My path to a tech career wasn’t exactly a traditional one

We caught up with DWP’s Emma Anderton to find out what has made her tech career so varied and successful.

Emma’s 20 year-long tech career hasn’t exactly followed a traditional path. After completing her A-levels, she started working as an administrator for DWP, processing benefits before finding her way into the tech industry. Emma values the diversity of experience she’s gained: “All the roles I’ve had have to date been very interesting and varied,” she said.

Her career shifted to the tech sector when she took up a secondment to the then Programme Accounting Group with the Systems Test team, making sure the new releases ran smoothly and were free of bugs.

Emma has remained in technology ever since, testing numerous departmental systems and working in a business analyst role before being accepted onto a software development training programme last year.

“This new role really challenges me as there is so much to learn,” she reflected. “I’m on a very steep learning curve at the moment, but my ultimate aim is to become a proficient coder and to be able to take on the challenge of DWP’s digital transformation.”

The completion of the software development training has enabled Emma to join the PIPAT Mobile Digital Development team as a trainee software engineer, a post that requires both maintenance of existing code to fix bugs and the development of new code to provide user requested enhancements during the Private Beta phase of the project. “The skills and knowledge acquired during the in-house training course have given me a foundation to develop my fledging coding skills,” she said.

Having trained and worked in various tech roles, Emma is well aware of the opportunities in tech for a well-paid and rewarding career. She makes her views on women in technology very clear: “I reject the stereotype that women are not traditionally as good at STEM subjects as men and that these subjects are somehow harder for women”.

She believes that schools have a part to play in encouraging girls into these subjects and in ensuring that self-doubt and lack of confidence are not barriers to tech careers. “At DWP the work has often been challenging but I think it’s confidence boosting to stretch yourself and see what you’re capable of achieving,” she said.

Emma’s long and varied tech career is a signifier of the many opportunities the tech sector can offer, but it’s also Emma’s drive and confidence to develop new skills and take on new challenges that marks her success.