Women in tech: Engineering the future

In the first of a new series, women working in technology at Iress share their inspiring stories.

My love of engineering started from a young age when I would renovate radios after school. Now I’m helping to develop the technology that traders, financial advisers and wealth managers use to perform at their best every day. In a funny kind of way, it’s not that different. The fact is, I love nothing more than solving complex problems and finding a simpler, easier solution. But as well as engineering software, I’m also engineering my future and I couldn’t be in a better place to do it.

Your purpose is calling

Some people search their entire lives to find a job that makes them happy. I knew I’d found my calling when I received my first hardware toolkit. I felt giddy with excitement. Delivering my first project kindled my love of problem-solving and a career in software engineering.

It was my brother that noticed my natural talent when I was a young girl. The ability to see the world as it was, and how it could be enhanced, fixed, and solved, was instinctive to me. When someone else believes in your capabilities and talents and pushes you, you can do the impossible and realise unimaginable possibilities.

At the time I’d never thought about becoming a software engineer, quite simply because I did not know that the role was a future possibility. I was one of a few females studying IT in college, I worked hard to get top marks, there’s no room for error when writing exams. You must work harder, be mentally fit, and inspire yourself, you will wake up every morning feeling that sense of purpose. I still feel it now.

Be your best self

To keep up in a fast-paced environment like financial technology, you need to read, learn, go on courses, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, join meet-ups, network with amazing people you admire and be open to new ways of working all while guiding a team and managing projects. Being a team player, I find the community within Iress a source of happiness that brings out my best performance.

We’re also lucky to have a global and local team of coaches, mentors, and experts. Iress encourages and supports free-thinking; the sharing of ideas, finding solutions to obstacles and dreaming up innovations that will ultimately make it easier for people to love financial services.

Rise above, get noticed, try new methods but most of all, be yourself.

As a former scrum master that coached three teams at a bank, I can tell you that it’s not your job title that keeps you looking ahead, but the responsibility of growing others. Rise above, get noticed, try new disruptive methods, but most of all, be your best self. That’s essential - you give it to your team, you give it to yourself - and your family.

An agile mindset

Society places a lot of pressure on working mothers, and many of us have had to recently add ‘homeschool teacher’ to our resumes too. But with Iress, you know you’re not alone. As well as offering extra parental leave to help us cope, I recently joined a global Zoom where we working women shared our concerns - are we doing enough, are we doing too much, is our child sticking to lesson plans? We all realised we were feeling the same pressures and talked it out. Sometimes we are too close to the problem to see the solution. Luckily we can work remotely and be there to help our kids with their Math and Science homework or, in my case, encourage my two little inventors to develop their own apps.

I've found my purpose. I love the thrill of fashioning new systems and building human-centric software.

As a specialist in agile workflows and mindset, it is no surprise we use the same project management system at home. Items of lesser priority will be deferred while homework and passion projects are never far from my mind. It helps that my husband is a developer, and we often ponder new apps that we hope will change the world forever.

My advice to young women starting out

After moving to the UK at the age of 23 and working for leading fintech companies, I knew I wouldn’t leave the industry. I’ve found my purpose. I love the thrill of fashioning new systems, meeting new people and building human-centric software to make businesses thrive. If you’re considering a career in tech, dip your toes in the water to see if you want to dive further by starting out in a tech support, developer or scrum master role.

We are the architects of our career paths. Choose a profession that makes you crave more and work for a company that is willing to invest in you, and let that be your natural progression to success.

Find your purpose at Iress as Niressa did - we’re hiring.