SwarmOnline Are Celebrating the Young Female Talent in the Software Development Industry this International Women’s Day and Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is run annually on the 8th March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. It is also a day which promotes the ongoing need for building a more gender-balanced world. This day is particularly pertinent to the technology industry. It is no surprise that despite recent progress towards workplace gender balance, women unfortunately remain under-represented in the UK technology industry.
Here at Swarm we are making great progress towards reinstating this balance and just this week we had great reason to be celebrating the talented women in the technology industry…
As well as International Women’s Day, this week (4-8th March) marked the annual Scottish Apprenticeship Week, a campaign organised by Skills Development Scotland. This has meant we’ve had even more reasons to celebrate the talented women in the digital technology industry and here at Swarm!
A Visit from Kate Forbes MSP
On Wednesday morning this week Swarm were delighted to welcome Kate Forbes MSP, the minister for public finance and the digital economy, to our Edinburgh office. As part of Scottish Apprenticeships Week, Kate Forbes, SDS and Heriot Watt University all paid us a visit to hear all about how our Apprentice Developer is getting on!
Iza Ledzka joined our team 9 months ago in a very unique role – certainly a first for Swarm! She is completing a Graduate level Apprenticeship with Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and is spending 3-4 days a week working on live software projects here at Swarm. Iza decided to switch career paths and pursue a career in technology after having worked as a makeup artist as well as in customer services. She is certainly happy with her choice! You can read more about Iza’s career transition into software development here.
It is so fitting that International Women’s Day falls during this week of celebrating young talent and developing the next generation of skills, especially in the tech industry.
Ms Forbes said: “It’s refreshing to meet a female Graduate Apprentice like Iza who is making her mark in a traditionally male dominated sector with the help of Swarm, Heriot Watt University and Skills Development Scotland.
“As there are nearly 13,000 digital and tech jobs that go unfilled every year in Scotland, a focus on diversity and inclusion is vital to plug that skills gap. Scotland’s Apprenticeship family of offerings ensures we nurture the right talent, both in terms of professional skills and supporting our drive to promote equality in Scotland.”
One of the reasons why apprenticeships are so important to help towards closing the skills gap in the tech sector is that they are made available to a wide ranging age group. On Iza’s course at Heriot Watt, the age range spans from early 20s up to late 50s. Proving it’s never too late to pursue a career in software development!
On the other hand… it’s never too early either! Read on to discover the amazing story of Connie from Milton Keynes who is 10 years old and who managed to complete a hacking competition that was designed to challenge accomplished software developers.
Celebrating Young Female Talent In Software Development
Out of over a thousand attempts across the two occasions we ran the competition, fewer than 50 people managed to successfully hack the hive. Amazingly, Connie, aged 10, was among these talented software developers!
Inspired by Connie’s enthusiasm and talent, we got in touch with her Mother, Donna, who kindly asked Connie some questions on our behalf about her interest in Software Development. Read on to find out about Connie’s inspiration into the tech industry.
How did you get into coding?
What is it that you like about coding?
“It’s really fun and I like seeing what I can make with the things I learn. There’s no limit to what you can do and so many people will help if you get stuck. I really like hacking and I’m excited about AI/Machine Learning, AR and VR too. And I also love Linux – it’s the best!”
How did you find the #HackTheHive Competition?
How did you find the time to complete it with school everyday?
“We don’t do coding at my school yet, so every day when I get home I can’t wait to do coding. And on the weekends I like playing video games too.”
What would you like to do with your coding skills when you grow up?
“I would like to have my own company and build websites, operating systems and even computers!”
Who would you say is your most inspirational woman in the technology industry?
“The first book I ever read about famous people in technology was about Steve Jobs. Which was really cool to learn about Silicon Valley. But then my mum took me to the National Museum of Computing for a visit and got me a book about Ada Lovelace. I learnt that she was the first ever programmer. I wish I could time travel and go back and meet Ada and show her all the cool things we can do now thanks to her ideas.”
I really like going to conferences so I can meet other women programmers and listen to their talks on stage about their projects and how they got started – so I think they are my role models. And all the women who run coding groups to help girls just starting out. I go to a girls coding group now where I live and it’s really awesome. You can meet up, make friends, and share what you learn with someone else and you can even be a mentor when you have lots more skills. I want to encourage friends in my class at school to learn coding and I’m helping some of them to get started already during our lunch times.
It’s been a really exciting week for celebrating female talent at SwarmOnline – we’d like to wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day!