Eight female graduates share how they got into tech

The number of female graduates with a STEM degree is slowly growing, but there are still too few women pursuing tech careers – just 24 per cent of the STEM workforce are women.

That’s why we’ve spoken to eight women currently on the PA Graduate Scheme. By sharing their experiences of university and journeys into tech, we hope to inspire more women to start careers in STEM.

Sameara Ali: Maths and statistics graduate

At university, I really enjoyed statistical programming, random processes and time series because I had to learn to code and apply mathematical concepts. Now at PA, I’ll be working as a Java developer with public sector clients.

I think it would be good to open doors for girls to get into technology at a younger age. I know I was too intimidated to take computer science for my GCSEs or A-levels, despite being good at maths – I didn't want to be the only girl in the class. Initiatives like Women in Tech are important at breaking these barriers down and getting women from a variety of backgrounds into tech.

Jess Hurry: Maths and finance graduate

At university, I really enjoyed statistical and time series models, and got experience using the R programming language, which made me want to learn another. At PA, I’m working in analytics and have started the WiT Python course after work, which I’m loving.

I think targeted training courses are a great way to encourage women into technology, especially when the trainers are people with the same passion to improve diversity in tech, as this is really encouraging and can highlight the vast opportunities in tech for women.

Salaha Ilyas: Software engineering graduate

I’m passionate about technology and its impact on millennials, and enjoy programming and learning new IT hacks. No two days are the same in technology, there’s always something new to learn and ways to polish existing skills.

I was lucky to have great female mentors who helped me find my passion and settle in the IT sector, and I hope to return the favour by helping other young women. I would encourage women in technology to reach out to a wider audience and share their corporate journey with young talent.

Tanisha Walker: Computer science graduate

While at university, I did a placement year where I was a front-end developer at a web development agency. I loved mobile and web development – anything where I can get creative with my solution. At PA, I’m interested in the worlds of full stack development, UX design, cyber security and cloud.

Outreach events and programmes are so important for encouraging women into technology. Seeing people in the positions you want to be in, and believing that a company is invested in making a change, is vital. So are mentorship for hopefuls and allyship from senior male leadership.

George Paganini: Zoology graduate

I never envisioned myself working within data when starting out at university. At PA, I’m in analytics and find it fascinating to understand our data-driven world and the value that good data can bring to organisations.

I love the diversity of challenges that come with a role in data and technology. Technology allows me to explore so many different avenues and constantly challenge myself. My advice to other women wanting to start a career in tech is to go into it with confidence and believe you’re just as capable as the person next to you.

Oluwatofunmi Onaeko: Computer science graduate

I’m a career changer and I originally studied architecture, which helped me develop an eye for design. I then did a conversion course in computer science and loved learning the different languages. I’m really looking forward to the chance to try a developer role at PA and get the opportunity to link all my passions – design, software development and problem solving.

If you’re unsure about getting into tech, try it out first! Do the Women in Tech coding courses or a udemy course to try different languages and see if you enjoy it.

Tanya Chopra: Computer science graduate

I specialised in artificial intelligence at university. At PA, my current focus is on engineering and DevOps, which I’m enjoying immensely. Technology has always fascinated me as it’s an area that’s fast paced and rapidly changing.

If you’re considering pursuing a career in technology, it’s always best to be confident and not be afraid to ask questions whenever you need to, there’s so many areas to specialise in and so many ways to make a change.

Amarpreet Dawgotra: Computer science graduate

From creating strategic game playing AI to implementing network attacks and defence mechanisms, my degree kept me on my toes. Now at PA, I’m excited to see how technology can make a positive impact on society and people’s lives.

Mentoring is a good way to attract women into tech roles as it can provide guidance and help build confidence. It’s also important for anyone looking to start a career in tech to keep up with the latest technologies and never lose the drive to learn!

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