Woman in Tech of the Month: Sarah Schulte
Woman in Tech of the Month is our series exploring the achievements of women who are breaking gender stereotypes to build technology-based careers. This month, we’re celebrating Sarah Schulte, web development course winner and experience designer here at PA. In our interview, she reflects on her career in tech, shares tips on entering the industry and offers advice to women as they progress through their careers.
How did you find the web development course?
I've frequently seen PA’s web development course advertised and never applied, but this year one of the instructors encouraged me to. The course is a great opportunity to understand more about how web development works, and I applied to help improve my understanding of code, better communicate with development teams, and enable myself to ask the right questions. Learning how to use HTML and CSS will be so useful for my design projects in the future.
Signing up for the course was also about discovering a new passion for me. I had tried to learn to code a few years ago using online courses but it was hard to hold myself accountable. The Women in Tech course is held in a group environment where other people learn with you. There are excellent instructors who set homework and provide materials along with deadlines and goals to help drive in-depth learning. I loved that we were given a personalised project to build a website with content we were passionate about, allowing us to combine our interests with coding.
I spent a lot of my personal time watching online YouTube videos to understand the material better and go above and beyond. It was incredibly challenging at the beginning, especially as I had never coded before, and had to get to grips with new tools and concepts. If you are up for a challenge and willing to learn something new, this course is so much fun and encourages you to develop your tech skills.
What was your final project?
I designed a wedding website for my cat Scrappy and I. I think a lot of people particularly liked the pictures of my cat dressed up in a bow tie!
My website had three themes:
- a main wedding website with an elegant design
- an ‘About Me’ portfolio page with a minimalist design
- a playful page for Scrappy with animations, transitions, and lots of colour.
What is your current role in tech?
I am an experienced designer at PA in digital design. I have skills in user research and user-centred design, starting out from a non-technical background. My first job was at Rocket Internet in Berlin, which exposed me to working in tech and e-commerce, whilst building digital online services and experiences. Next, I joined a retail e-commerce consultancy where I became involved in customer experience, usability testing, user experience strategy and website auditing. I then began working at PA where I work on a range of projects across various sectors, designing products and services that provide meaningful experiences for customers.
What is it about tech that interests you?
I am passionate about creating experiences, products and websites that are helpful to people by making their lives easier. It is satisfying to listen to user challenges around a specific product or service at the beginning of a project and use this insight to design a solution to overcome them. I use creativity and my experience of the web development course to progress my passion for designing solutions further.
What is your advice for other women looking to get into tech?
From my experience, don’t feel discouraged to start a career in tech if you don’t have a tech degree. Often not having a technical background can encourage feelings of imposter syndrome, especially when working with those who have specific qualifications such as a computer science degree. I am overcoming this feeling through self-learning, attending meetups to expand my network in the industry and share my experiences.
It’s helpful to connect with other people who are working in the industry and ask them for advice. Identify people whose careers you find interesting so you can learn from their journeys.