My experience being a woman in a male dominated industry
Student Spotlight | Olivia Emms
Olivia is a first-year student on the BSc (Hons) Computer Science Course at Leeds Beckett University. Here, she shares her experience of being a female in a male dominated industry.
My name is Olivia Emms, I am a first-year student at Leeds Beckett University and I am embracing every challenge that is thrown at me. Whether this is learning a new programming language or using hardware like a Raspberry Pi.
My journey as a female in the industry so far
I have studied computer science for 6 years now, developing my knowledge through GCSE, A-Level and now at university. During this time, I have always been one of the only girls in the class – I was even the first female to study the subject at A-Level in my school. This has been both challenging and rewarding for me. One of the bigger challenges for me has been making sure my voice is heard amongst the crowd, which is why it has been so important for me to show my capabilities and work ethic.
When I was doing my A-levels I had the chance to be an ambassador for the computer science subject. This allowed me to really push my voice and hopefully inspire other females to consider a subject they once thought wasn’t for them.
Women from childhood are told that areas like technology aren’t within their grasp. Whether it's from being overlooked in the classroom, pink tax or parental figures. It is so engrained in our culture that women don’t have an opportunity in this field. Along with this, women can be pushed aside for male counterparts when it comes to hiring in companies for technology roles. We are slowly seeing this develop with big companies holding events around bringing women into the industry which allows us to have our voices heard, not fear judgment, and not be overlooked.
My university experience
After completing my first semester, I am now halfway through my second semester and I am proud of where I have come. I have learnt so much. We have now touched on 3 different programming languages including Python, Java and C. I learnt about Python in lower education, but Java and C were completely new experiences for me, Introducing class systems has worked well with my other modules as alongside object-orientated programming we are studying databases using Oracle APEX.
Studying computer science at Leeds Beckett University has improved my computing knowledge so much and has allowed me to see different sides of the computing industry.
My plans for the future
In April, I will be attending an internship with Amazon to enhance my employability skills around the software engineering topic. This is a female only event which I think is so important as computing is a very male dominated industry and has been for some time now. This was an event sent to me by the university. I am so grateful that we get the information around these events as for many students, their schedule is jam-packed and searching for these can be a struggle not only with time but where to look and what companies offer these services.
Only a month later in May I will be travelling to Nepal with 3 other students from my year and another 4 in the year above to go and work with the university over there. This will be such an amazing experience, especially to understand different cultures and how they work in different ways.
I hope you have enjoyed reading a small insight to life as a female student in the very male dominated area of computer science. It can be scary at first and sometimes we can face struggles including where to turn next, but the support provided by the university has been so helpful.