What does your job as an SFE involve?
As the Senior Frontend Engineer, I work closely with our Lead Frontend Developer Sam to pull requests and estimates. Usually, that process involves lots of meetings with clients and our team where we discuss the specifications and complexities of each build.
The other massive part of the role is the developing. Part of that is constantly learning new technologies and keeping up with the evolutions of the industry. New versions of frameworks are always coming out and it’s easy to fall behind technically if you don’t put the effort into constantly learning.
What was your route into tech like?
My route into tech was a bit unorthodox. At university, I studied photography and hadn’t really had much exposure to tech. Then I built a website as part of a module and just continued to teach myself frontend developing. From there I got my first job, learnt a lot and then eventually came to work at Netsells about 18 months ago. There are actually quite a few self-taught developers here and it’s great that as a company we care more about whether someone has the skills and potential required rather than their formal qualifications.
How does Netsells compare to your previous jobs?
Netsells is completely different to my previous jobs. At both of those, I was the only woman working there. Here there are five women which may not seem like many to those outside the industry but is actually really rare, especially in smaller companies.
The fact that Netsells is a digital agency also means there’s much more opportunity here to progress than in my previous roles. I started here 18 months ago in a less senior role and progressed relatively quickly to my current role. Working at an agency means that your skill set is is always improving and that’s been reflected in my career progression here.
What is something Netsells excels at?
I would say that the working environment here is one of the best I’ve encountered. The social aspect of the company is great - we have fortnightly socials, regular pool sessions at lunch and there’s usually free food of some variety in the offices.
On the corporate side, you really do feel listened to and respected as a woman. I’ve been able to bring up issues and had really productive conversations about what we as a company can do to support women in tech.
Off the back of those discussions, I’ve been able to go to conferences such as the Women of Silicon Roundabout earlier this year. Likewise, we are always encouraged to attend technical conferences such as the Vuejs London Conference.
Where do you think we could improve?
It can be really tricky to pinpoint areas for improvement in smaller companies as the size naturally means there is less opportunity for progressions. People can’t (and shouldn’t be) displaced from their roles to fulfil positive discrimination quotas.
We’ve made a lot of effort recently, though, in improving our hiring process. Specifically, ensuring our jobs descriptions are worded inclusively.
In the future, I would like to see us participate more in supporting educational initiatives. We’ve pledged our support for PwC’s #TechSheCan Charter and it would be great to get more involved with carrying out their mission of ‘changing the ratio’. I believe the problem starts at the level of primary education so preventing that cycle from reoccurring is really important.
As a company we are making proactive steps to ensure that everyone feels like they have a space and they belong; that’s something I’m really proud of.
Earlier this year you attended the Women of Silicon Roundabout Conference, what was that like?
It was a really great event, so uplifting to see just how many big names were present. The conference was spread out over two days but even that didn’t feel like enough time to listen to all the incredible talks. There were so many great talks and it felt so empowering to hear the stories of so many other women in the industry.
Probably my favourite talk, though, was Jody Davids of PepsiCo’s ‘Life Shapes Leadership talk’. She talked about how resilience can actually help you succeed and go far in the workplace. Her words really hit home and I was in complete awe at the end of her 30 minute slot. I’m pretty sure there were some teary eyes in the audience - mine included. We’re already making plans to attend next year’s conference which I’m sure will be just as good.