Women in technology
As the founder of Digitia, I feel extremely lucky to have ‘picked up’ web design when I did. The whole world of digital media has taken off in an unprecedented way and I am grateful for the business I have been able to build in this market.
I fell into web design by accident. When starting out on a Financial Services graduate scheme, I had an idea for a graduate coaching company. Given that it was a hair brained idea, I thought it was best not to waste any money so I took myself down to Waterstones and bought a book: how to write HTML.
I remember my friends thinking I was mad and looking back it was a bit unusual. I was building a career in financial services and yet learning the basics of titles, tables and colours on the weekend.
When I completed HTML 4.0, I moved onto CSS and then HTML 5 and then elements of PHP. On building my very first web site, a friend asked me if I would build one for her for a small fee. I did. Then another friend did the same. Both recommended me and their recommendations recommended me further. Eventually, I was so busy I had no choice but to leave work and pursue my dream of running my own business.
As my client base grew, I started to pick up elements of social media, I improved my design skills and read up on SEO. Within 12 months, I was achieving incredible results for my clients and I had moved into offices, taken on a business partner and hired two members of staff. I was off.
For me this was all very organic. I was fortunate to have picked up the basics of coding when I did and it was demand from clients and a personal curiosity that carried me the rest of the way.
When I see articles in the news, then, about the need for more women in technology and the artificial ways people come up with to attract women into this sector I often think there is something quite patronizing and altogether forced about the whole thing.
That said, it helped me to remember the true beginnings of my exposure to coding. It was during my final year of University. I was studying English Language and one module was about the development of writing from cave drawings through to online content. Our lecturer showed us how to set up a basic HTML page and introduced us to a few of the basics. Fundamentally, this showed, not how to do it, but it showed me just how accessible this industry was. With a bit of research, hard work and trial and error, I could see how my skills could be developed in this field.
I do therefore agree that we should be doing more to introduce more people, generally, to the world of coding and I hope my blog inspires a few more people (men and women alike) to pick up a book and dabble.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Digitia .