Expleo Ireland, like all technology companies, struggles to get as many women through the door as men. In January 2019, we decided to do as much as we can to change this and increase our female representation. We launched a returners programme, did an overhaul of our job descriptions to remove any masculine language that may deter women from applying and launched a women in tech marketing campaign where we put our women front and centre to tell their stories.

Achievements so far in Ireland

Increased our new female permanent hires in 2020 to 30%.

Increased our female representation to 28%.

Increased female numbers on the graduate programme by 30%.

Ashlene Curran

Associate Technical Engineer

Ashlene is from a small town called Portafery in County Down. As a girl, she was keen on Irish dancing, playing the piano and art. That love of music and creativity continued during her studies at Queens University Belfast.

What is your role?

My role within Expleo is an Associate Technical Engineer. Currently I’m on client site at an exciting International Law Firm where I am a QA on a Project for Data Migration. Prior to this role I have previous experience from part-time jobs and an industry placement in banking, energy, technology, hospitality and retail.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

When I first started thinking about careers I always wanted to study aerospace engineering. With science not being a strong point of mine, I looked into what careers suited the A-Levels I had chosen. I went on to study software engineering before doing business management for my Master’s Degree. Expleo offered a graduate program where I could use experience from both my degrees, to work as a consultant with diverse clients across various industries.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

It was often labelled that being good at maths and science will help you into an engineering role. And you quickly rule it out if you’re not good at one of them. Within the technology field, not a lot of information was provided to me in school. Only an applied ICT A level was offered and it was a very small class. With little students studying IT, a career in Technology wasn’t promoted.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

When I was in school looking at potential career choices, engineering was often seen and was labelled as a masculine role. It was almost like I was automatically ruling out the industry without realising it. You tell yourself that if other women aren’t doing that I can’t do that either! Even at career fairs, the IT companies always had men in to talk about the careers in technology and engineering. During my course at university, there was a huge gender imbalance. I didn’t see this as a threat as we were all there to learn and study together. It was sometimes seen as an opportunity as some tech industries offered female only mentorship programme, which was great for support and guidance throughout the course. There were many meetup groups promoted within the university which offered further guidance for females studying and working within the sector, such as Women Who Code.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

There is a huge misconception about roles in technology. A role in technology doesn’t mean you have to be a programmer and have high technical skills and sit at a computer and code all day. This can sometimes deter people from considering this as a career. Other non-technical skills like problem solving, teamwork and creativity can all be applied in a technology role. There are so many streams and opportunities within technology that you often don’t get told about in school and you will be able to find a space within technology that suits you. My best advice is to speak to those who share the same passion as you, whether than be inside or outside of school and to use the resources available to you to help find a mentor. There are loads of local meetups and events for women in tech and by reaching out to women already in the field you will be able to have a better insight into what a role in technology holds.

What should employers do, in your opinion, to attract more women into the tech sector?

A good idea is to trial a mentorship program for women. Women in a senior position could mentor new and current employees and use social media to promote this. New skills can often be learnt from mentors which can be transferable in your future career. By promotion of mentorship on social media, more women may be attracted to the job posts as they see mentorship as a security blanket knowing that there is always someone there to help.

Brid O'Carroll

Director – People Services UK, Ireland & South Africa at Expleo

Bríd is from Gort in County Galway. She couldn’t get enough of Irish dancing as a girl and went to every féis going. One of her happiest memories was being presented with a ‘real’ dance costume for improving so much. Bríd then progressed to playing the tin whistle and accordion – until secondary school offered different distractions…

What has been your career to date?

I’ve mostly worked in Financial Services and Consulting, for close to 23 years now! I have always stayed within business facing roles and never had a desire to specialise. I love knowing how organisations are run and how one wrong move can change things so quickly. I enjoy finding solutions to business challenges and being front and centre to organisational development.

What is your role?

My role is Director in People Services for the UK, Ireland and South Africa region. I work with both the Engineering and Technology businesses. I am accountable for all People Services activity across the UKISA region, and provide leadership and guidance to the People Services Teams. My role is also to create synergies across the region and to provide strategic HR business partnership support to the senior leadership teams.

What types of experience have you gained?

I’ve gained incredible experience over the past 20 years. This ranges from working with a bank who lost their lending licence and seeing the organisation effectively be controlled and led by unions. It was probably the most challenging time in my career but we eventually turned things around and came through it. I also worked in property/construction just before the recession and seeing the business change in such a short period of time was an eye opener. I’ve worked on a number of TUPE projects both in UK & Ireland as well as working on large scale growth campaigns.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I honestly didn’t spend long thinking about it. The opportunity came up and I liked what I saw and who I met during the hiring process. Of course the tech sector was booming so there was that initial attraction.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

I knew someone in the company that I had worked with in a previous organisation and she made an introduction. The rest is history! It was love at first sight. Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology? No, not really for me, I didn’t feel like there was anything too concerning that I couldn’t get to grips with eventually.

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

Possibly the pace and structure. Banking is a very corporate, governance-focused environment, so changing to a quicker pace and adapting in a more relaxed way honestly took time for me to get used to. I loved the ‘suited and booted’ environment with agendas and minutes, and I’ve had to adapt my style/approach in some ways to make it work for me.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

Not particularly. I’ve mostly worked in male dominated environments and I’ve never had an issue. It is still very recent that organisations are starting to look at their Board make-up and their senior teams when it comes to gender balance. I think the gender pay gap and more awareness in general for organisations will help with addressing some of these challenges.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

My initial perception was that it was tech focused so it was going attract more male applicants. This is still true today but we are doing some incredible work on trying to change this. For example, looking at our job descriptions to ensure our language does not appeal more to a specific gender type.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

The innovation and pace of change keeps you focused and allows you to continually learn. I learn most days from my colleagues in Expleo about the latest new innovation or a new client that we are onboarding. This is all down to the deeply skilled workforce that we have at Expleo and the strong collaboration between teams.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Giving your voice and allowing to be heard. Knowing that other women will support you and have your back on your career ambitions. Giving support to those that are starting off on their careers in tech and need some additional support to get settled.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

My advice would be to do your research. If tech is for you, then don’t be put off for the wrong reasons. Speak to people or contacts that work in the industry to fully inform yourself and have an awareness of how you could progress your career. Study hard! Then apply for a job in Expleo!

What can employers do, in your opinion, to attract more women into the tech sector?

I think we can look at talent pools that are returning to the workforce, such as the Women Returners programme. Many women decide to postpone their careers for a period of time for a variety of reasons and employers should not be put off by cv gaps. Organisations are looking for skills to keep into the future such as leading & managing, strong organisational skills and being more rounded as a professional rather than just being technical. Emotional intelligence is also key for the future and arguably more important that IQ. That’s probably for another discussion! Of course, having the technical skills is paramount for some roles but in some cases, we can hire people who have different types of experience which makes discussions richer, and creates a more diverse workforce by bringing a different type of experience to the table.

Cliodhna Ni Bhroin

Quality Assurance Analyst

Clíodhna is originally from Dublin, but spent a lot of her childhood years in Louth and Galway. She eventually returned to Trinity College Dublin where she earned an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation, before later studying IT at Dublin College University. Growing up, she loved swimming and being under water, gardening, being outside, knitting, embroidery and running her own little science experiments. She has continued the pursuit of creativity with art and by completing a certificate in botanical illustration.

What is your current role?

I am retraining as a QA engineer after a two-year absence. In total, I’ve been with Expleo for four years, gaining experience in insurance and telecoms.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I have a great passion for botany and I found a job at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. I was involved in a large-scale information and image capture of herbarium specimens (a herbarium is a cross between a library and a graveyard for plants). I was fascinated by the people who built the in-house systems and how they improved their efficiency and accuracy. I’d always been a bit of a nerd, so when I decided to retrain, technology was the obvious choice. After graduating in IT, Expleo was one of my first choices.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

In secondary school, I never realistically considered a career in tech, because there weren’t many female role-models that I was aware of. The internet and social media weren’t what they are now. While I went into STEM in university, it was more science and less technology. All the lads I knew were into computers, and I didn’t see it as something for me. At the botanic garden, with many visible women in every area of every department, I slowly began to see that what I wanted was fully possible. Being in such a vibrant and progressive environment, where all learning was encouraged (regardless of gender, nationality or anything else) was very special. This further convinced me that the only limits relevant were the limits I recognised.

Did you see the gender balance as a threat/opportunity?

By the stage I had decided on tech, I was both confident enough and mature enough not to see gender as a factor. I was sure of my skills and what I could bring to the company I chose to work for. I knew they were lucky to have me. I was drawn to Expleo’s values – that makes me proud to work here.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

You can’t get round the fact that there are more men than women, but I never felt like it was an issue. I wasn’t being judged based on my gender and I don’t judge others based on that either. I do enjoy the occasional girly chat with co-workers, as I’m sure the lads would enjoy something similar.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

The tech sector is fascinating in that emerging technologies keep you on your toes. I think there’s a sense of responsibility that comes with that. You need to communicate to others the usefulness (and risks) involved in adopting these technologies.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

The only limits are the limits you put on yourself. You can be as bold or ambitious as you like.

What should tech companies do to attract more women into the tech sector?

Like any company, being flexible and responsive to the needs of the workers is a great place to start.

Florence Clement

Business Analyst

Florence Clement is a Business Analyst (BA) who is currently working in the financial services sector. Originally from Cross River State in Nigeria, she was raised in Lagos, before studying English and Literary Studies at the Kogi State University. She later sat a second degree in Business Information Systems at the National College of Ireland, where she gained a more practical understanding of IT. Florence then broadened her horizons further, relocating to Canada and developing her skills in project management and business analysis. She has retained her girlhood love of music, travel, singing and trading in jewellery.

What types of experience have you gained in the last four years?

I have worked in several different industries, such as banking, telecoms, agriculture and the public sector. I have been able to collaborate with people from different educational and ethnic backgrounds, which has enriched my knowledge and broadened my spectrum. This diversity has helped me develop not just as a person but also as a BA.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

Moving to Ireland, I knew technology was the way forward, although I never thought I’d end up working directly for a technology company. However, transferring from one industry to another, it became obvious that the role of a business analyst is part and parcel of the software development life cycle - hence my journey towards Expleo.

Did you have reservations about a technology career?

No. I knew the tech industry was very broad. At college, I had struggled in coding and programming, but then excelled in project management and business analysis. I think there’s a myth around the tech industry that you need to be a developer to succeed. That’s not true – there are a wealth of other opportunities.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

Yes, it was on my mind. Most people I knew that worked in the sector were men, but I wasn’t put off. I’m not somebody who shies away from a challenge. I have since met and worked with a lot of females with a technical background e.g. developers and testers. More women are taking up technical roles, although there’s still room for many more.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

The benefits of working in the sector are vast! It opens up a new avenue of collaboration, knowledge transfer and the bonus of working in different sectors, understanding different processes and industry-recognised applications.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Besides personal development and being a valuable team player, the exposure to different and new technologies is the most fulfilling benefit working in tech. I get first-hand knowledge from industry experts about new technologies.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

The most important message I can give young girls would be: “if you want to break boundaries, then show no fear. Be bold, visible and adventurous”.

What should employers do, in your opinion, to attract more women into the tech sector?

From my own experience, I believe tech companies should create a conducive, accommodating and enduring environment for all women. It is important that women – and most especially single parents – are encouraged and their growth is facilitated. Awareness campaigns (like this one) and social media platforms are vital for visualising success stories of other women who are flourishing in IT careers. I particularly like the “Day in a Life” style features that explain the typical tasks from different professions.

Emma McGonigle

Technical Lead – Automation

Emma grew up in Derry, Northern Ireland, with a number of health complications which meant she spent a large amount of time in hospital. This restricted her interests to sedentary activities such as reading, drawing and hanging out with friends. She has been an avid fan of the Harry Potter books since they were released in 1997. “Hello fellow Ravenclaws!” Times have definitely changed. As much as she still loves reading, Emma will hike, swim, cycle and hit the gym before picking up a good book..

What is your role?

Senior Automation Engineer – Automation lead.

What types of experience have you gained?

I’ve gained software development lifecycle experience in all of my roles to date. From Expleo, I have gained much more consultative skills, client facing skills, problem solving skills and working together in teams.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I always had an interest in computers growing up. I was keen to learn how a computer could be used to help everyday life, despite having no further responsibilities than my own homework. I later did a double vocational A Level in Information Communication Technology, and then naturally moved to study computing science in the University of Ulster. This was the first time I properly got exposure to programming and computer code, and a much deeper view of the opportunities of technology.

How did you get into QA?

During this degree, I did an internship as a QA engineer for functional test team in AOL. This was a great insight to the behind the screens work that happens before a project is delivered to the public. However, I felt stifled and wanted to do more technical work. The team leads there agreed that I should move towards a developer role rather than manual test.

What happened next?

After graduation, the roles I applied for were for software development. Whilst I loved the more technical experience, I missed the teamwork and people facing aspects that I experienced in QA. For a while I was torn and felt like I needed to decide between the interpersonal work I experienced in QA or the technical work I carried out in Dev. This is where I discovered QE and test automation. It was an ideal mix of both of my major career goals to date. Expleo has been the first consultative role I have ever worked on, and this has really helped push out my comfort zone on technical and interpersonal roles. I get to investigate new technologies and carry out proof of concepts to see what would work best, but I also learned how best to advise clients and help them shape their QE decisions.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

Whilst my gender definitely made me a minority in my college course, I was mainly treated the same as the lads. Coursework and exams were submitted with a college number, rather than a name so gender was masked. For me, accessing college could have potentially been the biggest barrier. I was the first in my family to pursue higher education, I didn’t come from a culture of higher education so I had to forge my own path before I even entered a workplace that had any gender imbalance. Third level education brought with it the obvious costs. However, the UK college grants and loans system was definitely beneficial and enabled my enrolment to the University of Ulster, without this help I would have never have been able to succeed in my educational goals and reach the level of success that I have today.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

As I moved my career to more technical fields, my gender became more pronounced. Even though the incidents where a male colleague would treat me differently based on my gender were limited, these were difficult to shake off. This made me feel that there wasn’t the same level of help available for myself that there was for male colleagues at the same level. The men could easily ask for assistance and guidance, where any assistance I requested was often faced with comments such as “women developers” and a rolling of the eyes. I had to learn to be resourceful by myself, find the right answers without raising my hand for help from my team.

Is this different now?

As I have grown, so has the technology industry. I particularly noticed this shift when I moved to Expleo. Collaboration and sharing has always been encouraged and praised. Colleagues have repeatedly helped each other and are open to helping everyone at all different levels.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

The software industry is becoming more and more diverse, and the gender balance is getting better. However, as a member of the QE stream, I feel there is still a large gap here in the gender balance.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

You get to enjoy technically challenging projects with positive colleagues, employment opportunities and flexible working environments.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

As a woman I have found this sector to be very much a male dominated domain. But with more women entering the fold and more women becoming empowered in higher level positions, there is more diverse exchange of ideas. This has resulted in an exceptionally more improved sector where ideas are being given air to grow and no idea is instantly dismissed on the basis of gender.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

The vast range of roles available in the industry can seem daunting, but it means there are roles to suit all types of personalities. In the tech industry (specifically in the automation and QE areas), it can seem like it’s male dominated, however this is constantly changing, and this is a section for women to develop and gain new knowledge and skills that, at present, are mostly male driven. The vast range of roles available in the industry can seem overwhelming, but it means there are roles to suit all types of personalities. The idea that you would sit all day at a computer typing in code in a dark room is very dated idea. This is not how the industry works anymore. It is now much more diverse, and there are roles and positions to fit any person’s personality. I would advise to do some research into the different areas, talk to some career counsellors. It can be exciting and rewarding. I’ve been in this industry for the last 13 years and I am really happy to be in this area. I’d really encourage others to look hard into and research these roles to find the position that best suits them.

Helen Nicholson

Senior Developer

Helen describes her life so far in seven words: “Belfast. Born. School. Uni. Work. Never left.” As a kid she loved listening to music and going out with friends. “Nothing out of the ordinary,” she says. Let’s see if she’s special after all…

What is your role?

Senior Developer in Technologies and Platforms, Digital Labs team.

What industries have you worked in?

I spent nearly seven years in machine learning research as part of the Artificial Intelligence Research Cluster at Queens University Belfast (QUB). Then I spent 7 years as a software developer and project lead at the Council for Curriculum Examination & Assessment (CCEA), Northern Ireland’s exams board. 10 months ago I came to work for SQS, now Expleo, in Belfast as part of the Digital Labs (DL) team. DL is an R&D team so most of our time is spent in the office. Most of my experience so far has been with clients in the BFSI sector.

What types of experience have you gained?

At QUB I was part of the AI research cluster. I had the opportunity to attend research conferences and present at seminars. I also worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant.

What’s the coolest project you’ve ever worked on?

At CCEA I worked as a full stack Java developer building web applications and a BI engineer building a data warehouse for data reporting and analysis. I had the opportunity to work directly with the CEO on a key digital modernisation project. This gave me a chance to present to the Department of Education and Head Teachers, and run workshops with internal and external stakeholders. In Expleo I’ve been on client site at a leading insurance provider, which was my first experience as a consultant. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to go to Milan (on my own!) to present our products to a senior team.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I started thinking about it at school. I’ve always been more interested in STEM subjects and that’s where my focus was. I liked programming and I was always good at computing (that was the name of my A-Level course). At that time software development and coding wasn’t something most of the people around me knew much about. Most people didn’t consider computing to be an academic subject. Computing was just word processing and using spreadsheets, right? At school the career choices were basically medicine, pharmacy, law or teaching. I was actually supposed to study medicine but when it came to it I withdrew and went to Queen’s to study Computer Science. I don’t really know why. My main Computing teacher was a woman with a PhD in Physics who had worked for tech companies in the US before coming home to Belfast to teach. I suppose she proved that it was a worthy subject with good opportunities and that encouraged me. Part of it was probably sheer bloody mindedness – I did my best never to do what was expected of me!

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

Not really. I suppose because I didn’t know anyone who was a software developer and most of the people around me didn’t either, it was very much an unknown. This meant having to explain and defend my choice quite a lot around the time of A-Levels and uni. But other than the odd moment of self-doubt, which I’m sure I would’ve experienced whatever I was doing, I didn’t really have any reservations.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

IT was, and still is, a male dominated industry. That’s always been obvious to me but I honestly didn’t see it as a barrier early on. At school I was one of very few who took Computing seriously as a subject. From this point of view I was always on my own. When I went to Uni that just continued. I don’t know the exact figures but maybe 10% of people on my course were girls, 15% at most. Girls were definitely not considered in the same league as the boys. That didn’t bother me. Yes, there were occasions when you got fed up and frustrated because you weren’t taken seriously, but it didn’t scar me for life. I’m not competitive in the sense of needing to beat you to the finish line every time but I’m competitive in the sense of being quietly determined to beat you in the long run. And, I’m confident enough to stand my ground if I have to, even if that’s in direct opposition to someone. I think these traits have helped me over the years to be resilient and get on with things.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

Variety and opportunity. There are so many different working environments, industry verticals, technical job roles, management roles, people, backgrounds, you can travel, you can work from home… the opportunities are endless. The sector is booming and there are lots of jobs out there.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

No queue for the loo…It’s a challenging and rewarding industry, and when you’re the only female on the project or at the meeting you can’t help but stand out from the crowd. So if you want to make a name for yourself you might find you’re in a good position. There are also plenty of options to chop and change along the way. If you find that you don’t love the company you work for or your day-to-day work there is plenty of scope to find something that does suit you.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

If you have an interest in tech, go for it! The opportunities are there for the taking. You can literally make your career what you want. I don’t know of many industries that offer the same diversity of opportunity. NEVER think you’re less capable than a man at anything EVER. Because you’re not.

Helen Norton

Quality Assurance Coordinator

Helen comes from County Offaly in the centre of Ireland. Living in a small town, she always wanted something bigger, so Dublin was the only choice for college in her eyes. She set off to Technological University Dublin, where she studied Chemical Sciences with Medicinal Chemistry. Growing up, her favourite past-time was badminton, representing Offaly in doubles matches with her sister.

What’s your career to date?

My current role is QA co-ordinator. I joined Expleo via the graduate programme in May 2018. I’ve since worked in government agencies, gaining consultative skills, client facing skills, problem solving and leadership skills. Before Expleo, I worked in R&D for cardiovascular diseases.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

To be honest, I don’t think I ever did. I was studying a Chemistry degree in college and I guess I presumed I would work in a lab somewhere. After my placement in third year of college, I started to think maybe this work or environment wasn’t for me. Then I came across Expleo. They offered a graduate programme for not just IT grads, but science grads too. I felt this could be somewhere where I could use my science experience and work across various industries with an exciting range of clients.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

My main concern was that I hadn’t studied IT. Would I be good enough? Would I struggle to keep up? I quickly realised that everyone was on a steep learning curve. Expleo also provides a huge range of training courses, so whenever I feel I need to upskill for the client, the facilities are there for me.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

Studying a science degree, I was always in a more male dominated environment, so I never saw it as a threat or something to hold me back. Let’s just say I wasn’t shocked when I was the only girl in my graduate intake!

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

The tech industry is so diverse and it’s constantly evolving. I enjoy how you can transition to various industries and work on different projects and try new things. I’m a practical hands-on worker, so this environment is something that benefits me.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

When I first joined, I was the only women in my graduate intake and spent three weeks in South Africa with 10 men! I do believe I brought a different dynamic to the group. Women think differently to men and bring so much to the table. I found I had a different perspective on things and I probably stopped the “boys being boys” during our training classes.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

My advice would be that the IT sector is different to common perceptions. Growing up, and even in college, I thought you needed to understand coding and study computer science to work for an IT company. But there are so many roles across various industries and sectors that could suit a range of people from different backgrounds and experiences.

What can tech companies do to attract more women into the sector?

If you want to attract more girls, you need to start appealing to them in secondary school. College is nearly too late, as the percentage of women in STEM is already lower than men. I’d say that girls tend to undersell themselves and won’t apply for roles or courses that they feel they aren’t educated for. They’re afraid to know their own worth. It would help to have inspiring young women in tech speaking to girls who are at that critical first point of choosing a career.

Julia Laitinen

Business Analyst

Julia Laitinen joined Expleo as a senior business analyst (BA) nearly two years ago. Originally from Kiev in Ukraine, where she graduated from Kiev Technical University, Julia studied for a masters in Business Information Systems at University College Cork, before moving to Dublin in 2016. Growing up, technology was never the dream. Julia loved music, poetry and literature, although it was her ability in maths that set her career direction.

Where are you currently working?

I’m in the finance sector working for a large global wealth and asset management firm. My stream name is ‘API Enablement’, which is a super interesting, tech-heavy and challenging project with many cross-dependencies and ambiguities. I really enjoy it. My career has offered a mix of finance and mobile apps, digital distribution (e-books) and also virtualisation.

What types of experience have you gained?

Working in a broad range of industries and environments has made me very adaptive and flexible. The BA role is a link between the technical and non-technical world. I really enjoying this aspect as it allows me to see various perspectives and empathise with polar-opposite jobs and personalities. On a recent project I gained a lot of experience in project coordination, workshop facilitation and technical requirements gathering.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

Only when I moved to Ireland, where technology is the most obvious way to go. Software development seemed too hard a path for me – that didn’t suit my skillset. So I chose business analysis as an entry point to tech.

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

I wasn’t good at coding. It took time to come around to the idea that IT stretches far beyond coding. Even coding has become far more attainable these days. My first job in Ireland was in a small start-up. Most teams consisted of only one or two people, and we were working very closely with one another. This gave me perfect opportunity to collaborate and observe the IT team, and to break many common myths and fears around the IT sector. That was when I made the decision to pursue a BA career.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

I’ve never focused on my gender. Throughout my career, I was often the only woman in a team. In most cases, we had a great working relationship and I didn’t feel excluded. I struggled at some points being surrounded by a bunch of developers who were very reserved and didn’t communicate much. It wasn’t easy, but these are maybe more job specifics rather than gender specifics.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

I believe BA and project management niches are pretty well balanced in terms of gender, while Quality Assurance and software development are heavily male dominated.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

The benefits are massive. The sector is constantly growing and evolving, and grasping more verticals, such as the public sector, science and smart cities. There are so many opportunities on offer, so many gaps to fill and issues to address. We live in exciting and turbulent times driven by technology.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Due to the rapidly expanding and high speed of development, it is easier to progress in your career. In turn, this allows you to see the bigger picture rather than focusing on one area. IT skills are highly transferrable and can be applied in different industries and countries.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

It is very important to enjoy what are you doing, regardless of whether it is IT or not. Remember, it’s ok to change your career direction over time – it is better to try and change your mind than not attempting at all. IT is not only about coding. There are BAs, data scientists, project managers and testers, who don’t code. You should also be aware that IT elements are present in many non-IT jobs too. So it’s hard to escape IT completely by following alternative careers. For example If you work in marketing you have to do data analysis and know the basics of web design.

What should employers do, in your opinion, to attract more women into the tech sector?

Primary schools are a good place to share information and host events. Initiate discussions to understand and address perceptions around a career in IT. Day in a Life programmes are good for explaining what the typical tasks of different professions look like.

Marian Flanagan

Project Coordinator

Marian is originally from County Waterford, but has lived in Dublin for the past 9 years. Her interests are cooking and baking, reading, crime documentaries, playing video games and taking her dog for walks. She still enjoys playing video games, especially on the X-box or Nintendo Switch.

What is your role?

I have recently moved into the Programme & Project Management stream within Expleo as a Project Coordinator. Prior to this, I joined Expleo as part of the Graduate Programme intake in November 2017 and worked as a Quality Assurance Associate and then as a Quality Assurance Analyst.

Which fields have you worked in?

Plenty. In my HR career, I gained experience in hospitality, insurance, tech, drinks distribution and the public sector to name a few. At Expleo, I’ve worked in retail, utilities and aircraft leasing. Throughout each project that I have worked on, I have developed my technical knowledge and skillset by working with a variety of systems and tools such as Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix server migrations and Aircraft Leasing operations to name a few. I’ve also learned that it is just as important to have strong interpersonal, communication and stakeholder management skills.

How have you enjoyed the leadership aspect to your role?

Recently, I took the lead role in executing a regression pack for new changes that were developed for the upcoming release for a major flagship project. As part of the role, I was responsible in providing progress updates to the Project Manager, Business Analyst and Test Manager in addition to my daily tasks of test execution and triage. This has provided invaluable experience from a personal development point of view.

Have you found the rapid progression exciting or terrifying?

During each project, I have always been challenged to go out of my comfort zone and learn new systems and business processes. This has not only increased my knowledge and skills, but it has also helped to increase my confidence in my ability as a woman in Tech. Although I am currently the only female team member on my current client site, the team I am working with are very welcoming, helpful and supportive. I do hope that I can use my experience to inspire other women to take the risk and pursue a career in Tech.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I was working as a HR Administrator within a Tech company, and started to reflect on my career. I realised I was very unhappy with my role and where my career was going. However, I was encouraged by my manager to return to college to pursue a technical course. I completed a diploma in Mobile Application Development in 2016/2017.

Was this a risk?

At the time, it felt like it. The course was technically demanding and I left my fulltime HR position in December of 2016 in order to focus primarily on my studies. On graduation, a friend and former colleague informed me about the Graduate Programme with Expleo. Thankfully I was successful during the interview process and the rest is history. I will admit that I was concerned that my professional background wasn’t technical but I am happy that I took the risk and the position.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

The only potential barrier that I realised was that my background wasn’t fully technical. After completing a conversion course in Mobile Application Development, I did feel that companies would not take me seriously in comparison to other candidates who were just out of college with a 4-year degree in IT. Additionally, as I was that little bit older that some of the other candidates, I felt that this might go against me.

Why Expleo?

Having researched the company and speaking with staff during the interview process, I knew that many companies were more open to female tech candidates. They were aware of the benefits of having mixed teams from a problem solving and creativity point of view.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

I saw it as an opportunity to prove myself that no matter the role, a woman can do it just as well as a man. Also that it was a risk definitely worth taking in terms of not only changing career, but also changing my way of thinking. My perception was that it was slowly improving but there was still some stigma out there especially with more technical roles. However, a lot of work needs to be done to encourage more women to move into more technical roles.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

You work with very creative and intelligent people. Having your opinion/advice taken on board is a big plus. As are the range of opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skills. No question is a stupid question – people appreciate questions. They are also willing to help, advise and teach you. I’d add too the variety of technical meetups and conferences available to attend to learn and also network with other like-minded individuals. And the range of opportunities to grow and progress in your career. Everyday there is something new to learn or a problem to solve.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Working in collaborative teams. Meeting other women in tech and having a community that you can rely on. Your point of view is taken seriously. Making a positive impact. Encouraging other women to join. More appreciation for your contribution. There’s a lot.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Don’t be afraid to take some online technical classes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask questions. I have learned that there is never a stupid question to ask. Seek out a coach or mentor in the Tech industry that can offer you guidance or advice – male or female. Never doubt your own ability and intellect. Research some female leaders and female coders to follow. If you are passionate about coding and want to pursue a course in tech, go for it. Take the risk and don’t be intimidated.

MaryRose Crotty

Project Manager

If you ask MaryRose where she comes from, she struggles to answer. She started life at a disputed county border in Kilkenny/Waterford. She then moved at age 12 to Dundalk, but was only there for the 5 years of Secondary School. She is now putting down roots in Dublin. Growing up, she was musical, with a passion for the piano and singing. As the eldest of six children, she had a lot of minding and helping around the house – including memories of ironing and polishing silver and brass. All good training for the challenges of technology?

What is your role?

I work in project management in the IT Infrastructure Team at a leading financial organisation in Ireland.

What industries have you worked in?

Software and Software as a Service from procurement and opportunity management to payment management, and everything in between.

What types of experience have you gained?

My career has had three phases. 1. Over 20 years in a tech multinational first in operations moving up the ranks to Snr Ops Manager for EMEA. 2. I moved away from Ops to a global role in Program and Project Management. 3. That’s now with Expleo.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I fell into it – I had spent a year teaching in Argentina and came back to Ireland to take a job managing Spanish and Portuguese software distributors. Just lucky, I guess.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

No focus on technology at school or in college choices.

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

No it has always felt natural to me.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

No – my teams were always mixed. It was never an issue.

Did you see it as a threat/opportunity?

An opportunity I suppose – I didn’t think about it too much, if I’m honest.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

I didn’t think about it – there was a mix that felt natural. But maybe I was conditioned to think that? Now, there’s an interesting thought!

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

It’s fast moving and mostly positive in intent.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

I work in the Project Management stream in Expleo. We are roughly 50-50 women to men, so I guess I don’t differentiate the benefits of working in the sector between male and female.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Software is everywhere. There will always be work as a result. There are different roles within technology and it does not mean wholly writing and testing code.

Melanie Byrne

Director of Business Analysis and Business Process Management

Melanie was brought up in Dun Laoghaire on the coast of County Dublin. As a child, she was a stone’s throw from the beach, with the iconic Teddy’s ice cream shop on her doorstep, which has served the same creamy vanilla soft serve for nearly 70 years. Music and movies were a big part of growing up, just as they are today.

What is your role?

I’m Director of Business Analysis and Business Process Management, looking after the people and services for BA and BPM. Over the years, I have worked in BSFI, utilities, telecommunications, travel, online retail and online sports media to name a few.

What types of experience have you gained?

I guess my career has been a journey, I started out as a tester moving to test lead in QA, then as a business analyst and moving on through to a BA manager. Since joining Expleo I’ve learnt so much about management, leadership and how to run a business. Having the technical and analysis background has really helped me in this role, I’ve learnt a lot, but there’s still a lot to learn.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

I guess I followed my siblings into technology, I could see there was a strong future there with secure jobs, so I decided I was going to be a developer. My school wanted me to be an accountant but I could see that wasn’t for me. Of course, I quickly found out that development wasn’t really for me either, but I got a role as a software tester with a consultancy, and from there I ended up naturally gravitating towards business analysis. You could say I haven’t looked back since!

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

No, I don’t believe so. Looking back even in my early years in tech, I guess I’ve always worked in environments that were more male dominated, but it never struck me that this should be a concern or that it should hold me back. I saw that my brother had a number of female developer co-workers so I didn’t realise there was an imbalance. Well, that was until I got into college, then the ratio in my college class for male to female was about 6:1.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

To be honest, I saw myself and my colleagues as being equal, and I believe they saw the same. Unfortunately I believe it’s a cycle that the current imbalance does put future females off the industry, but really I’ve never encountered or foresee any reason why females can’t be in tech.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

Tech touches everything in business today. Even if you aren’t an industry that is traditionally seen as ‘tech’ related, there is still digital elements that will impact you along the way, so being tech-ready and keeping up to date prepares you for everything, even elements of your personal life! Tech is ever-evolving too, so certainly there is no reason for the sector to go stale for you, there is always something new to learn.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Here, I shall use a quote I recently used in my presentation on International Women’s Day, by the American physicist Dr Shirley Ann Jackson: “Do not let others define who you are. Define yourself. Do not be limited by what others expect of you, but reach confidently for the stars” – I really can’t say it any more eloquently than that!

Michelle Hart

Senior Technical Engineer

Michelle is from Dublin (Clondalkin to be precise), and spent some years in Portlaoise before and during college. Growing up, she was into any and all sports, although basketball was the main focus. She was always interested in how things work – pulling them apart and fixing them back again – which naturally led to a career in engineering.

What is your role?

My role varies slightly from site to site. I am a senior technical engineer with my main focus being automation.

What industries have you worked in?

I’m currently in finance. Before, I’ve worked in healthcare, travel/airline (whatever Ryanair falls under) and utilities.

What types of experience have you gained?

All sorts! I’ve worked with lots of different types of people in all walks of life, worked in different types of domains with simple applications to deeply complex systems.

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

When I think back, I don’t think I ever said I want to work in technology but indirectly that is definitely the road I was going to go down. I knew I would study engineering of some sort. As a kid I was always interested in how things work, taking them apart and putting them back together. I think I was seven when I discovered how the flushing mechanism in a toilet worked! The hoover was dismantled several times – my mother was not so pleased. I recall soldering remote controls with my dad and fixing/breaking Christmas lights. I studied software engineering so technology was the career for me after college. Expleo was one of the first places I applied for after college, incidentally, as I was looking for a role in quality and development.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

Not really, it was difficult to know what roles to apply for, as I wasn’t sure which part of the industry I wanted to get in to. I guess that’s why I got on to the graduate programme to get some experience. I knew that the Expleo graduate programme involved four weeks in South Africa followed by experience in a broad range of industries and areas of technology – so it was the perfect fit.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

It would have been in the back of my mind that being a female would give me an advantage in the sense that companies will be screaming out for female engineer. But I don’t feel that would ever be the only reason I would get a job. I don’t think I gave other aspects of gender balance much thought early in my career.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

My whole way through college I was always surrounded by boys. I figured that’s just the way it is. There’s not as many women interested in software engineering/computer science/electronic engineering. This was 10 years ago, so I’m not certain if that has changed. I’m very used to being amongst mostly men if not the only girl. Only yesterday I counted 13 men and me in a meeting. I guess that was my perception and my experience more or less. The technical roles are usually men. I’m not saying that’s the way it should be, but that’s the way it is.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

It’s fun! You’re kept up to date with new technology and the latest gadgets just from talking to people around you and being in the industry. I’m not saying every day is different but things do change and things are kept interesting. Working on a development team is great, I love teams (I guess this comes from basketball days) but I love when a group of people just get together and get stuff done and figure out the issues. The work-life benefits are great, and always improving when it comes to paid leave, health insurance, pension etc. I think the main reason for this is the growing competition.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

For one, doors are always held open for me. Chivalry is not dead! Joking aside, women bring a different dynamic to meetings and teams. Women can give a different perspective on things and usually stop boys being boys and help keep things professional. I don’t know what benefits there are being a woman in tech compared to a man in tech but I would say being able to dress semi casual is a benefit for me. When everyone is comfortable I think it’s a better environment to work in. I learn literally every day. I may think I know loads about something then someone will show me something new. That’s awesome. Some days are exhausting!

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Knowing how technology has changed over the last 10 years and knowing what crazy ideas are on the horizon with AI and machine learning means that the more you can understand about coding and technology in general the better. I would have said as a kid I never want a job where I sit in an office all day… it’s not quite the way I imagined it as a child. There are so many different roles, departments, sectors you can work in and generally it is easy to move around and find the sector that suits you in the industry once you are in it.

Niamh Wall

Senior QA Manager

Niamh comes from Knockaderry in County Limerick. Growing up on a farm, she was an animal lover and kept herself busy playing camogie with the local club. In this robust environment, she learnt to look after herself and get stuck in.

What is your role?

I’m a Senior QA Manager at Expleo.

What industries have you worked in?

Telecommunications, airline and banking.

What types of experience have you gained?

I have gained a broad range of experience in Expleo, having started as a test analyst in the telecoms sector in 2007. My main achievements have been managing the test delivery of LTE with Eir in 2013 where we were first to market with the 4G mobile network. I worked in an Agile environment at Ryanair helping to launch the Mobile App and Website in 2015. Since joining Bank of Ireland as Programme Test Manager in very risk adverse payments area I have been involved in Test Delivery across multiple programmes and releases ranging from compliance to “Business as usual” to major transformation programmes.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

Technology was something I only started thinking about in my leaving cert year and I ended up putting it on my CAO form. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about it, it wasn’t easily accessible to me at the time but I was hearing good things and wanted to learn more. I have a degree from University of Limerick in IT & Telecommunications which was a broad enough course to allow me to dip my toes in multiple facets of technology and figure out what I wanted to do from there. I still didn’t know what I wanted to focus on after leaving University and having started my career in Change Management I then fell into QA when I returned from a year abroad in 2007. I wanted to try something new and there were many opportunities available in that area. I’m still here 13 years later so that says a lot!

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

No. I have been lucky enough to have been able to make decisions based on what I wanted to do.

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

Yes, I didn’t have everyday access to technology. It wasn’t as accessible in the 1990’s! It was a risk for me to go into something I didn’t know much about but one that has paid off and left me with no regrets.

Did you see it as a threat/opportunity?

I was aware from university that there was a much larger number of males in the course but it was never something I felt threatened me or my opportunities. When we were weathering the IT recession in 2001/2002 I still got a work placement role based on my ability and not my gender.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

Again, I knew that it was going to be a more male dominated sector for a while but always knew (or at least hoped) that would change through more females like myself making the jump to technology.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

It’s a very diverse sector and it is relatively easy to transition to different industries and to try different things. For me personally, and I’ll be honest here, I’m not a book worm and much prefer getting my hands dirty on the job. My degree was recognised and ready to use straight out of University when some of my friends were studying for years after before they were fully qualified.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Women bring a different dimension to tech. We think differently to men and can bring a lot to the table. What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology? If it’s something you are considering then you should try it, no harm in trying and if it isn’t for you it can be a box ticked as having at least tried it! The tech world is so diverse with so many different elements to it that you can succeed in one area where you might not in another so try it before you disregard it.

Patricia McGuire

Head of Expleo Academy, Ireland

Growing up, Pat was always into sport, particularly swimming. At one point, she was good enough to be considered as Olympic qualification material. She was captain of her school hockey team and basketball team, and loved most sports. In her area, there were very few openings for girls in sport. There was a GAA and Soccer club but they did not take girl members at the time. This was annoying, but helped to build her determination. Aside from sport, Pat has always played the piano and guitar, and loves reading and cooking.

What is your role?

I run the commercial Training business at Expleo in Ireland so I am responsible for sales, marketing, operations, i.e. anything that needs to be done to grow and manage the training business.

What industries have you worked in?

Across the board really. Banking and finance, insurance, utilities, technology, public sector, pharma, scientific, telco. You name it, I’ve worked in it. I’ve gained a massive amount of experience over 28 years, where the only constant is change!

When did you start to think about a career in technology?

After qualifying as a primary school teacher, I taught in a primary school in Dublin for 5 years (interrupted by a year living in Grenoble France). I soon realised that, at the time, promotion and reward in teaching was not based on performance or merit, but was based on number of years’ tenure. This did not sit well with me as there was no basis for recognition for doing a great job, or going the extra mile in terms of remuneration or promotion. I come from a long line of teachers so I did know what was involved but I soon realised I wanted a change.

What did you do next?

I moved to London where I got a job in a computer recruitment consultancy – which gave me very valuable sales and computer experience. I was put in charge of a new division focussing on computer trainers which was getting a lot of traction at the time. While I was working there I was also going through the application process to become Aer Lingus pilot and had taken flying lessons ground school etc. I loved the technology side of flying. But also I had figured out from job specs in my recruitment role that I was processing in my day job that Oracle were looking for a number of computer trainers across a large number of sites in the UK. I reckoned it was worth trying as it looked like an interesting company. So I sent 12 copies of my CVs to different sites in Oracle around the UK. Fortunately for me, all 12 CVs landed on one manager’s desk and she was so intrigued she called me to interview.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

I was successful in the interview and aptitude and SQL test recruitment process at Oracle (having never seen a programming language in my life). Oracle trained me to teach initially SQL and End User Reporting tools and I started teaching about two months after starting – in my first year I became the highest utilised trainer in Oracle. I really enjoyed it. But I became more interested in Business Development and sales. I was with Oracle for 18 years and moved from training into business development, while still training and eventually transferred back to Ireland with Oracle and became Country Manager for Oracle University in Ireland.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

Yes, I do remember sitting in recruitment company offices where the recruiter was on the phone to potential employers, singing my praises and trying to set interviews up and a few of them were not keen on taking ex teachers on. Apparently because they were stuck in their ways and inflexible! That happened a few times. But I got around it eventually.

Did anything give you reservations in the beginning?

No, it was exciting, and a big challenge for me with no computing or development background.

Did you consider the gender balance as a threat or opportunity?

To be honest, neither. It wasn’t really a consideration.

What was your perception of the sector in terms of gender balance?

I did notice that the majority of my students as a trainer at that time were male and as I moved into Bus Dev, it was clear also that most of my business contacts were also male.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

It is constantly reinventing itself, which is exciting and challenging. New developments open up great opportunities for my business.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

Women in Tech bring a balance and a reasoned assessment to any meeting, decision making process and/or strategy. Having just testosterone in the board room or Senior Management meeting will result in one-sided non-balanced decisions being made. I don’t mean just gender related issues but any decision that needs to be discussed and made will not have a well-rounded basis without women on board.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Technology is such a huge part of our overall life that the opportunities are vast. It offers hugely interesting opportunities, whether you are a developer or entrepreneur or anything in between! Girls tend to undersell themselves in a lot of scenarios like technology, in comparison to men. Know your worth, do your research, build your network and find the job that you really like. It may take a while and you may have to move around but the experience you get as you go will stand to you. Don’t stay in a job you don’t like, for whatever reason. Life is too short and you will become demotivated, disinterested and unhappy. Money should not be the main driver, but merit will find a way of remunerating appropriately as you go along. Make sure you know your worth irrespective of gender. Be prepared to fight your corner, but not in an aggressive manner.

Salma Shaikh

Quality Assurance Manager

Salma is a QA manager, who has worked for Expleo for nearly a decade. Originally from Pune in western India, Salma grew up with a love of Indian classical dance, drawing and gymnastics. A year ago, she moved to Ireland, bringing her valuable experience in test, project and people management. Having worked in telecoms, she is currently a highly-respected member of our BFSI team.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

I always wanted to be in tech. I am the first female member of my family to work in tech. As a little girl, I was always fascinated with the technology behind computers and mobile phones.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

No, I found it relatively easy to join the sector. I’ve been fortunate to find support from good people in my career. They have always appreciated my hard work and helped me directly or indirectly, which has helped me to achieve my current position.

Did you consider the gender balance of the sector prior to starting your career?

Back then, it wasn’t on my mind, but I watch gender balance very closely nowadays. I suppose, I’ve always had a feeling that there’s still a big gap – but I think women are also responsible for pushing new boundaries. When we know we are capable and deserve equal opportunities, we should learn to fight for everything we want. I would say: “Get into the habit of fighting and don’t give up no matter what happens in your life.”

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

There are so many. For a start, you are at the cutting edge of new technologies. You are learning all the time, whether around computers and different programming languages, or various sectors like telecoms, banking etc. The pay is good too - people in tech are usually highly paid compared to most other professions. Some tech companies also provide flexible hours, as well as work-from-home facilities.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

I’d say that the benefits are primarily for tech firms, rather than women themselves. We bring a lot in terms of empathy, multitasking, quick learning, coordination, communication and time management. These qualities are shown in the many examples of female leadership in the sector.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

Just go for it! There are lots of opportunities in tech – and women are best suitable for roles in any sector.

What can companies do to attract more women into the tech sector?

Transparency is key. Companies need to publish reports on pay, promotions and opportunities. Firms should liaise with clients to arrange flexible hours, as well as work-from-home facilities for working mums. Expleo’s return-to-work initiative is very impressive.

Sandhya Baratam

Quality Assurance Analyst

Quality analyst (QA) Sandhya Baratam grew up in south-east India, before moving to Dublin a decade ago. She arrived in Ireland with a degree in Civil Engineering from the GMR Institute of Technology in Andhra Pradesh, as well as a love of mirror writing and extreme sports such as sky jumping and paragliding. When she isn’t riding the thermals, her ambition is to become a test manager.

How is your current role opening new doors?

As a lead QA on many software applications on my Public Sector client site, I’ve seen a totally different perspective from my previous experience in retail, telecoms and utilities. Before arriving at Expleo, I’d mostly worked on financial services, so the last three and a half years have proved a steep learning curve. Being a consultant and working directly with clients directly has given me a lot of self-confidence. I can work independently and quickly adapt as needed.

How did you find yourself working for a technology company?

I moved to Dublin after getting married. Due to the recession in Ireland, there were no jobs in civil industry, so I took on a trainee role in tech. I found QA to be the most interesting path.

Were there any potential barriers to entry for you to start your career in technology?

Not having a degree in technology or any experience was an obstacle to employment. So, I volunteered for full time work without pay. That experience helped me to break into the technology sector.

Did you consider the gender balance as a threat or an opportunity?

Definitely an opportunity. I’ve never faced an adverse scenario. I always feel there are equal and transparent opportunities for women to progress in technology.

What are the benefits of working in the tech sector?

There are many opportunities in respect to jobs, career paths and enjoying a balanced life. Technology is a driving force in most industries, so there is more scope of career transition between technologies and industries.

What are the benefits of being a woman in tech?

This isn’t specific to women, but the technology sector gives access to work in multinational companies, allowing you to work in other countries. You get the chance to network with many people from many cultural backgrounds.

What advice would you give to young girls who may or may not be considering a career in technology?

There is a world of opportunities in tech sector for women. Young girls should explore computer programming in schools and participate in enterprise level competitions. They will get to know what area of technology they are interested in. Nothing is impossible. This is proven by a lot of women reaching top positions in the tech sector.

What should employers do, in your opinion, to attract more women into the tech sector?

They can conduct workshops, one-to-one meet ups and events dedicated to women. Or why not develop summer internship programmes with an emphasis on encouraging women? This would help women to overcome any fears or concerns they have about tech, and instead focus on the good reasons to take up a new career.