Women in tech: Having the confidence that you are the best person for the job

I’ve been working in tech companies for over 16 years now, and I’ve been fortunate to have been surrounded by other likeminded women in marketing.

Being a female marketer in this particular space is fairly normalised and I’m proud to have experienced many global growth journeys before joining the Summize team.

That being said, as a female marketeer in tech I sometimes feel as if I often have to wear two hats. On the one hand, I’m pleased women are coming through into marketing and comms roles. It’s not uncommon to see female marketing leaders in UK tech companies in similar positions, so I feel we’re relatively well placed as a function to play a part in the success of businesses in a saturated, male-dominated industry. On the other, although I feel empowered in my role and department, why is the tech industry still so imbalanced? We should all be questioning why women are filling the more ‘gendered’ roles in tech, like marketing or HR, and not some of the other roles such as engineering or sales.

I am part of a marketing team which is 75% female, and we are driving forward huge growth in the tech space, which I’m proud of, but I remind myself daily that the gender gap in tech is still huge. It’s the age-old binary, that more creative industries and perceived ‘softer functions’ of a business are for women, and the technical roles are for the men…

It’s a vicious cycle. Younger women starting out in their careers perceive that the tech industry is male dominated and are therefore not always likely to apply for that very reason. In particular, I have seen first-hand the difficulties of striking a gender balance in development and sales roles within the tech industry. That is where the cycle begins, because younger women are deterred from starting careers in tech, it’s no surprise that senior leadership teams are then often overwhelmingly made up of men. We need to break that chain by empowering more younger women to be bold, brave and take that step no matter what the stereotypes say.

A crucial piece of advice I’d give to any woman in tech, whether that’s somebody starting out in a junior position or maybe someone making a career change, is having the self confidence that you are the best person for that job. Don’t let the insecurity of being a woman in the industry affect your self-perception, and start from a place of positive intent with the employer rather than assuming there may be a natural bias. Imposter syndrome is a huge issue amongst women in tech and I’ve encountered it throughout my career.

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The reality is though, a self-fulfilling prophecy can only go so far when we don’t have leaders who really take the gender gap seriously. It is crucial for any senior leader to really question what their own thoughts are on the matter, and what they can do to better support the women in their organisation, without feeling awkward when the topic arises. A culture needs to be created where women feel confident voicing their concerns, where self-belief is not hindered, and where senior teams champion the benefits of a diverse team. The leaders in this industry need to do more in supporting and championing women, and then it will filter down.

Whilst the problem is real, it is important to note that the objective of hiring more women is not the simple answer. It’s bigger than this, part of a broader culture shift and not a box ticking exercise. Tech leaders need to think more laterally when it comes to hiring, too. For example, look for female maths or physics graduates who have early coding skills such as logic, problem solving and puzzle-making. Or female performing arts or psychology graduates who might not know they have the skills to work in sales, but could be awesome at communication and storytelling.

At Summize, we work on our approach to inclusion through things like a DEI committee, internal workshops around social issues and DEI subjects to create an open forum where people share their own experiences, thoughts and perspectives. We’ve had great feedback about this format, ensuring our team is centred around togetherness, respect and championing one another, regardless of who they are.

We’re all about continuous improvement and know that the road to true gender parity, in the tech industry is a journey not a destination. That perspective forms the basis of questions I’d like to ask to any senior leader in tech: what day-to-day changes can you put in place to make your business more gender inclusive? How can you create a space where women can thrive, whether that’s in a marketing, software, or sales role? Have you asked yourself the question of what you could do to attract more women, particularly in the departments with lower representation?

I’d like to see the next generation of the tech industry strike a much more representative and diverse gender balance, and to me, the best place to start is those everyday changes that may seem small but make all the difference. It’s about making it a natural part of the everyday conversation, not a quarterly agenda item. It’s about making those early connections for women who may not already know they have the core skills to thrive in the world of tech. This way, the solutions and tech ideas of tomorrow will be best designed to work for everyone.

Laura ProctorAbout the author

Experienced B2B marketer Laura Proctor joined Manchester tech start-up Summize in 2022 as VP of Marketing, having previously spearheaded the marketing strategy for a number of high-growth software companies including AppLearn, Apadmi and Avecto.

She now leads Summize’s marketing strategy and execution as the business moves from start-up to global scale-up with international recognition as one of the leading digital contracting businesses in the game.


She Talks Tech - The Art of Building Confidence - How Self Promotion can Lead to Career Growth' with Priya Sodha, Innergem, 800x600

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'The Art of Building Confidence - How Self Promotion can Lead to Career Growth' with Priya Sodha, Innergem

She Talks Tech - The Art of Building Confidence - How Self Promotion can Lead to Career Growth' with Priya Sodha, Innergem

In this episode of She Talks Tech, we hear about self promotion from Priya Sodha – Founder and CEO of Innergem.

Why should we self promote! Because if no one ever hears your story, how can the open doors of opportunity for you. Self promotion isn’t about bragging or boasting, it is about the confidence to put your hand us and articulate what you are capable of!  In this session, Priya helps us understand the art of self promotion and the impact it can have on your career.  What are you waiting for, it is time to toot your own horn!

If you want to find out more about Priya – you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2022.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 21 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.


female data scientist, woman leading team

Establishing confidence as a female newbee to tech

female data scientist, woman leading team

By Davinder Kaur, Head of Software Delivery at PensionBee

The interlinking of performance with a sense of self is common in the tech industry – this can sometimes manifest itself as imposter syndrome, perfectionism or anxiety.

The industry is full of knowledgeable, skilled and driven people. Some view those people as someone they can aspire to be – they are optimistic of their own skills and ability to advance themselves. Others, however, find it very daunting: we will never be as intelligent and as perfect as those people. They seem to know everything, or understand things easily, and they rarely seem to ask for help or make mistakes.

When I first started out in tech nearly five years ago, I undoubtedly fell into the latter camp. Half way through the coding bootcamp I had enrolled in to retrain as a Software Engineer, a small growing feeling became all encompassing. I felt that no matter how much the course taught me, I would never know enough to be the ideal candidate for a company. But I had started down this path and so would deal with that feeling after graduation. Job hunting as a Junior Software Engineer is tricky to say the least – “I really don’t know enough, nor have enough experience, so how do I get someone to hire me” – but when you are a career-changer, trying to find a place (if at all) for your previous skills, feels like a bit of a confusing mess. PensionBee saw through my disarray and hired me as the fourth person in the tech team.

I’d like to say that my fears were all nonsense and that there was sunshine and rainbows and beautiful code everywhere. But alas, I spent the first few months trying to use what felt like a “starter” toolkit to tackle some heavy-duty real world challenges. And when the tech got too difficult to understand or I got frustrated with having to ask for help all the time, I fell back into doing what I knew I was good at thanks to my previous jobs: software delivery.

PensionBee needed a process for delivering software and I had the knowledge and skills – sounds like a win win? But there was very little about it that felt like progress or achievement, for me personally. Deep down, I was hiding behind the procedural aspect of being a Software Engineer because I felt like I just wasn’t good enough at writing code: I was too scared to start a feature, I would just write and rewrite code, I feared code review. I just felt so out of my depth, trying to build software despite not really knowing as much as everyone else in the team.

So how did I get past this and find myself still here at PensionBee nearly five years later? By silencing the voices in my head, taking it one task at a time and finding some love and compassion for myself. Being brought up in a British Asian household, there was always a hard push to become more accomplished. As a girl, I was always encouraged to prove myself as at least equal to a male counterpart. This resulted in a very strong determination to succeed at everything that I do, in a way that doesn’t allow for mistakes and failures. But that approach doesn’t work when changing careers – especially given, it in itself feels like failure. And it most certainly doesn’t apply when you are a Software Engineer – where so much of the role is about trying out solutions, “learning on the job” and from others. This truth has been coached into me through weekly feedback with my manager, company wide ‘Show n Tell’ sessions, and an incredibly supportive company which have helped me treat myself more kindly.

My fluency with technology has completely evolved and I’m now a much more confident engineer, leading a team and running several key aspects of software engineering. My role as Head of Software Delivery recognises the value in the experiences from my previous career, combined with the skills I’ve learnt on the engineering side.

In recognition of the hugely positive impact this support has had on my own career, I started PensionBee’s ‘Time to Talk’ initiative in August 2020. It’s a safe space for female members of our tech team to recognise individual experiences, share support, advice, bounce ideas around and anything in between.

It’s natural to doubt yourself sometimes, but as a group, what have we learnt? Well you don’t have to have all the answers or be wonderful at everything to be a successful woman in tech. But we’ve helped each other understand that we have good engineering skills even when we can’t see them and through overcoming our own challenges, we are inspirational role models for one another. We’ve also helped one celebrate our victories no matter how small, and set goals to stretch ourselves in a way that will help us recognise our own achievements in retrospect.

Davinder KaurAbout the author

Davinder is Head of Software Delivery at PensionBee, working to ensure that all projects are delivered in a structured and repeatable way. Davinder is passionate about using technology to build quality tools to make people’s lives easier and loves honest feedback to continuously improve the delivered changes.


Jacqui Bury

How I’m gaining confidence at work after sharing my disability story 

Jacqui BuryFor International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Jacqui Bury from the Digital Recruitment team at DWP Digital shares her experience and highlights the importance of the day.

Being dyslexic is challenging and I have to work in different ways and find it that little bit harder to achieve what I need to achieve.

I didn’t tell my family, friends or employer about my dyslexia for a long time as I was so embarrassed and at first I didn’t know or understand what it was. Sad, I know, and it really is not my fault. I did not want people to treat me differently or to think that I wasn’t able.

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. The condition stems from differences in parts of the brain that process language. Dyslexics have excellent thinking skills in the areas of conceptualization, reason, imagination, and abstraction. Dyslexia comes in many different forms and I know that I am lucky as my dyslexia is not as bad as some peoples who have a lot more difficulty than me.

You can learn more about dyslexia here: What is dyslexia? – Kelli Sandman-Hurley – YouTube

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Being Dyslexic I benefit from understanding my own individual learning style and pattern of strengths and weaknesses. That way, I can study and work in a way which is most likely to be successful. I have strategies appropriate to my learning style.

I have always been a very confident person and hate to let people think, just because my brain processes things differently, that I am not able to do what people without the disability can do.

How my dyslexia affect’s me

When I’m reading I’m great with the first few words, but after than all the letters and words start to move. This can be very challenging. However, on a positive, I do get to read a few words before it goes this way, I see this as a positive as at least it’s not like it with every word.

Another way dyslexia affects me is when information is read out, it takes a little longer for me, compared to others to digest and understand. This is because information is slower to get to the other side of my brain which means I can miss some information.

When things are verbally explained and shown to me at the same time this really makes a massive difference as I can pick things up so much easier.

One of the other things I struggle with is spelling. I can spell, however again the dyslexia can confuse me and sometimes I even struggle with basic words. This can be frustrating, again I have to just try and see the positive side.

My day-to-day challenges

One of my biggest challenges is not being fast enough, and others noticing this, this makes me self-conscious. Also, not understanding what is being asked, this frustrates me as I know I am able, however the dyslexia stop me, so I can take a little longer to understand something that other people will take.

I currently use Read Write Gold (RWG) which is a fantastic tool and this really helps me to do my job daily. There are so many tools I can use with the RWG, the main ones I use include the reading tools, it can read when I am typing, this is fantastic as I hear each word as I type so I know if I’ve typed an incorrect word. I can also use it to read all my messages in everything I use, for example: emails, internet, excel, words docs.

Throughout my life I have struggled with my perceptions of people thinking I am thick and not able, and this affected my confidence. I had counselling to support me on how to share my difficulty in telling people I am dyslexic. I found this difficult as I was embarrassed, and I did not want people to think I could not do my job. Or when I was with my friends, for them to think she is thick, tough I know, however this is how it makes me feel.

I used to cover up my condition and use excuses by saying things, such as I haven’t got my glasses with me, or I’d just hide away in the back in case someone said can you read this to me.

The counsellor was fantastic and gave me coping strategies to help me deal with sharing my difficulty with people. One of the first tasks she gave me was how to share that I’m dyslexic with my colleagues at work. Again, this was hard as I’m aware of people judging me on it. I did share my condition with my colleagues in a team meeting and all of them were great and very supportive apart from one person. Not bad for a team of 12.

I’m proud to say that now I have addressed the issue of telling people my life is definitely so much better.

DWP Digital really does let me be me and I’m proud to work here, I feel supported as an individual with a disability and my colleagues really try to be inclusive to each other, which again does make me proud.

Once I know what I am doing, I strive on giving my best, I feel this is a massive strength of mine. I’m gaining more confidence, for example I recently spoke at a management team meeting. There was over 100 people on the call, which was scary however it was great to share my story and a big step for me – I even put my camera on. The support messages I received were amazing and made me feel good.

I can honestly say now, I am no longer embarrassed and it’s a great place to be. Just being my lovely self.

If you’re interested in working in a team where everyone is valued, have a look at the current career opportunities on the DWP Digital Careers site.


Young people's confidence may be more important than qualifications Mumsnet founder tells WATC

Gaining confidence may be more important than gaining qualifications when it comes to a successful career, Justine Roberts the founder of Mumsnet told WeAreTheCity recently.

Justine Roberts is a Sky Academy ambassador and she recently took part in the Sky Academy Starting Out initiative which offers young people experience and employment opportunities to prepare them for the world of work.Justine Roberts

Sky Academy consists of five initiatives that use TV, creativity and sport to support young people in unlocking their potential.  The initiatives are - Sky Sports Living for Sport; Sky Academy Skills Studios; Sky Academy Careers Lab; Sky Academy Starting Out and Sky Academy Scholarships.

Sky Academy launched in November 2013 and has since helped over 250,000 young people across the UK and Ireland.

Sky Academy ran Confidence Month through October to highlight the importance of confidence in young people’s development. The campaign focuses on building practical skills, experience and confidence through unlocking the potential of one million young people by 2020.

The Sky Academy Confidence Month is supported by a host of ambassadors including David Beckham, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Davina McCall, Alfie Deyes, Ella Eyre, Justine Roberts, Melvyn Bragg and Thierry Henry.

Robert’s idea for Mumsnet was to create a website where parents could swap advice about all the things parents talk about.

Speaking to WeAreTheCity recently Roberts said: “I wanted an environment where you can work from home and not be judged for “wussing out.” An environment where you don’t have to pretend that your family isn’t the most important thing in your life. Work is usually a close second to family and that’s the case for most people.”

“As parents on Mumsnet we’re aware of confidence and that it is so important – it’s probably more important than qualifications. So, I was happy to get involved with Sky’s Academy with my Mumsnet hat on.”

Roberts shared her own career journey with the young people taking part in the Sky Academy Starting Out programme, discussing the role of confidence in the workplace and the importance of women working in technology. She said: “In the tech space there is a strong stereotype of geeky males, working in a basement, and this needs rebranding. Tech needs rebranding as a sector.”

She also spoke to the young people about their experiences as part of Sky’s graduate programmes, apprentice schemes and work experience placements. Sky offers accredited, permanent positions for school and university leavers on one to three year paid graduate programmes and apprenticeships.

Women are nervous about being confident, as they think they’ll be seen as being too assertive or brash

Roberts said: “I’ve spent the day with young people discussing how they want to develop in their careers. Skills bring confidence and confidence is key.

“Women are nervous about being confident, as they think they’ll be seen as being too assertive or brash. Whereas men don’t tend to have that. There is an unconscious biasness towards how we judge others.”

Sky Academy recently conducted research in partnership with YouGov of over 1,600 respondents to find that young people are turning to social media for confidence. The research found that over a third (32%) of all social media users aged 11 to 24 claim they are more confident on social media than in person. This figure rises to 47% for those who say they are not confident in themselves.

89% of girls were found to use social media compared to 82% of boys. Of these, 36% of girls said they are more confident on social media than in person, compared to 28% of boys. 63% of girls admitted they are more likely to upload photos on social media compared to 41% of boys. 66% of girls said their confidence is influenced by how attractive they feel.

However, 21% of social media users aged 11-13 claimed other people have written mean or negative things to or about them on social media. Furthermore, 14% of children said the number of friends they have on social media affects their confidence.

Overall, 33% of all young people questioned said they are ‘not confident’ in themselves.

Lucy Carver from Sky Academy said: “Confidence plays a crucial role in helping young people succeed and unlock their potential, and it’s really important that young people feel confident, both in person, and on social media.

“Having worked with over a quarter of a million eight to 24 year olds so far, we know that by providing real experiences, Sky Academy builds skills which ultimately build confidence.  It’s our aim to help one million young people by 2020.”