A letter to our future female software engineers
With the ratio of men to women in engineering reported as 5:1, Tara Hofton, who heads up Aire’s Software Engineering team, pens a note to the industry.
My career in engineering now spans over twenty years. After I graduated in computing, a chance admin job at Oxford University opened up access to an infinite number of courses — and I was naturally drawn to web development. But having landed my first real job in the field, those early years were tough. I remember going to Microsoft conferences in the 90s to see rooms filled with thousands of engineers, but just a handful of women.
I made a conscious decision to not be intimidated by it:
‘deep breath, you’re here to learn, you enjoy this work so why shouldn’t you have that same experience and opportunity?’
Slowly but surely, I gained confidence in my work and my skill set. And the more I persevered, the more my love for engineering grew. The opportunity of getting underneath the problem for our customers to deliver a great product is something special that I’ll never stop enjoying. You build, you test, you gather immediate feedback and you’re then rewarded with the knowledge that you’ve delivered something that truly performs for a business.
But it hasn’t always been easy. The technology industry still has a long way to go towards gender equality in the workplace. While raising my family, I stayed flexible and contracted, which allowed me to move on from places quickly when I didn’t feel supported.
At Aire, we know we are by no means there yet. We have much to do when it comes to creating a truly equitable, gender-balanced environment. As a member of our leadership team, I am in a privileged position to make sure our implicit intentions towards diversity are matched by action, in both our hiring processes and how we promote talent internally.
I’m very supportive of initiatives such as Women of Silicon Roundabout that provide safe spaces for women to learn. As a business, we continue to actively engage in that conversation — one that requires both men and women to be involved to enact change. For example, our COO recently joined a panel at the Women in IT Summit.
Because fundamentally it comes down to this: to create great products, we need great men and women to build them. The more diverse, gender-balanced and inclusive that team, the better a company’s chance at achieving a truly equitable output.
At Aire, we exist to make credit equitable for everyone. It’s as fundamental that this sentiment is reflected inside our business as it is in the products we build.
To any potential, aspiring female software engineers, I encourage you to take that leap. Jump in — your future employers are waiting for you.