A Leeds-based devops graduate says she has seen technology companies openly appeal to men by using the word 'he' in job adverts.

Pauline Narvas is a graduate in devops - which mixes the disciplines of development and operations - for telecoms giant EE who recently graduated from the University of Sheffield.

She says tech companies must start taking diversity seriously and embrace a cultural change in order to keep women in tech.

“Companies need to really look at their culture and see if they're unintentionally doing things like using language that’s towards one gender,” she told BusinessCloud.

“I've seen job descriptions that say things like 'he should be able to do this', which is bad practice.

“Hiring managers tend to pick candidates that look more like them and if you look at big tech companies most of their developers and directors are white men.

“There are so many Women in Tech events and so many women voicing their concerns but it feels like the people on top sometimes don't take it seriously.”

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The other important step is to make the sector seem more accessible for girls at a young age, says Narvas, who found herself the only girl in her school doing GCSE computing.

“I felt so out of place that I never answered questions in class,” she said. “After that I was going to do a computing or IT A-Level but I didn’t want to if I was going to be the only girl. I remember that was a conscious decision.”

Instead young women need tech role models to be shown to them ‘every single day’.

Her comments come as BusinessCloud continues its hunt for 101 Female Entrepreneurs in Tech with the deadline for entries 28th September.

→  Nominate a female tech entrepreneur now!

Narvas herself is part of the solution, having been an ambassador for Women in Tech organisation Code First: Girls while at university.

“I remember even in science they'd tell me about the best scientists in the world and they'd be all white men,” she said. “When I was younger I didn’t really think about it but it does make a huge impact on people who study STEM.”

Having started coding websites aged eight ‘just for fun’ Narvas rediscovered her love of tech after Code First: Girls emailed women on her degree course to come and learn about coding.

She then went on to become a CFG instructor at the university and then to help the organisation with its corporate programme, going into places like Vodafone to teach kids how to build a website.

“Code First: Girls really changed the direction of everything for me,” said Narvas who, after completing a placement at a HealthTech company this summer, has now got a graduate role at EE.

“I did a STEM degree but when I started focusing more on the more practical side of tech it definitely opened up so many doors for me, more than I ever realised.

“I’m lucky to get a job straight out of uni because I know a lot of other grads on my biomedical science course haven’t – even though it’s a great degree, if you don’t want to be an academic or a lab technician it’s quite difficult to get a job.

“Going beyond my degree, especially in tech, has opened so many opportunities for me.” 

How to enter BusinessCloud's 101 Female Entrepreneurs in Tech list:

  • If you would like to nominate someone else please email  femaleentrepreneurs@businesscloud.co.uk  with contact information for the nominee if possible
  • If you are a female entrepreneur wishing to nominate yourself simply complete the following questionnaire so we can find out a bit more about you and your business, making sure to include contact details
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