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Women in STEM: career tips and advice

Interested in a career in software engineering? The world needs more women in STEM! Two of our female colleagues share their top tips for getting started in IT.

27 November 2019

Technology is the driving force of the modern world. It touches everyone’s lives – so it’s vital that women and men are equally represented across careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). But still, most STEM roles are occupied by men.

Schools and universities are better than they used to be at encouraging everyone to participate in all subjects. However, we still need more positive role models. The more everyone sees all types of people in all jobs, the better.

At Workpro, we proactively encourage women into IT careers. We offer paid internships every summer through Careerwise. And right now, we’re supporting our Cyber Security/Infrastructure Graduate Apprentice, Elizabeth, through a part-time degree at Edinburgh Napier University.

Getting started in any industry is tough – even with support. It helps to have advice from those in the know. We asked Elizabeth and Workpro Business Analyst, Jenny Taylor, to share their advice with other women considering a career in science, technology, maths and engineering.

Do your research

Jenny:

“Remind yourself of your key skills – ‘research’ yourself. Take the time to get to know the company and area you would be working in. The more you know about it, the better prepared and more confident you will feel.”

Elizabeth did just this. She switched from a data protection compliance career in the public sector. Her previous role involved problem solving, checking and correcting errors – all excellent transferable skills for IT. She chose to focus on cyber security as it best tied in with her experience.

Think positively

Jenny:

“Don’t assume that gender or age or anything else has any implications. Companies are increasingly recognising the value of a diverse workforce. Just focus on your key skills.”

Elizabeth:

“I’m the only female on my course – that was intimidating at first. But the Workpro team is 30% female. Seeing so many other women in roles like mine has really helped my confidence and self-belief.”

Find a job that fits your lifestyle

Jenny:

 “Seek a job that you enjoy and that will offer flexible working and good conditions. Getting the right work/life balance can be the difference between happiness and misery.”

Elizabeth:

“A career in IT appealed to me as the growing number of available positions means it’s a stable job. At the same time, rapidly changing technology brings endless new challenges and room for development. Win-win.”

At Workpro, we recognise that happy employees are motivated ones. That’s why we offer flexible working and encourage a relaxed, professional atmosphere.

Find a supportive employer

Jenny:

“The biggest challenges are probably still very practical ones – like childcare and the associated career breaks that cause difficulties in climbing the career ladder. These apply to, but are likely not unique to, STEM careers.”

Elizabeth:

“I was worried I might be too late for a career change, and whether I would manage to work, study and be a mum of two. But for women who are also mums, an IT career can provide flexibility. Some jobs can be done from home, or freelance.”

Not all STEM employers think progressively, but plenty – like us – do. It’s up to us all to employ a non-stereotypical workforce and to offer flexible, family friendly working conditions for all genders and ages.

Apply for an internship

Jenny:

“Interns bring fresh ideas, innovations and new techniques and technologies. They allow companies to assess a student’s capability with a view to recruitment.”

Interested in stepping foot into the STEM sphere? Check out the details of our summer 2020 internship.

Workpro case management software is developed by Computer Application Services Limited – an employee owned company. Workpro solutions are used in HR case management and complaints handling for to bring better compliance, control and consistency to case logging, tracking and reporting.