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IWD 2024: You don’t need to be a techie to work in tech
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

The tech sector still has a way to go before it can claim a level playing field. A recent survey from PWC found that only 16 percent of females had had a career in tech suggested to them, compared to 33 percent of males. Not surprisingly, the same survey also found that only 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women. 

When confronted by statistics like the above, it’s easy to be discouraged from the thought of following this career path. Lack of representation in the workplace poses a barrier to women who want to feel seen and heard at work. Whilst this isn’t to say that a healthy working environment cannot exist in a company where there are more men than women, it’s important to see a commitment to diversity and welcome more women into the tech workforce.

It’s imperative to start having these conversations earlier, and perhaps at more pivotal times, such as during secondary school education, or career consultancy during higher education. There are far more routes into tech nowadays than just being a “techie”, and opening up the conversation to include different ways to get into the industry should have a positive impact on inspiring women to pursue a tech career. Changing the stereotypical expectations of what is needed to work in tech - and spreading the belief that women can thrive in male-dominated environments - can result in positive change for the future of the sector and those who choose to work in it.

I didn’t experience the traditional journey into tech. Having graduated in Illustration and Animation, and a follow-up qualification in Concept Art and Digital Illustration, I saw myself working within technology thanks to my interest in digital design, but never envisioned working for a tech brand. I took a contract with Purple Transform as a freelance designer, which eventually transitioned into an apprenticeship, which resulted in my current role. 

This unconventional career journey allowed for an outsider's perspective, and I realised the potential that technology can harness through so many different industries. In my case, art and design can be supported, expanded, and inspired by technological innovation, but this is the case for so many other industries as well - more conversations need to be had about the possibilities tech can offer.

In my current role as Head of Creative and Communications at Purple Transform, I love putting my artistic degrees to use in a technology-focused background. It wasn’t something I thought to be a possibility when starting out in my career, but from being in this environment now, it’s clear to see that the sector is constantly evolving. I get to challenge myself daily, work on innovative new AI technology, and create in a much more tech-focused capacity than I ever thought was possible with my background.

The fact remains that more needs to be done when it comes to encouraging women into the tech space. A lack of representation, and not enough emphasis on the alternative routes into the industry, play a major role in the gender imbalance of the industry. Progress is being made, slowly but surely, but those in influential positions in the industry should ask themselves what more can be done to continue opening doors for the next generation of women.

And for any women reading this who may be thinking about pursuing a career in the tech industry, but feel uncertain about fitting into a male-heavy environment – it’s important to remember that seeing just one women thriving in that space can inspire a multitude of others. Representation matters greatly in breaking down barriers and paving the way for more diversity and inclusion. Women not only contribute to the growth of innovation in the tech sector but also serve as beacons of encouragement for other female talent.