Hi Claire, what has your personal career journey in tech been like?
I took a fairly traditional route into tech, studying Computer Science at university and then on to a Masters in Cyber Security. At present, I am transitioning into a role as a Security Data Engineer at Elastic!
What do you think tech leaders could do to help support gender equality within their teams?
I think it’s really important for tech leaders to accept that not everyone will have the same style of working and the same style of learning and progressing in a tech job, and for them to go the extra mile to understand their team as people. I also think it’s important for everyone on the team to feel like they can ask stupid questions and not be judged; as often in my experience, as the only woman on a team, I’ve been afraid to ask a question in case I’m automatically judged. This is a personal issue of my own, but I think it’s important for tech leads to be aware of issues like this when there is such gender disparity in the tech industry.
Widening that point, what could businesses do to accommodate women in tech?
Businesses can offer flexible working hours for carers and parents, and equitable parental maternity/paternity leave. This can help to ensure that parental and caring responsibilities don’t fall to women only, and so they can still have the career they would like, whilst also having a family.
Top 3 tips for women looking to break into tech or progress from their current position into a tech role?
1) You are enough; what you are learning is enough, what you are doing is enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
2) Everyone grows at their own pace, and even the experts were beginners once.
3) Ask all the questions you can and write literally everything down – no question is stupid but asking it multiple times might be.
In tribute to IWD’s 2021 campaign, what do you choose to challenge?
I choose to challenge the stigma around talking about mental health, burnout and anxiety in tech.