Considering a career in STEM? Top three lessons learnt from a Software Engineer

Young woman looking at display showing science and engineering images


Katie Hawcutt began working as a software engineer for self-employment tech specialist, wise, after over ten years working in music. In the hopes of helping others considering a career in a stem field, Katie shares her top tips for landing your dream job.

I’ve worked as a software engineer for two years now but, prior to this, I worked in the music industry for a decade, so I know a thing or two about how daunting – and exciting – it can be when you’re considering the next steps of your career.

In honour of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share my experience of landing a job as a software engineer at Wise, a fast-growing tech company based in Birmingham, in the hopes of inspiring other women considering a career in a STEM field.


Katie Hawcutt, Software Engineer at Wise

Having pursued music at university, I spent a total of ten years studying, teaching and playing music before switching to a career in tech. When the pandemic hit, I began to teach myself coding, before I heard about the School of Code – a bootcamp designed to teach the basics of coding in just four months. Here, I met people from all different backgrounds, including teachers and personal trainers, all looking to make a change to their career and take on a new challenge.

It was incredibly refreshing to see so many others like myself starting a new journey and a great reminder that it’s never too late to do something new. You’ll also be surprised at how many skills you’ve acquired already will equip you perfectly for a your next – or first – job, which brings my on to my next point …


One thing I’ve found working in tech is that my job doesn’t rely solely on my ability to code, but also on other soft skills too – ones which I already had from my previous job.

Being able to communicate effectively, listen to my colleagues and present ideas clearly are all key elements of my job. It’s important we can all work well as a team to achieve the goals we’re working towards – bouncing ideas off one another and sharing suggestions are incredibly important.

The key takeaway from this is that anyone can learn technical skills, but having the right personality and attitude – willingness, dedication and the ability to work in a team – is just as important.


My final, and perhaps most important point, is not to let stereotypes hold you back – most of these, I’ve discovered, are total misconceptions.

Growing up, I’d never considered a career in tech, partly because I was so passionate about music and knew that was something I wanted to pursue, but also because I’d never really seen anyone like myself in the industry. Currently, women make up just over quarter of the UK’s tech workforce*, which, while still leaving a lot of room for improvement, is a vast improvement from when I was younger and making my early career choices.

During my time at Wise, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work alongside a number of other talented women, as well as be part of the ’Women in Tech’ panel at Birmingham Tech Week, which was an incredible opportunity to engage with future female leaders of tech.

Actually working in the industry has also made me realise that tech is a much more sociable and engaging career than I was previously led to believe – one of my favourite things about my work is the team focus and culture Wise has created. Everyone is incredibly friendly and sociable and, importantly, I’ve been offered the same opportunities as everyone else – regardless of gender or academic background.


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