This year for International Women’s Day, FDM Group aims to walk hand-in-hand with women returners to work. Women who take extended career breaks, often to fulfil childcare responsibilities, tend to face a systemic bias when they return. This bias, termed ‘career break penalty’ essentially penalises those who have gaps in their employment histories.
The penalty can range from these women being hired for lower skill roles to outright rejection. According to a study by PWC, three out of five women returning to the workforce will move to a lower skill role. A lower skill role immediately reduces their earnings by a third.
We at FDM recognise the exclusive value that returners bring to businesses. And so, we aim to match their unique skills and experiences to existing talent gaps in the market. Our Returner’s Programme hopes to address career break penalty and facilitate the return and reintegration of women into the workforce.
- 75% of FDM’s Returners identify as women
- There are 161 currently on the Returner’s Programme
- Our consultants have had career breaks ranging between 1 and 20 years with the average break being 5 years
The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #breakthebias
According to a study by PWC:
- Just 27% of women consider a career in tech, compared to 61% of men
- Only 3% of women say that a career in tech is their first choice
- 16% of women have had a career in technology suggested to them compared to 33% males
These stats are directly tied to the fact that more boys study STEM subjects at school than girls. And this trend continues into their careers.
FDM is committed to help #breakthebias. We want to close the gender gap in the technology sector by demystifying it. Our aim is to help women transition into tech from a non-STEM background. We want to encourage them to explore the many roles that sit within tech.
4 Top Tech Jobs for Women
1. Data Analyst
- What does a Data Analyst Do?
A data analyst collects and analyses insights from data to help businesses make informed decisions. Data analysis is used across a wide spectrum of industries including Finance, IT, Medicine, Law, Media, Telecom and more.
- What background or experience do you need to become a data analyst?
Data Analysis is a technical role. So, a degree in either mathematics, statistics, computer science or economics would be advantageous. There are several free and paid courses to learn Data Analysis. But there are some core competencies that are just as important as any formal certification. Some of these include:
- A natural aptitude for analysing large volumes of numerical data
- Strong grasp of Excel and use of a relational database like MySQL
- Good research skills
- Knowledge of a statistical programming language like Python to help solve complex equations
- Can you become a data analyst without experience?
Yes. If you have transferrable skills like data visualization, conducting research, minute attention to detail and a natural knack for stats.
- What are the challenges and benefits for a data analyst?
One of the main challenges for a data analyst is the ability to present findings in a digestible way for non-technical audiences. Creating graphs and clear visual interpretations for data is a key aspect of the job.
One of the main benefits of the role is that it offers remote or hybrid working options, providing the location flexibility that many returners need.
2. Project Manager
- What does a Project Manager (PM) do?
A project manager manages a task from its beginning to end. This includes everything from the initial concept to final delivery. You can train exclusively to become a project manager. Or you can work your way to become a manager by gaining project management experience.
- What background or experience do you need to become a Project Manager?
There are several online courses that provide Project Management training. Popular PM courses include CAPM, PRINCE2 and PMP. As such, you don’t need a degree to be a project manager. Your previous roles may have been in marketing, finance, IT, or sales. By actively ‘managing’ the successful completion of a project, you can gain valuable experience towards becoming a PM.
- Can you become a Project Manager without experience?
Yes and No. Yes, you can become a PM without formal training. No, you can’t be a PM without some experience of project delivery. The size and complexity of projects doesn’t matter if you played an active part in its delivery. For example, it could be a product launch or the delivery of a new website.
- What are the challenges and benefits for a Project Manager?
One of the biggest challenges for PMs is dealing with Scope Creep. This is the term used to define changes to a project from what was agreed at the start. This could be additional requirements from the client side or any alternations to the original plan. Scope creep is the reason for most delays in project completion.
The great benefit of PM is that you don’t need to be from a technical background to do it. There are lots of transferrable skills that you can bring into the role. And you can gain on-the-job experience without having to get a formal degree.
3. Technical BA
- What does a Technical Business Analyst (BA) do?
A technical Business Analyst helps companies implement technical business solutions. They analyse data to identify potential problem areas. They then recommend processes to mitigate risks and to achieve the best outcomes for projects. BAs liaise with internal and external stakeholders and document their findings to be shared across the company.
- What background or experience do you need to become a BA?
A background in computer science, engineering or business management is preferred for a BA role. For technical BAs, it’s useful to be familiar with programming languages like SQL, SAS, and VB. There are several certifications to become a BA including the Certified Agile Business Analyst Training (CAB), and the Early Certificate in Business Analytics (ECBA).
- Can you become a BA without experience?
You can become a BA without formal certification or without a background in business. FDM offers industry standard training in Business Analysis to Returners, graduates, and service leavers. We provide hands-on experience to help you start your career as a BA. A background in a relevant field like IT and Business certainly facilitates the transition to a BA role. However, transferrable skills like data analysis, visual modelling, and IT skills like programming are also helpful.
- What are the challenges and benefits for a BA?
One of the main challenges for a BA is the ability to communicate clearly. You need to communicate with people across various touchpoints in the business to compare and analyse data and present it in a digestible format for non-technical audiences.
A BA role is domain agnostic. So, you can easily work across multiple industries like banking, IT and Finance and gain valuable domain experience from each sector.
Learn more about how to become a Business Analyst.
4. Scrum Master
- What does a Scrum Master do?
Scrum is a popular Agile framework used to manage complex projects like developing new software. A Scrum Master uses the techniques of Agile Project Management to lead teams and ensure the successful completion of a project. Find out more about FDM’s Agile Scrum Methodology.
- What background or experience do you need to become a Scrum Master?
A background in IT or business management is an advantage. But this is not mandatory if you have the right approach and transferrable skills. Some of the key skills required to excel as a Scrum Master are:
- Problem solving
A popular industry credential for Scrum is Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from the Scrum Alliance. With this certification you can start your career as a Scrum Master and gain on-the-job experience of leading teams.
- Can you become a Scrum Master without experience?
Again, the answer is Yes and No. You can become a Scrum Master without a technical background. But you need experience. Since Scrum involves several transferrable skills like communication and organisation, you should highlight and augment those skills. For example, if your experience is in customer relationship management, you could have great communication, problem solving and time management skills. Make sure to stress on them when you apply for a scrum master role.
- What are the challenges and benefits for a Scrum Master?
One of the main challenges cited by Scrum Masters is time boxing. Often daily Scrum meetings that should ideally not exceed 15 minutes, get extended. This could be due to a lack of clarity about the intent of the meeting, or other distractions. To overcome this, it’s important to set clear expectations beforehand about the agenda and the timeline for each point of discussion.
The main benefit of training as a Scrum Master is that it teaches you to guide and motivate teams more effectively. Scrum methodology shows you how to overcome obstacles and think of alternate solutions to a problem.
FDM celebrates International Women’s Day with our commitment to #breakthebias every day.
Our Gender Pay Gap report shows our mission to balance the scales of gender-based inequalities in rank and pay. We are pleased to say that in 2021, females represented 33.1% of our higher quartile pay bracket. Still, we recognise the need to do more. We are trying to #breakthebias by reintegrating and promoting more women in tech.
To find out more about how we can help you break into a career in tech, check out the FDM Returners Programme