'Don't give up' – DMU grad's message to women in tech


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Studying at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has helped Selina Hayat land a job with an international provider of technology products and services.

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Since graduating with a Computing BSc (Hons) in January, Selina has been working as a junior IT analyst at CDW, an American company with clients ranging business, government and education.

Based at its branch in her hometown of Peterborough, she supports customers with IT solutions by troubleshooting and suggesting appropriate hardware and software.

A typical day in her varied role could involve logging calls, communicating progress updates to clients, escalating critical issues, attending remote sites and conducting database repairs.

The 22-year-old said: “I’ve learned so much already and there are lots of exciting progression routes within the company, which is a great start to my career.

“Employees often get to go to CDW’s headquarters in Illinois in the USA to meet clients, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can join a trip soon. I’m also looking forward to gaining the industry experience I need to progress on to a postgraduate degree in cyber security.”

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Choosing to study a male-dominated subject was a daunting decision for Selina at first, even though she has been ‘technically-minded’ since she was a child.

“I was nervous about doing my course. I was worried that I wouldn’t be considered practical enough and that it would be harder to pursue a career in the subject,” she said.

“The first few weeks felt tough, but with the high level of support on offer and the effort I put into it, I began to make progress. I’m happy to say I could not have made a better choice and I don’t feel I would be where I am today without this course.

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“One piece of advice I would give to any woman pursuing this path is ‘don’t give up’. Each and every course out there is for everyone. There is no label attached saying ‘this is for men’ or ‘this is for women’ and young girls should be encouraged from earlier on to study STEM subjects.

“It’s time to change the narrative and to get away from the stereotype that technology is just for men.”

During her last two years at DMU, Selina was a course representative, taking her coursemates’ concerns forward and working with academics to make positive changes.

She said: “I’m so proud I chose Computing at DMU. It’s a great course, with lots of academic and personal support provided, plus it holds real value with employers and it opens up so many doors.

“Being a woman in tech has actually given me a lot of confidence and made me realise I am more respected than I realised. It also gave me an advantage when applying for jobs, because the industry is in need of skilled women.”

Posted on Thursday 4th April 2019

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