#MyTechJourney speaks to women in technology about their backgrounds and routes into their current career plus they share the best bits of their role and practical advice for those wanting to get into tech. In this edition, we speak to Sadiah Ahmed, Software Developer at Moneysupermarket Group.
Tell us a bit about your background?
My journey into tech was somewhat unconventional. I graduated from University with a first class honours degree in Mathematics with Computing and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I had a passion for Mathematics and that I wanted to make a difference; so I embarked upon a career in teaching. After a few years, I got tired of trying to convince stroppy teenagers that Maths was fun and decided that this was not the career that I wanted to endure.
I later came across a training opportunity to develop my technical knowledge and programming skills, so I took the leap. I ended up relocating for this training programme and I now work with Moneysupermarket Group as a Junior Java Developer.
What did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an Artist. As time went on, I realised it would be difficult to make a steady income in this profession.
Being a software developer has enabled me to exercise my creativity both at work and outside of work. During work, I use creativity when formulating my software solutions and despite being a backend developer, I have taken part in the development of the website’s user-facing code. In addition, I have been involved in the design processes and have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with ideas.
My job as a developer has also allowed me to maintain a good work-life balance, which means I get time to express my creativity in my free time.
What was your first role?
After graduating from University, I worked for an SME (small-to-medium enterprise) specialising in tailored loans and management systems. I started off with a fellow graduate and rotated between two roles; an Analyst Programmer for the first 3 months and a Systems Support Analyst for the next 6 months. This work didn’t appeal to me so I decided to start my teacher training.
What sparked your interest in tech?
When I was younger I never imagined myself to be a coder. I didn’t even know what coding was until I started University. I was enrolled on a BSc (Hons.) Mathematics course which had a compulsory Java module in the first semester. Through this, I realised that I enjoyed coding and so I converted my degree to a BSc (Hons.) in Mathematics with Computing, which meant I could study more computing modules!
What misconceptions did you have about the tech industry?
- ICT was a “boy’s subject”.
- I believed that I needed to have a techy background in order to work in tech.
- You need to be good at ICT to be good at Computer Science.
- You don’t talk much in tech. It’s actually the opposite – it’s a very collaborative environment!
What are the best bits about your role?
Even though my primary responsibility involves developing and maintaining Java applications, my role has been considerably varied. I have been involved in a range of initiatives, helping to promote diversity and inspire the next generation of girls into tech-related roles. This was achieved through delivering coding workshops and sharing my career journey with secondary school students. My efforts were recognised and valued by my colleagues at work and resulted in me winning an award for my contribution!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into tech
Go in with a growth mindset. It’s okay if you don’t have much technical knowledge right now, this is something that you can develop and get better at. Things are always changing within tech and you’re going to have to constantly adapt to this change.
It’s okay to ask for help. If you’ve started a new role and you don’t understand what’s going on – don’t be afraid to ask for support.
Get out there. If you’re unsure of what you want to do, go to tech meetups (meetup.com is a good resource) and meet other people working within the tech industry to get more information. Build your connections and get advice.
What would you like to see in the industry in the future
Currently there is a low proportion of women in leadership roles within tech. In the future, I would like to see more female representation in these roles.
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