International Women’s Day: An Interview with Charlie

Drawing inspiration from the women around us this International Women’s Day, we spoke to Charlie Rowley, Studio Manager at Code23. Charlie shares her insights on “women in tech” and offers advice for any women considering a career in the technology industry.

What is your role at Code23 and what does it entail?

I am the Studio Manager at Code23. I wear many hats and have a variety of responsibilities, covering all aspects of the business. The responsibilities provide me an overall understanding of our day to day operations. Having that oversight enables me to understand our current business processes and focus on improving them to benefit both the company and our clients.

Secondary to that, I am involved in our day to day business financials, including creditor and debtor management, project managing studio capacity and supporting the project management team in producing functional requirements.

Have you always worked in tech?

No, having finished my university degree I decided to explore areas outside of Mechanical Engineering and Code23 were advertising for a Studio Manager. I felt that taking on a role such as this would be a great foundation in understanding businesses in general as well as expanding my experience within STEM.

Why did you decide to work in tech, and what do you enjoy about it?

Throughout my time at university I enjoyed and excelled in problem solving, critical analysis and collaboration. Having explored engineering in my degree I thought that I would benefit by extending my experience into technology to provide me with more information to aid in my career path decisions.

Having worked in technology for the last 18 months, in the role that I have, it has allowed me to continue learning from those around me. One of the biggest positives of working at Code23 is that there is always something new to research, explore or learn. The team share my passion and drive to produce the best product possible for our clients.

In your opinion, why is it important that more women go into tech?

When I was at university, on a course of roughly 250 students there were 6 women. One of our big project assignments involved working in groups of 4, my lecturer requested that there were as many mixed groups as possible. At the time they didn’t explain why. Once the projects were graded, they showed the marking breakdown for areas such as critical thinking and initial ideas. The mixed groups dominated in these areas resulting in higher overall grades.

When explaining how this translated to industry, they highlighted that women and men will approach a problem from two completely different angles, based on their strengths and life experiences. Having two different perspectives when working on a project will allow you to see so many more opportunities and solutions that without the other perspective would never have been possible.

This is such an important driver for development and progress within any industry that is constantly evolving and moving forward. It was obvious from the assignment that including women in a male dominated environment could only positively benefit the project outcome.

Is there anyone (male or female) that inspires you in your career?

Whilst I am now and have always been surrounded by mentors, peers (and family) who have inspired me in many different ways, a letter to the editor of the Easterner in 2015 inspired me to look at a career within STEM.

“To the women in my engineering classes: While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal. Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal? I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills.

In grade school I never had to fear being rejected by my peers because of my interests. I was not bombarded by images and slogans telling me that my true worth was in how I look, and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought too masculine. I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender. I have had no difficulty whatsoever with a boys club mentality, and I will not face added scrutiny or remarks of my being the “diversity hire.” When I experience success the assumption of others will be that I earned it. So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.”

What piece of advice would you give a woman thinking of starting a career in tech?

Just go for it! Even if you just had one thought about pursuing a career in tech and are not yet sure if it is completely for you, you should just try it. There are a variety of different roles within tech that would allow you to explore your technical, analytical or creative abilities. There are so many opportunities to learn new skills in an industry that is changing day by day.

Even if you have no experience, there are still companies looking for people with a passion for technology, starting from the bottom, with a willingness to learn.

Interested in a career in a fast paced, highly creative and forward thinking software development company? We’re hiring