women in computing, teacher, STEM featured

Why we need to encourage women in STEM

Bethan Gawthorne, Servitor Developer at Civica

Beginning my journey

women in computing, teacher, STEMI have always enjoyed computers. When I was at school, we had a few teachers who would open the computer room for us at lunchtime, so we were able to go in and practice using software. I used to spend as many lunch breaks as I could in there playing around with different programmes and developing my tech skills whilst having fun. I’ve had a number of jobs since leaving school, but it was my position at a customer helpdesk that prompted me to formalise my computing skills.

I kicked off my career by obtaining my European Computer Driver Licence (a basic PC course), before getting my degree at The Open University. From there, I secured a job at my local council providing technical support on a specific Civica provided system. After a few years learning the business landscape, I applied for a job at Civica to learn how to develop and manage software applications.

Developing personally and professionally

I would say my greatest professional achievement to date is building the GDPR solution within our Servitor Housing Repairs product. I was heavily involved in both the design and development of the module. The end result was a flexible module that gives the customer a holistic view of their data.

There has been challenges along the way, the biggest of which has been my self-doubt and insecurities. This is why I think it’s vital for women to encourage other women in the workplace. Every year Civica celebrates women in the workplace by marking International Women’s Day and highlighting some of the inspiring female leaders within the business. This helps give us visibility of all the women doing fantastic work in a setting that we can relate to, and with people we know.

I also got involved with the #oneofthemillion campaign run by WISE, which aims to raise awareness of women working in STEM to young girls looking to get into the same industries. I signed up to be a role model, sharing information about my role and the path I took to get there. I’m hoping this will empower young girls to feel confident to pursue a degree or career in STEM.

Diversity allows creativity to flourish

At Civica, we have hugely diverse tech teams which means we all think differently, bringing various ideas to the table. Being able to discuss these ideas with other people and combining them to build something new and unique motivates me. It’s important to enjoy the work you do: it’s complex and there will be days when you make limited progress, but if you enjoy it then no challenge will be impossible.

Women shouldn’t feel like the only way into tech is via traditional routes. I got my degree through The Open University by studying on evenings and weekends whilst working full time. Traditional learning institutions are not for everybody, so I encourage women to get creative, speak to those that inspire you and reach out in different ways – people are always more willing to help than you think.


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