Information about the Women Who Quit Their Careers to Become Coders may be found here.
“I never considered myself as someone who could work in tech,” says teacher-turned-coder Jessica Gilbert.
Many women can relate to this view, and the data supports it. Due to the current skills shortage, there will be just one competent woman for every 115 tech roles by the year 2025.
Women are statistically less likely to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) than men. Nonetheless, there is a growing trend of people going against the grain and starting fresh in their chosen fields.
In 2021, there were 15,000 more women working as programmers and software developers in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. Almost ten thousand more women are now participating in the field of web design. Notwithstanding these advancements, SheCodes reports that women still only account for 25% of the coding workforce.
“Difficult but well worth it”
“I could never unwind from it.”
She claims that she “had no knowledge” about IT careers until she saw an Instagram post for a free eight-week coding school for women by Code First Girls.
“I didn’t have science or maths at school so I didn’t think I could manage to code – I thought that those doors in STEM were closed. To be honest I didn’t even really know what a software engineer was”
“I assumed it was a geeky, guys job – I certainly didn’t know any other women in these roles that I could look at as a role model or inspiration.”
Continuing her coding education beyond the first session was “difficult but worth it,” as Jessica puts it. Although making less money as a junior software engineer at Sky Betting & Gaming, she reports being significantly happier in her current position.
On a Facebook group titled “Life after teaching,” Jessica shared her story, prompting “other teachers indicating they are also looking to change careers,” as she put it. She wanted to inform other women about the realities of working in technology, so she created the Instagram account @teacher2coder.
“I previously discounted coding as something for computer scientists or geniuses. But if you are good at communicating and problem solving – a job in tech can be for you.”
Thaslima Ferdous, a 25-year-old Londoner, was working as a healthcare assistant for the National Health Service (NHS) because she had studied biomedical science in college and hoped to become a doctor.
“The NHS was really struggling and I felt unappreciated.”
She was initially skeptical about a career in IT despite her pure science degree after reading about a young woman who had become a coder.
“I began to think ‘What do I have to lose?’ So decided to do a 14-week coding boot camp which taught me the foundations of Python and SQL.My team is entirely male but this is the start.”
“I don’t think career changing is as daunting as it used to be. If you’re willing to work hard and put in the hours, there’s no reason why a tech job isn’t for you.”
“There is a whole pool of untapped talent amongst those who started out in different fields of study and in different careers.”
“These are candidates who may have never considered a STEM career before, convinced it was a career just for men, or that they didn’t have the right skills. But they come with a wealth of experience to change things in technology for the better.”