Careers for women in STEM are changing, as is the range of opportunities that are created by people-focused companies. There’s room for everyone, even if you’re still deciding what your future looks like.
Choosing a career is scary. How are you supposed to know what you want to do for the next 50 or 60 years? How do you even start narrowing it down to a single job?
Well, the good news is: you don’t have to. Chances are you’re going to have multiple careers in multiple industries. But let’s think about the immediate future – you’re interested in a technical field and you want to keep your options open.
The early years of a career
Graduate Software Engineer
Meet Diana Bite; she’s 23. During her undergraduate degree in Computer Science, she spent a sandwich year as an intern at Arm. It seemed like the perfect way to learn more about the company and its graduate programme before committing to a full-time role.
Fast-forward a couple of years and Diana’s a Graduate Software Engineer and is half way through her rotation at Arm. “The best thing about this placement is that they rotate graduate learning every three months,” she says. “I can learn about completely different things. First, I started in a small machinery project, then I worked on graphics performance and games development. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing next.”
For Diana, who still doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do next, the variety a graduate programme offers has been ideal.
“By the end of the two-year graduate programme, I will know which direction I want to take. Already, I have learned new things which is very motivating. I’ve even learned about flexible working, which I did not realise was possible before.”
STEM offers a breadth of opportunities
Staff Information Developer
Julie Gaskin has worked as a technical writer for almost 20 years. For Julie, a working environment is just as important as the work she’s doing.
Today she’s a Staff Information Developer at Arm. During her four years at the company, Julie has worked with various teams as part of its content creation department. Her proudest achievement (so far) was helping to launch a new product at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, US.
“When I graduated with an electronics degree, I had no idea that this sort of job existed,” she says. “But the need for technical knowledge, combined with hands-on writing, has grown with the industry. Now there is a huge need for content creation within STEM, from instruction manuals to helping marketing with new product launches.
Personally, I am so proud that I was able to be part of a team that all worked together from around the world to make something happen and with great results.
Career progression with home-life commitments
This ability to collaborate with colleagues in different offices and time zones is something Julie really values. “The culture here is a breath of fresh air,” she says. “If someone needs to pick the kids up early or come in late so they are guaranteed a seat on a train, there are no questions. Our managers are happy as long as the work is done, which means there are a lot more career progression opportunities here, certainly compared to other companies I’ve worked for.”
This autonomous style of working is part of why more women are gravitating towards STEM. Greater variety and greater flexibility make for a more life-friendly industry.