Paule Akramaite-Dean is a software engineer at iZettle’s office in Edinburgh. While women in tech come from a blinding array of backgrounds, there aren’t many like Paule – who started off in neuroscience.
“I found neuroscience fascinating because not much is known about the brain,” she said.
“We’re still in the dark about a lot of things so it’s an interesting subject to explore. But then once I’d finished my degree, I struggled with finding a way to practically apply my skills.”
After university, Paule moved to Edinburgh and discovered Code Clan, an academy that offers a 16-week boot camp, where she learnt how to code.
“I’d never tried coding before, in fact, I was really bad at maths – but I loved the practicality of it and the problem-solving. Everything you write produces something and that was very different from science where everything might fail – even if you do it all right.”
Paule is one of a whole movement of women who have decided to retrain after being introduced to coding. In Stack Overflow’s yearly developer survey, 30% of respondents had been coding for fewer than two years and twice as many of those developers were women than men; proof, perhaps, that the demographics of coding as a profession is starting to shift
“I guess about a quarter of us were women,” said Paule. “It’s not a huge amount, but better than the industry. And at 21, I was one of the youngest people on the course.
“Most students were around 30, they’d got to a stage in their career where they were wondering if they really wanted to do it anymore. And a few were in their 50s and 60s, who wanted to be more effective at using tech in the jobs they already had.”
After Paule’s positive experience of a coding boot camp, she says she’d recommend it to anyone that wants to make tech a new part of their life: “I found it a bit scary to start with.
“Programming is hard, but you’re rewarded for your work. Anything you learn, you can put into practice. And it only gets easier if you surround yourself with friendly, helpful people like I have here in Edinburgh.
“The best way to see if you like programming, especially if you want a career change, is to just try some online and see if you like it. Tech is a friendly industry to join and it’s easy to prove that you’re good at your job, which means your background doesn’t matter – it’s open to everyone who’s willing to learn.”
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