Home » Women in STEM » How do we encourage more women into tech?

Krishna Ravichandran

DevOps Engineer, Fiserv

Leanne-Lacey Byrne

Front End JavaScript Developer, Fiserv

Lara Byrne

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Fiserv

A recent panel with Newstalk’s Jess Kelly provided a platform for a number of women to discuss their experiences working in tech and what initiatives might attract more women into the industry.

Why did you choose the tech sector?

Leanne: I started in pharma and I realised that I’d be tied to working in a lab fulltime. I pivoted to tech because of the opportunities and possibilities. It has been the best decision I ever made. Here at Fiserv, I have the freedom to create things, to use my mind more and I’m continually learning.

Lara: I studied philosophy at university and initially pursued a career in academia. Though I loved it, I quickly realised that it would not give me access to the resources to live the life I wanted. I chose payments because I knew it would give me the opportunity to develop a broad spectrum of skills, but also to travel internationally and indulge my curiosity to explore.

Krishna: I thought tech would allow me to upgrade myself regularly. It offers incredible versatility as it can be applied to any field to solve any kind of problem. So that gives you a very broad set of opportunities.

Did you see any barriers to joining tech?

Krishna: There are differences between here and back home in India in women doing STEM courses. In my undergraduate degree it was a 50:50 split but it seems to me that a lot of girls in Ireland think tech is a man’s job. Things are really changing though.

Leanne: I didn’t see any barriers. I knew there was a huge deficit of employees in tech and so there was massive opportunity. I think if you’re doing your best and want to learn, people will always assist you to succeed. I think it’s great that they’re bringing coding into schools. It’s such a practical skill and by demystifying it more people can get into the industry.

Lara: I do see barriers but most of them are based on misconceptions. Some women are put off that there are fewer women in tech than there are men and they don’t want to stand out. But I don’t think being different is necessarily a disadvantage, quite the opposite. People are more likely to notice you if you’re different and that means you can make an impact.

I do see barriers but most of them are based on misconceptions.

Lara Byrne

What opportunities come from working in tech?

Krishna: You have such a range of opportunities. I moved from automotive to payments and tech can really unfold new opportunities throughout your career. The learning curve never flattens.

Leanne: At Fiserv, we have our day-to-day jobs but we’re given time during the week to upskill, to present, to write articles and generally to grow as an individual. I feel a lot of doors have opened to me because of tech and that’s amazing.

Lara: I found an industry I love, where I’ve had the space to grow, travel, work with exceptional people from every continent, and to give back through mentoring and supporting younger women and men starting out.

Are people waking up to the importance of diversity?

Lara: As a company, the work we do and the solutions we deliver change the way people live their lives. This means we need diversity of people designing and developing those solutions, for them to be fit for purpose. Diversity is also essential to a rich and thriving culture.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in tech?

Krishna: Ireland does a great job in offering part time courses so start doing and stop talking!

Leanne: Have faith in yourself and be kind to yourself. If everyone here can do it then you definitely can.

Lara: Life’s too short not to believe in yourself and try new things. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

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