International Women’s Day 2021 theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and, here at DARE, we’d like to challenge the stigma of women working in the tech industry.
According to the 2019 Tech Nation report, only 19% of the people working in the tech industry are female. Statistics like this make us question how we encourage more women into the STEM industry, but also what needs to happen to encourage women to take more senior and leadership roles due to being so under-represented at board level.
Our very own Client Relationship Manager, Helen, started out studying Law in her hometown of Newcastle but after some time out travelling decided that the law wasn’t for her and a new challenge was needed. Helen has her own journey with the Tech industry to share, and for IWD2021 we couldn’t resist the urge to discuss all things Women in Tech, what she’d take to a desert island and of course…her time at DARE (and what comes next).
What first sparked your interest in working in the tech industry?
Back in 2015, I was working for an engineering company and had been feeling that it was time for a new challenge. I began searching for opportunities in my area and stumbled upon a local company – OPAL IT Limited – that seemed to be set apart from its competitors in the industry, as it specialised in Apple technology.
I was interested in how Apple was playing more of a role within enterprise and thought it would be exciting to be a part of the development of a company that was at the cutting edge of this trend. I began working with OPAL in January 2016 and four years later I was able to assist in the setup and launch of DARE Technology, a sister company, focusing solely on Apple and Jamf. The growth in this sector and the technological challenges we have helped customers overcome has more than justified my decision!
Do you think enough is done to help women get into the tech industry? If not, what would you recommend?
In the UK, statistics show the number of women who worked in tech in 2015 stood at just 17%, which increased to 19% in 2019. We need to ensure young girls have strong role models of other successful women in STEM; by celebrating female tech leaders, it will hopefully encourage more girls to pursue their interests and careers in tech.
How much do you think the industry has changed since you joined?
The rate at which technology is changing and developing has increased exponentially, with some major changes coming in the last year out of necessity to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic – people have never been so comfortable on video calls! There is now much more of a focus on security in tech in response to ever evolving threats and it’s great to be a part of this through partnering with Jamf around endpoint device management and our own macOS patch management solution – DARE Update.
In your experience, does being a woman in your profession come with extra mental challenges that you have to overcome, for instance doubting your own ability?
Everyone faces moments of doubt in their career, but for me if you are well researched, well-reasoned and relevant to the discussion then your opinion or position will be heard.
How do you keep yourself informed about the latest trends in tech?
This is through a variety of different sources – tech articles, white papers, webcasts, conferences (although virtually at the moment!) and regular sharing of knowledge within the business.
What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
Research the opportunities available and focus on the path that works best for you – believe in yourself and your abilities.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Still in tech?
It’s such an exciting time at DARE with the development of our macOS patch management solution and the growth of the business, that I expect to be working in tech with the team here for years to come.
Finally, the hard-hitting questions…
If you could take 3 things to a desert island what would they be?
A Spotify subscription and smart speaker, Pride and Prejudice (my favourite book that I could read again and again), a lifetime supply of Tangfastics.
What piece of advice or quote do you live by?
Don’t try to impress everyone. The unhappiest people are those who care the most about what other people think.
If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Not a superpower, but I would love to be able to sing – not as a career but just to have that talent would be amazing.