Ascent Group Profile Image (800 × 600 px)

Talking returning to work, career advice & getting more women into the tech space with a tech recruiter

Ascent Group Profile Image

Ascent Group is home to six diverse recruitment brands that all specialise in their own field, whilst providing top talent to the tech industry.

Starting with TechNET IT in 2001, Ascent Group teams have been expanding ever since, with the sharpest, most knowledgeable specialist recruiters in the tech industry.

Ascent Group take pride in looking after their staff, and offer incredible flexible working initiatives, family-friendly policies and extensive training and development to the team.

In this article, we get an insight from Ascent Group and get their views on getting women and girls into the tech space, returning to work after having a baby; and advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet Emily, Head of Search & Senior Appointments at TechNET CxO.

Meet Emily, Head of Search & Senior Appointments, TechNET CxO

Emily is Head of Search & Senior Appointments at TechNET CxO – a home-grown Executive Search agency and sister brand within the Ascent Group. She built CxO from the ground up in 2019, after joining TechNET six years prior.

After starting out at TechNET, Emily decided that her passion lay with Senior Appointments, which is when she made the decision to head to London for a year to gain further experience in Executive Search.

Emily is now a Player Coach, managing a team of eight consultants, whilst still aiming to be top biller herself.

Emily, Ascent Group

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When thinking about my career plan, I didn’t think I would ever end up in tech recruitment. I originally wanted to be a teacher, and I suppose you could say there are aspects of teaching in my current role, but I decided to head in a different direction and began manifesting my big financial goals. This led me into choosing a more business-focused route.

I started my career working for my mum’s business. I gained direct experience of business growth, franchising, and the inner workings of running a business which really sparked my love for business growth.

I was looking for a career path that I could use the skills that co-running a business gave me, and tech recruitment looked like a good option. I, to this day, absolutely love helping and interacting with others, and have always aspired to work my way up to a senior position, and tech recruitment made this vision a reality for me.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced & overcome?

Having a baby was probably the most difficult, yet wonderful challenge I have faced so far.

Before I went on maternity leave, I was getting started on my management track, my team was building nicely, and revenue was very good. However, once I had taken a step back, I no longer had control of which direction my team was heading in.

This pushed me to return to work pretty quickly – after only three months in fact. In hindsight, my return was rushed, but I was keen to continue navigating my tech career and get back to my team. Whilst only working half days to fit around my little one, I immediately received a promotion and took on a larger team, which was a big transition process.

Balancing work and being a mum proved very tricky, and because I was working part time, I was giving my full self to my daughter or work – I have always been my toughest critic. When you become a mum, your priorities definitely change, and it is common that a woman’s career can become lost. It was crucial for me to have both – the family and the career.

Do you have any career tips?

My main career tip, specifically for women, is to quieten the voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something, or that it won’t happen for you. So many women in business feel that they’re not good enough – but when that voice is quiet, the possibilities are endless. I would be a completely different person if I had listened to that voice.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the tech industry?

It is important to remember that a lot of steps have been taken already, and we are seeing more and more businesswomen in the tech space – especially here at Ascent Group. The entirety of our senior management team are women, and we have seen so much internal growth across all six of our brands.

However, I think that encouraging girls at school and university to study STEM subjects should continue to be a priority.

I think it is essential to continue providing young women and girls with influential role models too, to lead the way for the future generation of women in tech!

Any tips on those returning to work after a career break?

From my experience, it is really important to have a support system in place that you’re comfortable with, when returning to work. Those around you, whether they are family or friends, need to be on board and understand how important work is for you – which in my case, it was.

Accepting your new way of living is going to help you get used to the new dynamic, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t feel right or doesn’t come together straight away. It can take time to develop a new routine or a new norm. Always remember that you’re allowed to have a career and be a mum – just because others may be doing things differently, doesn’t mean you should feel disheartened.

Finally, I advise that you set clear boundaries with your employers from the beginning. Your company need to understand that there may be times where you have to leave to fit around your child and working at Ascent Group has given me and many others in the business, childcare flexibility, and support to continue thriving.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I could go back, I would have taken my time when deciding on my career route out of school. I felt that I went to university for the wrong reasons and perhaps wouldn’t have rushed into it if there wasn’t so much pressure on young people to decide quickly. I feel like you should do what is right for you, not what society tells you to do.

Deazy's All Woman Product Team (800 × 600 px)

Talking careers, challenges & advice for women in STEM with Deazy's All-Woman Product Team

Deazy's All Woman Product Team

Developer marketplace Deazy connects enterprises, VC backed scale-ups and Europe’s biggest agencies with high-quality development teams, handpicked to provide broad technical expertise and greater capacity and flexibility.

In this article, we take a look into Deazy‘s all-woman product team and get their views on getting women and girls into STEM, how they support each other; and their advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet some of Deazy’s all-woman product team!

Meet Hayley Ransom, Head of Client Services

Hayley is Head of Client Services at Deazy, and has extensive tech and client services experience in her career. She joined Deazy from award-winning digital consultancy and app developer Mubaloo, where she came across Deazy when looking to outsource some of Mubaloo’s development work.

Hayley Ransome

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t and it still amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I love tech, but I’m not glued to my phone or social media and I love to step back from tech at the weekends. But I do 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.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Under-representation of women in tech is a challenge for those already in it. It impacts us in many ways, from unconscious biases in culture, working models and benefits of businesses, to the confidence women feel in their roles. I personally found navigating the bias around ‘female’ characteristics challenging. Being assertive was labelled as aggressive, taking the lead seen as bossy. It took experience, and exposure to some great people, to build the confidence to not let these biases hold me back from expressing my ideas and taking the lead.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I am really proud to work in a tech business with strong female representation – in my career it hasn’t been the case. I’m excited about the opportunity we have at Deazy to support women succeeding in tech and provide role models for women within this industry. Seeing is believing!

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

There needs to be more women in positions of leadership in STEM. 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 advice would you give to your younger self?

Be someone people can count on to always take ownership and get the job done. Don’t let confidence hold you back, say yes to new challenges before your brain kicks in and tells you it’s not possible, then be humble with what you don’t know and ask smart questions.

Meet Andrea Savidge, Senior Product Manager

Andrea is a Senior Product Manager at Deazy, ensuring ensure products provide as much user and business value as possible. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner with 7 years’ experience in product roles across a wide range of consumer web and mobile apps.

Andrea Savidge, Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, all the time! But the plan has changed so many times – I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable as the industry evolves so quickly. There are so many roles now that didn’t exist when I first got into product. Earlier on in my career I would jump at any opportunity to learn something new and broaden my skill set, which I think has been really valuable in working out where I actually want to focus and what I’m really good at. No knowledge is ever a waste!

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

I’ve seen a lot of women be much more critical of their own skills, myself included. Although this is by no means exclusive to the tech industry, there’s always the fear that starting a family will set you back years compared to male colleagues, who still take much less parental leave than women. I don’t think I’m often aware of barriers being gender specific and I’m very lucky that at Deazy I work with a lot of men who are my biggest cheerleaders, but I’m always super conscious of proving myself in any new group of people, especially when I’m the only woman in the room.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I feel so lucky to be working in a team where everyone is so talented and passionate about what they do. Everyone is so encouraging. Our shared experiences and challenges definitely help us empathise and support each other.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

The range of tech roles and the types of skills needed are not very well understood. I fell into this career path by chance and even though both my parents have Computer Science backgrounds, while I was in education, I had no idea that a product-type role even existed, never mind that it was so well suited to my personality and skillset. I think a lot more can be done to promote tech career paths to women – it’s a fascinating industry with so much scope to make an impact.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships and never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet Sharon Parkes, Product Manager

Sharon is Product Manager at Deazy, having previously worked as a Product Owner at Barclays Partner Finance. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner and is experienced in refining and prioritising the product backlog and working with the development team and stakeholders to shape the roadmap.

Sharon Parkes_Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. Before my first role in product I would usually move roles every six months whilst I struggled to find a career that engaged me. I returned from a career break travelling around South America and took the first job I could find within a call centre for a large bank thinking I would be there for six months as usual and ended up working my way up and staying there for nine years, the last three of which were in Product Management. If you asked me when I left University if this was what I would end up loving as my job, it wouldn’t have even been on my radar.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Within the industry and particularly in a previous role, I have often found myself being the only woman in the room. I had to prove myself and do it fast to ensure I was listened to and could keep my autonomy and decision-making influence within a project. Now I’m more experienced I can go into any room and feel comfortable leading and putting my views on the table from the start. However, it has taken me a long time and a lot of learning to get to a place where I feel like that.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I’m extremely proud of the team I work in and what we’ve achieved since we’ve been together at Deazy. Whenever someone has a problem, we will come together and skill share. There are no egos or dramas, and everyone is ready to make sure that we all do a good job. I’m especially proud when I see products we’ve helped shape together out in the marketplace or the continually celebrated success of our ever-growing Deazy Platform and the knowledge that these have all been created by an all-female team.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

I think we need to get away from this perception that working in tech is for people who are introverted and sit in dark rooms alone. There are a wide variety of careers and it’s the most collaborative industry that I’ve ever worked in. Ensuring job adverts have the right unbiased language within them and creating better shared parental leave policies would be a good start.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Think before you speak, but always be confident in your skills and decisions. Take the opportunities that come to you without hesitation.

Meet Ella-Jo Brewis Gange, Product Manager

Ella-Jo is Product Manager at Deazy, joining in October 2021 from Nuffield Health where she held the role of Digital Product Owner. She has worked extensively in the health and wellness industry, where she developed the change and stakeholder management skills that are so important to her role at Deazy.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I had high hopes that I’d just ‘get famous’ and that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the planning. I was in an operational role and found myself filling a gap in technical understanding for internal products. I was then asked if I would consider joining their new product team, I didn’t even know it was an option.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Tech is massive, ever-growing, ever improving and always impressive. You don’t really sit down and think about how websites and apps are built or the work that goes into them until it’s part of your job. I have to remind myself that it’s ok not to know everything, and that the best tech teams have multiple people all leading their part of the puzzle.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

Working with our team is brilliant, we have such a strong group of people who have all come from different roles and have different experiences. When there’s a problem it’s discussed together, and solutions are worked through. I trust my team to always be there to build me up as I would do for them. There are no egos to worry about, we all have the same goal and work towards that as one.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

Make it clear that women and girls can be part of something really big. Just imagine saying you were part of the team that built your favourite app! That can happen and it’s actually pretty fun too… most of the time.

Don’t be afraid of any pre-conceptions that tech is for men – it’s most definitely not. The phrase ‘women in tech’ doesn’t need to exist, I am not a good female product manager, I am a good product manager.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust yourself. Quite often I’ve found myself thinking ‘what about this?’ or ‘how should that work?’ but not having the confidence to say it out loud in a room of colleagues. I would always be worried about being judged as being stupid or difficult to work with.

Ask the questions, as often other people are thinking them too.

three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Being transparent & driving diversity in the cyber security industry 

three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Article provided by Kate Dadlani, Head of Security Advisory Services at Logicalis UKI

Cyber-attacks have increased since the start of the pandemic, making cybersecurity a priority for leaders across all industries.

IT Governance research discovered 1,243 security incidents in 2021, leading to an 11% increase compared to the previous year.

As Logicalis UKI’s Head of Security Advisory Services, I lead the development of cybersecurity services that support our customers in protecting themselves as much as possible against these attacks. Being a leader in tech, it is clear that a major issue in the cyber security space is that women represent only 11% of the cyber security workforce. This means one of the biggest problems facing the tech sector is that it simply isn’t utilising or appealing to half of the population. However, the shortage of tech talent is not a new problem. Over a decade ago, more than half of CEOs complained about the dearth of talent for digital roles. To make matters worse, a recent Korn Ferry study found that unless we get more high-tech workers by 2030, the security industry could miss out on over $160 billion in annual revenues.

Ultimately, the lack of diversity means less available talent to help keep up with mounting cyber threats, which has a knock-on effect on business continuity and profitability.

30 under 30: Becoming a leader in cybersecurity.

My fascination with computers started quite young. I remember when my mum bought me my first computer; I took it apart entirely just to put it back together like a jigsaw. Quite naturally, this interest led me to read forensic computing at De Montfort University. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university and achieved a First Class-Degree. My final year dissertation – which was about iPhone backup files as a source of evidence – was even published internationally in Digital Forensics Magazine.

Despite the resistance I’ve experienced from older men in positions of power, I’m in my thirties and I’m already the Head of Security Advisory Services at a large company. I’ve featured as a ‘Rising Star’ in Cyber World Magazine and placed on CRN’s Women in Channel A-List – both are very well-respected titles. I’ve even been selected as a House of Lords representative! I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved, especially considering I’m still relatively early in my career.

All of these things started a foundation for the rest of my career. I’ve worked in a variety of roles, from starting as a Cyber Intelligence Analyst at Lockheed Martin in the aerospace and defence sector to a consultancy role at Ernst & Young. Then three years ago I started at Logicalis UK as Security and Compliance Manager, intending to bring cybersecurity to the forefront of both the organisations and employees’ minds. In less than a year and a half, I was promoted to CISO and now I’m Head of Security Advisory Services.

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The biggest obstacle girls will face is being a woman in man’s world. 

Everyone in the tech industry, no matter their gender, needs to acknowledge and educate themselves on the difficulties women face in such a male-dominated profession. The people working in security are usually older and male. As a woman, there’s always going to be the difficulty of actually being heard. Stepping into the C-suite sphere means having to communicate and battle with already established executives who can be quite hard to persuade. I’ve experienced a lot of resistance and reluctance coming from the top. A lot of it has stemmed from me being a young and accomplished woman, telling them how operations need to change.

I’ve come to the understanding that men and women work quite differently. To create a diverse workforce, more women in the cybersecurity space will lead to a variety of ideas being bounced around. This abundance of different views can prove to be very beneficial to day-to-day business. By incorporating more women into the tech space, we’ll have more women in powerful positions helping to innovate company cultures.

Just do it! Accepting your lack of confidence and fear of failure.

One of the biggest issues is that society has caused men to often be more outspoken than women. I’ve found that women, myself included, tend to be quite circumspect and self-doubting in comparison.

My advice for women struggling with imposter syndrome is to be transparent with themselves and their colleagues. It’s so easy to hide behind a false layer of confidence, but it stops you from reaching your full potential. Recognising both your strengths and weaknesses allows you to realise not only where you can improve but also what you’re good at and how you can utilise those skills better.

Seeing as most tech positions are held by men, it can be discouraging for women with a great interest in the industry. I want to encourage women that it’s incredibly possible to get to a senior level in the IT world. I’m also very wary that this gender imbalance in tech needs to be addressed. One of the few ways to get the ball rolling is by sharing my experiences and supporting other women who find themselves being the only female in a meeting.

woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

A project manager’s advice for a career in tech 

woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

Article by  Mel Rees, Project Manager, JLL Technologies EMEA

Like many other people in the career they eventually choose, I fell into my own.

I work for JLL Technologies (JLLT), a division of JLL that helps organizations transform the way they acquire, manage, operate, and experience space. But I’m not a computer scientist, a software developer, or a data analyst. I’m a project manager.

Twelve years ago, I had just returned from maternity leave to my role as a marketing and events manager for a major drinks company. It was the first real career gap that I experienced, and I found it difficult to reconcile my new situation with the demands of the role. So, I left my marketing job and worked at a DIY retailer until I figured out my next step.

A new opportunity

One day, a friend called me and said there was an opening for a role as a contract coordinator in the company they worked for – Integral UK, a nationwide building engineering services firm. I knew nothing about engineering, but I was used to planning, managing and co-ordinating multiple activities, tasks and people to achieve the end goal required. That said, I understood that I was entering a traditionally male-dominated environment. As a woman and a non-technical admin in this space, I set out to learn as much as I could within an industry that was entirely new to me.

In my role, I looked after the critical infrastructure of a major bank. It was my job to ensure that the customer’s portfolio and flagship buildings had 100% uptime, which meant coordinating teams of engineers and scheduling works a year in advance as well as ensuring compliance for all qualifications, change requests and processes. I learned about critical power supplies, generators, and the kind of maintenance tasks Integral’s teams performed. I’d visit sites to see the infrastructure and equipment first-hand. This allowed me to speak to engineers confidently and gain their respect, mitigate risks and justify our decisions to the customer.

A second career gap

By this time, like so many other businesses in all sorts of sectors, building engineering was going through somewhat of a digital transformation. Historically, engineers did everything on paper, marking jobs as complete on spreadsheets and writing down meter readings. Ten years ago, some branches still used timecards for engineers to clock on and clock off. So, Integral formed Project Phoenix, a digitisation programme to move these systems and processes to the cloud, making engineers more productive, delivering a better service to the customer, and creating more revenue for the business.

Then, halfway through Project Phoenix, I was back on maternity leave and experiencing my second career gap. On top of everything, JLL had acquired the business while I was away. On my return, I struggled with confidence. With a new team, a new company, and a new corporate environment, where exactly did I fit into the bigger picture?

Luckily, I had an excellent management team supporting me through it all. Project Phoenix had an opening for a PMO and, with my line manager’s encouragement, I studied for a Project Management Association Qualification (APMQ). Twelve months later, I was finally a qualified Project Manager in my own right with the accreditation to prove it and the lead PMO for Project Phoenix.

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Find mentors 

During the digitisation programme, I was lucky enough to work closely with JLLT and went on to collaborate on numerous projects, including the rollout of a new digital on-demand service across 260 contracts, and the installation of IoT sensors and analytics tools in 1,000 sites for a major bank.

Through this work, I also found a mentor who has coached me for the past 18 months. Melanie Mack is the head of IWMS Solutions at JLLT. Her confidence in me and my experience with tech projects gave me the confidence to believe in myself and that I could transition my skills to a technology company – so, in March 2021, I made the switch and began a new role as project manager at JLLT EMEA.

Thanks to Covid-19, Melanie and I have only met in person once, but we feel like a close-knit team. It’s important to build your network. One initiative that has really helped me during the pandemic is virtual coffees every quarter. Our names get put into a hat and we’re matched with JLL employees all over the world for an informal chat, creating a real sense of community. It has also resulted in my joining the JLL global PM COE Committee (Project Management Centre of Excellence), discussing PM best practices and how we can support and standardise across the business.

Pay it forward

It’s no secret that STEM can be a challenging environment for women, whether they’re entering the sector or trying to progress in their career. Women make up just 19% of the student cohorts in STEM degree-level courses. There’s also a gender disparity when it comes to promotions.

I believe young women need positive role models. So, in my spare time, I help run a local Brownie pack. Through the guiding programme, we try to teach girls the skills they may need for their future as well as broadening their views on what they could aspire to be. Recently, we’ve even sent them on a few STEM-focused expeditions where they could look at satellites and learn about space.

Never stop asking questions

My advice to any women who worry about climbing the career path is to never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re uncertain or seek support from your managers and colleagues – it’s likely that they’ve experienced the same things you’re going through.

Find mentors you admire and learn as much as you can from them. Even more importantly, don’t forget where you came from and the people who supported you on your journey – maybe you can bring them along on your journey and help inspire others, too.

Finally, it’s important to remember that technology is a growing sector that requires all kinds of skills, experiences, and diversity of thought. You don’t have to be a developer or a coder to thrive in this space. You can be a marketing professional, an administrator, a project co-ordinator, or even a project manager – like me!

networking featured

Progressing your career through your network


By Juliet Eccleston,co-founder of talent crowdsourcing platform, AnyGood?

Despite the constant talk about equality, statistics show that women still remain vastly underrepresented in top roles across the business world.

Figures from 2017 showed that in the UK, female professionals held only 12 per cent of jobs paying £150,000 or more.  It’s clear that traditional routes to progression are preventing a lot of women from attaining their goals. However, by utilising the power of personal networks, I believe women can further their career and bypass the obstacles put in their way.  This is something I’ve learnt from my own experience in over 20 years as a programme director. When hiring professionals for the delivery of large scale projects, my experience of the traditional hiring process was predominantly negative. It was only until I actively turned to my network for hiring that I found my best employees. Secondly, and more recently, I have witnessed first-hand just how well it works by starting my own business which empowers people to capitalise from their own networks.

Power of networks

The power of networks is huge and constantly increasing. This can be demonstrated by the recent rise in the use of peer-to-peer recommendations, something that I would attribute to a lack of trust in traditional sources of information, and to the ease at which we can now all stay connected. In early 2018, the Harvard Business Review reported a survey in which fewer than half of participants said they could trust businesses, the media, and government and non-government organisations – including charities. On the other hand, 60 per cent of respondents agreed that you can believe ‘a person like yourself’. What this indicates is that people are far more likely to believe peer appraisals than those with a vested interest. For this reason, recommendations and reviews, such as those on TripAdvisor, and Glassdoor have become a critical way for individuals to decide whether to trust a business, and the star ratings on apps like Airbnb and Uber have become so crucial in individual’s decision making

The same holds true for people

Clearly people are putting more stock into the opinions of others in their networks than ever before. For this same reason, I believe women should take greater advantage of their wider personal networks and use them for career advancement. By calling on those who most intimately know your professional capabilities, this endorsement can help remove any potential bias, allowing you to be promoted or hired based on your own merit alone.

Greater opportunity

Perhaps more importantly, your network has the potential to open up greater opportunities than those you are actively pursuing yourself. In our own company research, we found an overwhelming 95 per cent of people stated that they would be more likely to apply for a role if it was recommended to them by a peer rather than a recruiter. Recommendations made in this way are not only more personal and engender the trust that is so important for women to be given the chance to progress their careers, but also encourage individuals to go for positions they may have deemed beyond their reach.

Why is networking so important

With the potential power of personal networks so easy to demonstrate, this makes actually creating those networks even more significant. The evidence showing the importance of networking is extensive, and certain studies claim that women who avoid this are actively damaging their careers. A study undertaken by the AVTAR Group revealed that women usually begin networking at the age of 42, while men start as early as 17. Another study from the University of Notre Dame shows that more than 75 per cent of women in high ranking positions have a female-dominated inner circle, or strong ties to a few women within their network who they are in frequent contact with. However, while I encourage traditional networking, there are many different approaches to it which are also suitable, even for those who don’t feel they are outgoing enough to do so. Actively reconnecting with your existing network wherever possible is incredibly powerful because you already have a relationship in place. This can be done in a number of ways, be it through picking up the phone, email, or even through social media. Other interesting approaches are ‘career drafting’, asking someone you admire if you can help with any overflow they have. Finding a professional one or two steps ahead in your industry and letting them know you’re prepared to do this is an extremely powerful method of creating connections that could later help you advance your career.

Nothing holding you back

Unfortunately, the barriers to women progressing their career are numerous. There is much evidence to show that men are judged to a more lenient standard than women, and that gender stereotypes and unconscious bias play large roles in hiring decisions.  Furthermore, one McKinsey study found that women tend to undervalue their contributions at work, with 70% of female respondents rating their performance as equivalent to their co-workers, while 70 per cent of men rated themselves higher than their co-workers. This makes tapping into the power of networks even more important, as many women will have highly vocal advocates capable of championing them in a way they may not do themselves. I am firmly of the belief that barriers can be overcome through actively networking, and that despite the challenges, women have more opportunities to network than ever. By building your own strategic network of professional peers and using this network to your advantage, the sky is the limit.

man and woman discussing tech, women in tech, computers, code

Why now is the perfect time to upskill in tech

man and woman discussing tech, women in tech, computers, code

Ahead of a new fully-remote web development course starting on June 22nd, Anna Stepanoff, CEO & Founder of Wild Code School, the technology educator nurturing today’s digital talent, discusses why now is the perfect time to further career prospects in the tech industry.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is causing considerable challenges for us all, impacting all industries and sectors.

Vocational training organisations have certainly been challenged, although some providers, including Wild Code School, have been able to migrate activities online to ensure educational continuity for students. As a technology bootcamp, we are well placed to do this, with the technological know-how and proven remote learning methodologies already in place. And with 90 per cent of our students now working in the tech ecosystem, we know that our courses are aligned to the needs of businesses.

With the pandemic resulting in more time at home, and the tech industry offering flexible and varied career opportunities, could now be the perfect time to take advantage of the fully remote courses that are available and develop those sought-after digital skills?

Everything in place

Until recently, a reliable connection to a broadband network was still a major obstacle to online training’s accessibility, especially when it came to live remote training. However, access to a fibre network from almost everywhere in the Western world has been a game changer, enabling connectivity and access to learning tools such as interactive webinars for consumers and participants across the world.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have been fully established and accessible since 2012. On these online learning platforms, resources are freely accessible to students who can choose the pace of learning that is best suited to them and their personal preferences. MOOC are particularly well suited to autonomous individuals who are looking to upskill or acquire new skills to develop their careers.

In recent years, the tools and technology available have grown rapidly and been introduced to ensure an even higher quality of online courses. Video conferencing platforms, online chat and communication tools, as well as document sharing capabilities have helped accelerate the possibility of indirect interactions and made it possible for instructors or course tutors and lecturers to remotely interact with a community of students. Although online courses have been around for many years, they provide a shining example of efficient, practical and effective remote working.

Remote working expertise

As the majority of us have discovered during this period of worldwide lockdown, working from home requires a new set of skills. It is making us rethink our working habits and adapt to new tools and practices, forcing us to be more than flexible and agile than ever before. And with the future looking to be more reliant on remote working, learning in a remote environment is helping our students with both the digital and soft skills that will support future remote working.

Adaptability, proactivity, and communication, for example, are not only essential skills for the tech industry, but also for discovering opportunities in challenging situations. Online learning also allows individuals to develop autonomy, rigour and the ability to organise yourself more efficiently.

But these skills are not unique to the tech industry, and in fact people from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds are well equipped and suited to the training.

Helping career changers

Our first fully remote course began in April, and we’ve been canvassing the opinions of our first fully remote students to find out how it’s working for them and why now was the right time to learn new skills and make the change.

One of our current web development students, Leonore Ghisalberti, previously worked in design and product management for a fashion brand and is now working to building her own creative design agency. She realised her new world required further digital skills to complement her design credentials and told us:

“The main draw for me was that I needed to further my skills in order to progress my business. Front-end development especially, which this course focuses on, has many synergies with my design background. It is very visual and creative, and enables you to build something, and see it come to life with your chosen design.”

Another student, Gladys Pascual is a Chemical Engineer, qualified with a PhD and working in a Dublin-based startup. It’s a career she enjoys and finds fulfilling, but she has seen the flexibility that a career in tech can offer, as well as the opportunities in Dublin and abroad:

“Technology is a big industry here in Dublin, and indeed all across the world and I was keen to see what doors I could open through training that will allow me to consider a shift in career. While I have still been working full time, lockdown meant that all my travelling plans were cancelled and I’m not able to do any of the sports I’m used to – I’ve therefore got more time on hands and so it has posed a good opportunity to upskill and do something I’m interested in.

“Like anything new, at first I was a little overwhelmed – especially with a demanding full-time job. It is quite advanced, which is a good thing in terms of its long-term use and after just a few weeks I have had the time to focus and absorb what I’m learning.

“The multi-national nature of the course is also really cool; the class is made up of students from all across Europe and it means we get to work with people from different places and with varied backgrounds. This sort of environment is common in the tech world, so it’s useful to get a taste here.”

We’re looking forward to welcoming our next set of students onto the June course and excited to see both men and women embrace technology and realise its career opportunities.

About the author:

Anna StepanoffAnna Stepanoff is the CEO & Founder of Wild Code School, the technology educator nurturing today’s digital talent.

Founded in 2014, Wild Code School has more than 20 campuses across Europe. It has trained more than 2,000 students, with 90 per cent of graduates now working within the Tech Ecosystem. The School offers part-time front-end, or full-time full-stack web development courses that take place over a five-month period. Both courses will get the student to where they want to be, with the full-time course offering a more immersive environment that gets them there quicker. The school was founded by mother of three Anna Stepanoff, and is now the fifth largest school in Paris.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.




Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

Career advice for women wanting to work in the chemistry sector

Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

By Heleen Goorissen, Director of Innovation & Technology, Avantium

The chemistry industry often has a perception of being very industrial and even boring, or people working in this sector need to be very science-oriented to have a successful career.

These reasons often deter people, and women, in particular, from wanting to pursue a career in this area. What most people don’t realise is that working in chemistry involves a lot of creativity and can help make a broader difference in society.

Unleash your creative side

Science in general has the reputation to be dull and abstract.  But without creativity or diversity of thought, we wouldn’t see the incredible innovations in the world today. For those people who are looking to recruit new employees and the next generation of scientists, my advice is to expand your search pool and look for candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds. By including others that have a different perspective, it can lead to better ideas, innovations, and ways of working. Diversity is key! For those who are looking to get inspired for a career in chemistry, don’t be afraid to be creative. Surround yourself with different types of inspiration, like going to an art event, visit museums, or attend a concert – it’ll help fuel your ideas and your thinking.

Don’t be afraid to take risks

As difficult as this may seem, I don’t believe in planning for the next 10 years. Reality will often be completely different. Also, planning so far in advance may close your mind to opportunities that may end up accelerating your career path. Follow your intuition and experience everything for yourself – you don’t want to look back and regret anything.

Additionally, inform yourself as much as you can while embarking on your career journey. Whether that is attending open days, networking events, or setting yourself up with a mentor, surrounding yourself with a robust support network can help provide guidance, especially when you come across any challenges. I owe a lot of my success to people who believed in me and gave me challenges even when I thought I wasn’t ready for them. This is why it is important to give people chances to challenge themselves and excel, as well as giving them the support they need to thrive.


If you ever feel stuck or unsure of what your next path is, look to find a coach to help identify your strengths and where you can look to grow. Also, please be kind and honest with yourself by setting your priorities. By figuring out what is truly important, whether professionally or personally, you can achieve your goals and feel fulfilled.

There will be many instances where you’ll be at a crossroads between your career and personal life, such as if you’d like to start a family. From personal experience and seeing other women go through this, the transition to work after maternity leave can be a struggle. Therefore, you need to be proactive in asking your company to support you in finding the right balance and make family life and your career path work for you.  This requires also flexibility form a company.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here

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Nominations are now open

The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way. Nominations are now open until 10 September 2021.



Tips for a successful job interview

job interview

So you’ve secured a job aligning with your professional and personal skills, but you’re not sure how to actively prepare?

We’ve collated effective tips to display further confidence and aiding in a successful job interview.

How to prepare for a job interview

First impressions count

As the old saying goes, first impressions always count. An appropriate outfit should be considered dependent upon the particular sector the job role is in. It’s as inappropriate to turn up in complete formal attire for a creative startup role as it is to wear your dress-downs to a corporate office job interview. Go onto the website of the employer and check their recruitment photos and videos to get an idea of the attire and match it. If you immediately look like you fit in due to your clothing, you’ve ticked one box straight away.

If you’d like to wear makeup, it’s advised to wear lighter daytime makeup. By applying more neutral colours on your eyes and lips this will not distract away from anything you have to say. At the interview, it’s crucial to feel the best and put forward the most confident version of yourself. Act on whatever you feel would be appropriate for the particular role, and staying authentic.

Ensure to bring any documentation with you

If in your invite, it states to bring with you certain documents such as; passport or driver's license, have copies ready, as well as the original in-hand. This will display effective organisation skills and attention to detail upon reading briefs. Be sure to have these neatly organised within a folder, and not loose and stuffed within a large handbag.

If you are being recruited for a more creative or technical role, it could be a good idea to bring along a portfolio of your work. If you’re going to a front-end web developer interview for example, having a GitHub account to show your employer throughout the interview could be a way to really stand out from the crowd, and a chance to talk through previous projects.

Remember to relax

Most people find being interviewed a stressful and anxious experience. Whether you’re feeling nervous during the night, 15 minutes before, or actually in the interview, it is vital to relax. Relaxing can help your true persona to shine through, and your ability to answer interview questions and match your accomplishments will be more effective. Practising relaxation techniques, such as listening to calming music, deep breaths to the count of 10, and focusing on your posture, can all help to increase your confidence levels going into an interview. For a unique tip, before the interview look into a mirror and make yourself as big as possible in an almost bear-like pose. It’s proven to trick your brain into giving you a quick confidence boost. Just ensure to check the bathroom or lift is free before trying this method.

Show enthusiasm

During an interview, the employee hiring would be much more inclined to take a liking to an individual who is actually interested in the business itself. To show that you’re being observant, complement something about the organisation itself, or even the office, as this can be regarded as a huge bonus. This can also set an initial positive tone upon entering the interviewing room. Another way to display your enthusiasm is through your body language throughout the interview. Confidently keep your chest open, with shoulders slightly down and sit slightly forward to show your active engagement in the two-way conversation.

Ready with questions

As the interview draws to an end, it is more than likely that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the company, job role, pay, or anything else not covered during the interview. Even if you personally do not need to know the specific answer, this again will show enthusiasm and present your willingness to learn more about the role. Questions could include the following;

  • What is the company culture and the vision?
  • What is the long-term vision for the company?
  • What does the typical work-week look like for a personal in this position?
  • What are the next stages in this interview process?
  • How does teamwork and collaboration work within this team?

After the Interview

As well as first impressions, last impressions also have a longstanding impact. Upon closing the interview be sure to firmly shake the interviewer’s hand, and thank them for their time. Soon after, or the evening of the interview, be sure to follow the interviewer up with an email again. This can again thank them for the opportunity, state how you’d be a great fit for the role and how you’ll look forward to hear from them soon.

Each aspect of this job interview help guide can aid in presenting the ‘true you’ to a potential employers. However, you secured this interview because the organisation is intrigued in finding out more you as a person, and how you would fit into the company. Be confident, on time and polite and the interview will go as well as it can do.

About the author

James Calder is chief executive of Distinct Recruitment, a recruitment agency based in Nottingham, UK, focusing on hiring across the following sectors; finance, human resources, procurement, supply chain, marketing, office support, and web technologies. James founded Distinct in 2014 and the business has now grown to almost 30 employees.

Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

Success in STEM and overcoming hurdles – from one woman to another

Article provided by Amy Nelson, Chair of the TCG PC Client Work Group

It is no great secret that women are disproportionately underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, under one third of the world’s researchers are female, and even women that do work in STEM careers are published less frequently and receive less pay than their male counterparts.

But it is vital that we have women working in these fields. The United Nations recognise that science and gender equality are of the utmost importance for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, yet girls are continuously excluded from participating. What’s more, a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that companies that make an effort to diversify their management teams see more innovative products and services, and higher revenue as a result.

The large number of males in STEM careers is something I have witnessed first-hand throughout my career in cybersecurity. This being said, my experiences at Dell and Trusted Computing Group (TCG) have revealed that women are consistently breaking barriers in the technology industry, and gaining well-deserved recognition for doing so! But obviously, there are still hurdles for us to overcome.

The importance of diversity in cybersecurity

 If the last year has shown us anything, it is the importance of the internet for staying connected and allowing us to function through the strangest of times. However, the more we rely on technology, the greater the threat is for interference and attacks, and the more devastating their potential. That is why the importance of cybersecurity is more prevalent than ever, and why diversity lead innovation is vital to the industry right now.

With over 25 years of experience in the field, I have come to understand the layout of the technology landscape well. After undertaking a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University, I landed a job as a Component Engineer at Dell, where I have worked my way up through the company ever since. I am also the inventor or co-inventor of eight patents. I represent Dell within TCG, where I hold several positions including Chair of the TCG’s Technical Committee, and participate in a number of work groups, driving forward cybersecurity within the PC industry.

Alongside my technical contributions across the cybersecurity landscape, I am passionate about promoting technical careers as viable paths for young women. Alongside mentoring women in STEM programmes and technical roles within Dell, I have participated in Dell recruiting events at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference, making invaluable connections with the next generation of empowering females in our industry.

How I overcame the hurdles

One of the first questions I was asked by a new mentee related to the corporate culture - what the environment is like, whether people are collaborative or confrontational, whether there will be diversity of opinions? In short, the corporate culture is a difficult place to navigate as a woman.

Women who end up in engineering are talented and can do the work, but sometimes the biggest hurdle is how they progress and influence their career while remaining true to their core personality. There is a certain set of behaviours that are encouraged that women don't typically find a natural fit for, which means we have to work a little harder to earn our space in an arena dominated by men.

I had to find the space to be heard using my soft skills as well as technical knowledge to find that space. In a corporate environment, attributes like creative thinking, resolving conflicts and communication are fundamental, and arguably equal in importance to your specialised skills. Advancement gets progressively more difficult as candidates for promotion are identified by the outcome of self-promotion and open conversations about career goals. In my personal experience and from insights gained from mentoring other women seeking to advance, women engineers have the skills, experience and talent needed but feel uncomfortable with self-promotion and career advancement networking.

TCG provided me with an avenue to learn and develop. To be successful in TCG requires communication skills, being able to verbalize an idea succinctly and coherently is important. I have found other useful skills to be negotiation, networking skills and being able to advocate and sell your proposals. It offered me the ability to observe various communication styles, assess what was effective and what was not, and the opportunity to develop leadership skills by volunteering to co-chair work groups or edit specifications.  Participating in a standards organization has served me well in my career because this type of participation is prized by managers when looking at candidates for advancement.

My advice for women in STEM

 Some of my biggest struggles and experiences have helped me mentor and support other

women in STEM careers. Figuring it out as I went along has allowed me to recognise specific pieces of advice that I can give to young women starting out in this tough industry.

My main piece of advice would be to rely on those women around you; it is important to support each other and find allies when we’re the minority gender in the field. Seek out diverse mentors; there is a lot to learn from others’ experiences, struggles and victories, whether they’re similar or starkly different from your own.

Be confident in your career aspirations, and don’t be afraid to vocalise these. Talking to others about where you hope to be, and what you hope to achieve will open doors for you, as they will make you aware of opportunities to get there and achieve those goals. After all, those in STEM careers are working towards new ways to innovate and advance, every day.

Focus on the skills that each job will offer you to advance in your career. Don’t just consider whether you will like the position but view it in terms of where it will take you. The perfect position doesn’t exist, but each job will provide you with a specific skill set that will aid you in advancing your career.

Lastly, make yourself known to management and others in the organisation. Of course face-to-face meetings have proved difficult over the course of the last year, and while technology has offered us so much, connecting in person will always remain unparalleled. Help quieter voices be heard and get things on the table in a way that people are comfortable with, rather than allowing dominating voices to flood discussions. That’s how diversity, not just in terms of gender, race and age, but in terms of opinions, will lead to meaningful advances and innovation.

Amy NelsonAbout the author

Over the last 25 years, Amy Nelson has built up an extensive repertoire within the IT and cybersecurity space. She represents Dell within the Trusted Computing Group, where Amy holds several positions, including chair of the PC Client Work Group and TCG’s Technical Committee. Alongside her technical experience and contributions, Amy is keen to promote technology as a career for women and has served as a mentor to young women in STEM.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

woman in tech working on a laptop, online

Career advice for women looking to get into finance/fintech

Article by Rossana Thomas, Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Payments Platform, Fiserv

woman in tech working on a laptop, onlineIt is an exciting time to be in the financial technology space. Now more than ever, we are witnessing a distinctive move towards a digital society, and it’s my job to help financial institutions and their customers find and establish their unique space.

The financial technology world can seem a very male dominated environment in which to work. However, we’re seeing many more women work their way up in organisations, being active members of senior management teams and sitting on various boards across the industry. With a push for diversity at all angles, and a flurry of new and exciting technologies, now is the perfect time to join this industry.

Below, are some top tips from what I have learnt over my thirty-year career, and hopefully it helps and inspires other women to be part of the dynamic financial services industry.

Step outside of your comfort zone

To me, the biggest piece of advice I can share is, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.  That is often where the opportunity is. When looking for job opportunities, do your own investigation and research. Look for internships. Find people in this space and don’t be afraid to ask for advice (LinkedIn is your friend). You don’t always need to look for jobs related to your degree. I graduated with a liberal arts degree in psychology and I found my calling in the financial services industry. Look for jobs and opportunities that pique your interest. It’s good to remember that you may be in this career for a while, so make sure it is something you are passionate about.

Transferrable skills set you apart

Even if you are an expert in technology, you should also develop the skills needed for other business functions. For example, you may be a coder by profession with a strategic and team management role, which will require on the job learning. If you want your career to grow, become an expert in your discipline and then learn transferable skills. Skills such as leadership, business acumen and presentation abilities are as important as your core skills and will help your movement within verticals and industries.

Find a mentor

Internships and mentoring are a huge part of this industry. There are several programmes set up to help support women. Make sure you’re continually cultivating genuine relationships and build a solid network of people and good mentors across disciplines to support and guide you. These will ultimately help you succeed. For me, a good mentor is critical for career progression and success.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here