Ola Polczynski 10 February - 3 min read
Stories of Spenda’s Women in Tech
Today, Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) careers are still very underrepresented by women. While there have been massive steps taken to promote STEM as a career to young women, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to encourage young women to even consider these disciplines when planning their futures.
As a company in the tech sector we place great importance on diversity within our workforce. Today, our workforce at Spenda comprises more than 30% women, and through our Graduate Programme we aim to offer opportunities for aspiring females to pursue their STEM careers with us.
With International Women’s Day fast approaching, it’s a great opportunity to put the spotlight on some of Spenda’s leading ladies.
Here, we meet our Software Tester – Hannah van Schayk – to get some insight into how she launched her career with us, and what it means for her to be a woman working in tech.
Hannah started working at Spenda nearly two years ago. Her move into the world of tech is rather unique because before crossing paths with Spenda, Hannah had planned a different future for herself. She wanted to enter the design world and was studying to become a Graphic Designer. But as fate has it, her path quickly changed when she met our MD, Adrian Floate in a coffee shop she was working at.
“I had a pretty unorthodox means of getting my foot in the door. I was working as a barista at a neighbouring coffee shop and as you can imagine people working in the tech world drink a dangerous amount of coffee, so I quickly developed a good rapport with some of the Spenda team. At that time, I was also living with fellow Spenda Web Developer, Domi, who encouraged me to reach out in the hopes of obtaining some experience.”
Ideally Hannah wanted to gain graphic design experience to compliment her studies, but after meeting with our Chief Technology Officer, Olly Speed, she was offered a position in Spenda’s Graduate Programme within the development team. It wasn’t quite what Hannah had expected, but she decided to take the leap into the unknown and try her hand at a ‘different’ type of design.
“I initially came onboard part-time while studying Graphic Design, my role back then was mostly User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design. However once I found my feet in the company I was able to move into the software testing space which I really enjoy. Since graduating I have been working full-time as a Graduate Software Tester doing mostly manual testing.”
“I really surprised myself in what aspects of the job I enjoyed. Coming from an artistic discipline I never expected to relish in the structure and discipline that testing requires. I take pleasure in knowing that there is a system in place, a protocol for every scenario that you are adept to deal with, and can predict the next step moving forward. I also have fun with the perplexity of testing and investigating bugs. I still really enjoy designing, and in regard to the testing space I definitely am the one to nitpick work down to the last pixel.”
Today, Australia’s STEM industries still remain quite male-dominated, with only 27% women making up the workforce. So we asked Hannah what she thought about being a female working in this space.
“I try not to focus on genders within a workplace. The tech industry is consistently looking to the future so hopefully we can apply that innovative thinking to creating a more inclusive working environment. The advantage of being a female in STEM is I get the opportunity to work with incredibly strong women who are a force to be reckoned with. They have fought for the opportunity to learn, to break gender ‘norms’ and, most importantly, to be seen for their skills rather than gender.“
When asked what else she feels needs to be done to encourage more women to enter into STEM careers, she said: “It starts with positive role models. Young women need to see other women that they admire in that industry.”
And as for her advice for other women working in STEM related fields: “Speak up when you have something to say and back up your fellow women.”
Our MD, Adrian Floate, added “that capabilities within any position are not defined by gender. Instead, it’s about what an individual brings to the role and how this impacts the work we do as a Company.”
“Our graduate programme is aimed to open up doors for up and coming talent to pursue their careers in STEM with a fast-growing Aussie fintech, and it’s my belief that women add extremely valuable insights and perspectives and have become a vital part of Spenda’s success.”
If you’re interested in advancing your career with Spenda, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch with us.
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