills and also to learn and collaborate across a business.

Do you believe there are still barriers to success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There are definitely still barriers, but I believe there is a drive for change. When I started 10 years ago, I was often the only woman in the room. Whereas now that’s not the case at all, and sometimes can even be closer to 50/50. But I still think women have to work that bit harder to be recognised and progress in their careers. I’m uncomfortable pushing for promotions and feel like I have to have every single box ticked before I even think about it, which can create a barrier to progression. I’m lucky to have worked for some great people who have recognized this and helped propel me forward and to now have a boss like Andy, who understands and ensures that it’s fair and equal.

The shift towards better paternity options is important too. Maternity leave is good, but tech is so fast-paced that having a year away can leave new mums feeling left behind by their peers and the latest developments. I look forward to seeing more and more companies adopting policies that help provide everyone the space for a family and a successful career.

I do not think tech businesses are actively trying not to hire women, I believe it is actually the opposite, but there is still a much smaller volume of female applicants for roles in tech. One thing that might help is reducing the detail on a job advert. With a detailed job spec, you risk getting less female applicants as they won’t apply if they don’t believe they meet all the criteria. Instead focus on core behaviours that will drive success and assess capabilities throughout the process.

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

Recognising the bias and actively reducing those barriers that help get more women into tech roles is hugely positive. Then it is down to the company to provide a culture that allows people to shine and rewards on merit. We are fortunate at Deazy as Andy is a big advocate of that, and there’s a lot of female representation in the business.

It’s a challenging thing to navigate, though. I’m also a very firm believer in wanting the best person for the job. I don’t ever want not to hire someone because they are white and male if they are the best fit. It’s a complex situation and one we all need to be mindful of.

There are currently only 17 per cent 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?

A magic wand would be used to accelerate the progress of women to leadership positions in tech and the wider business world. The number of women in CEO roles is still pitiful. Is that because women are fundamentally unsuited to such roles? Of course not, it’s about them having to overcome years of systemic prejudice.  With more women leading, not only would the pace of change to support women progressing in tech increase, but the number of women entering the industry would naturally rise, in line with the increase in visibility of women leading.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’ve never been a fan of networking events – they just don’t work for me. I prefer connections to be made more organically, and networking events seem so forced and unnatural.  But I love podcasts and have recently been enjoying Dare to Lead – Brene Brown and the Natwest Business Podcasts

I also love business strategy books. A lot of the content can seem obvious, but they can give you useful strategies, tools and processes that help give you confidence to try new things when you’re feeling out of your comfort zone.