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Changing the way young women think about technology

Early Careers Inclusion

Changing the way young women think about technology

In the UK, only 26% of those who work in tech are women, and at Nationwide, we're actively trying to change that.
Our CodeExplorer events aim to educate and encourage young women to think about a career in tech and allows us to share the opportunities and programmes available to them here at Nationwide. We spoke to Arvy and Nikita, who are part of the team at Nationwide that organise these events.

Why is it important for young women to be encouraged to learn about opportunities in tech?

Arvy - We are in an ever-changing digital world and we know the benefits of technology and how that has and continues to help improve our lives. There so many challenges that we face as people and it is incredible to see how we using technology to combat these.  Stats shows that 26% of women are in tech and I believe women have a role to play in helping us use technology to solve our challenges in the world. It is important to showcase to girls and women that tech opportunities are for all and that together we can play an active role in this area too.

How are Nationwide actively trying to change the way tech is perceived by young women?

Nikita - Nationwide has created a very open environment for colleagues to start initiatives if they feel will drive the women in tech ethos and are actively recruiting women into tech roles and making them role models to inspire and motivate young women. Events like CodeExplorer where we can involve young girls can help break gender stereotypes and spark interest in tech fields. Collaboration with schools like we did in the CodeExplorer event will actively encourage young women to pursue STEM related subjects and degrees. All these activities will help young women to believe that tech is an open and exciting field to work in.

Arvy - Nationwide offer a Tech Development Programme (TDP) for individuals who want to get into the world of tech, but don't have the skillset they need to become Software Engineers. Nationwide have got involved in many initiatives to encourage women in tech. For example, I had the privilege to organise this event where we look to inspire young women to feel empowered that they can work in the field of tech. I had the honour of inviting Tech Girls and Mama Codes to the event where they demonstrated their passion to encourage young girls into tech. Nationwide have also got a Women In Tech Committee "To support and enable an environment where there are more women working in technology."  Their goal is to help drive more women into technology​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ roles to help the Nationwide workforce become more diverse, as well as breaking down barriers that prevent women from accessing technology careers. 

What's your experience been like as a woman in tech?

Nikita - There are lots of women who are stuck in one place with the thoughts that nothing can be and accept the fate. I was one of them and always thought there are so many pre-requisites to start a career in tech. I heard about someone changing their career through the Technology Development Programme (TDP) which motivated me to join this programme as a career changer where I am still able to earn and have financial stability. In this one year I've realised that this was the best decision I ever made in regards to my career.  Working as an Analyst at Nationwide provides such a vast area of development in tech along with constant learning and development. I am also able to have a work life balance which makes me more productive at work. 

Arvy - It's not as daunting as I thought it would be. People are willing to help and support. The more exposure you get to various projects, the more comfortable you become and you end up building a nice network around you that you can draw on for support when you need to. You feel welcomed and as part of the team and it makes the whole atmosphere really pleasant for you. So for anyone out there please don't be scared...be the change maker the society needs! Girls Can...Yes We Can!!!!  

What are the biggest differences between being a woman in tech and being a woman in a non-tech role?

Nikita - I don't have any data but from my experience working 10 years in the Finance industry, I worked in different areas like retail, customer service, sales etc. The tech area had a well-known gender imbalance but non-tech the gender distribution may be more balanced. Biases may differ in the nature and intensity but tech roles may be subject to more certain societal expectations. Tech roles are often classed as fast paced because of the fact that technology is constantly evolving. Tech roles may require certain skill sets like coding, developing, security analysis, data analysis etc. Non-tech roles may require more soft skill sets like communication, management, finance etc. There are so many differences and each role has their own challenges. Ultimately, it comes down to how much the individual is willing to commit to the role and how they decide to challenge themselves to maximise their growth and potential.