International Women’s Day 2019: Balance for better

Written by Lynda in Culture

Last year for International Women’s Day I wrote a blog post about Why we don’t employ female developers.

Well, I’m pleased to say we have a little update on that.

Alice, who is currently at University finishing her degree in Computer Science will be joining the 10 Degrees team in August as a graduate developer.

One thing I can assure you of is that we have not employed Alice because she is female – but because she has extremely impressive credentials.

If you’re currently a university student considering your first employment opportunity, here are the reason we offered Alice a job at 10 Degrees:

Personal touch

Alice approached us. Not with a generic email about being a graduate looking for a job, but with a very personalised email referencing specific work from our portfolio that she liked and why and also referencing our IWD blog post – which demonstrated to her the kind of business we are. It also demonstrated to us that she had really done her research, spent some time thinking about the kind of role and company she wanted, and that she really had a good idea about what 10 Degrees was all about.

Work experience placement

Alice chose to do the optional one year industry placement in the third year, working as a software development intern at a software house.

One of the biggest challenges for a small business like ours when taking on a junior level person with little employment history, is the cultural adjustment to working life that the person goes through. If you’ve never worked in an office before, not been used to working office hours, not been used to a B2B environment, not used to the type of professional behaviour that is expected – it can be quite a shock and take quite a long period of adjustment.

Someone that has taken a year out of their degree for an industry placement is therefore a much more appealing candidate than one that hasn’t. I’m so surprised that this approach isn’t more popular with students. Sure, I appreciate it is going to delay your graduation by a year and you may be coming back for your final year with a new social circle, but you are so much more employable at the end of it. The experience of just being in the working environment and therefore minimising the adjustment period is invaluable to a potential employer. Plus you’ve also gained relevant on the job experience which makes you more competent to hit the ground running in your new role, it gives you valuable experience to bring into your final year of your degree. And you get to earn money while you do it!

Demonstrable skillset

This was really a clincher for us. Alice had her own website detailing her portfolio of work and, most impressively, her own Github profile. This enabled us to get a really good feel for her level of skillset, the kind of code she could write and the kind of developer she was / could become. It also demonstrated to us that she understood open source principles – essential to us as a WordPress agency.


Alice was very clear about the kind of role she was looking for and the kind of company she wanted to work for. Interview processes should always be two way conversations. They should be as much for the candidate to determine if the role is right for them as it is for the employer to determine if the candidate is the right for the role. Doing a computer science degree, there were many different IT career paths Alice could have chosen but she was clearly able to articulate why she specifically wanted to do web development.

She had obviously given a lot of thought to what kind of role she was looking for and I felt sure that she would have confidently walked away from the role if she had not felt like it was right for her.

I’m looking forward to introducing you properly to Alice later in the summer when she starts. May she be the first of many female developers to join our team in our strive towards #balanceforbetter.

Update: Alice has now joined the team, you can find out a bit more about her here.

While we’re here, a quick update on the coding academy for girls we announced in last year’s blog post. We have made some progress on this, but not quite as much as we had hoped by this point. Day to day business life got in the way unfortunately. We’ve met with several local schools to gain their support and discuss the course curriculum. We also attended our local girls secondary school’s career fair, to promote the industry as whole, discuss possible apprenticeships and get a lot of interest in the academy. Our original timescales were probably a bit optimistic, but we are still fully committed to making this a reality. #balanceforbetter #womeinstem #IWD2019

The Author

Lynda Harvey

Managing Director. Leading our business strategy and culture.

The 10 Degrees Team

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