Five tips for starting a career in software engineering

Woman working in a server room


In this piece, Erin Gray, Scrum Master, Tecknuovo, takes a look at getting into software engineering and gives her tips for potential women entering the field.


Women only make up a quarter of people in the sector and only 5% of senior positions.

Erin Gray, Scrum Master, Tecknuovo

In this piece, Erin Gray, Scrum Master, Tecknuovo, takes a look at getting into software engineering and gives her tips for potential women entering the field.

Originally from Croydon, Erin now lives in Essex with her husband, identical twin girls aged nine, and two cats: Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Erin and her husband swapped traditional home roles when the girls were young, so he runs the household whilst Erin is lucky enough to concentrate on her career. She has a BsC in Business Computing, 20 years’ experience in the IT Industry, and a passion for running in addition to being a Scrum Master. After completing the Brentwood Half Marathon this year though, Erin realised that running solo in the soothing countryside is why she does it!

It can be a daunting prospect for a woman to enter a field that is so heavily male dominated, but Erin hopes that her advice might help you overcome that fear and inspire you on your journey to becoming a software engineer. 


Ask yourself what really inspires you to be a software engineer. Perhaps you love gaming and you want to work on video games? Or maybe you’re fascinated by the back end of apps and websites? Find out what you’re interested in and look for software engineering opportunities in that area. Being able to show how passionate you are is great for interviews too, especially at the start of your career when you’ll likely be lacking experience.  


Until you start working in tech, it’s difficult to know what kind of jobs are available in the industry. Schools certainly don’t do enough to teach young people about the different career options in tech so the impetus is on you. Be proactive and research the different types of software engineering and the latest industry trends and innovations that inspire you. It could help get your foot in the door and make the difference at the interview stage.


One of the best ways to make yourself a good candidate for jobs, especially at the start of your career, is to take a course and study the subject. There are so many types of courses out there, for all levels of experience. It’s not always necessary to go to university straight from school to get a job as a software engineer, there are plenty of apprenticeships and other qualifications. Look out for courses and degrees that offer industry experience, and if you can’t do one of these apply for internships. Getting real world experience is a great way to set you apart from other candidates, especially at entry level. 


I know it can be intimidating, but going to industry events is a great way to meet people and mentors who can offer you advice, and you never know, maybe even a job. The more connections you make, the better insight into the industry you will get. Trade shows, networking sessions and women in tech events are all great places to meet people. If you’re an introverted person, don’t worry, lots of people in tech are. These events often have speakers so you won’t be meeting new people the whole time. 


Always believe in yourself and your ability. It’s often contagious. Having the confidence to push yourself forward will help you so much throughout your career. Don’t let imposter syndrome prevent you from applying for a job or a promotion; you don’t have to wait until you tick every single box. Remember you deserve a seat at the table. Put yourself out there, show them how passionate and hard working you are and good things will come your way.


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