Chloe Bishop | Gresham Technologies
This week Women Rock Ambassador Josie met Chloe Bishop: Software Engineer at Gresham Technologies, FDM Everywoman in Tech Award finalist and all-round amazing human being! Chloe is an advocate for young women wanting to get into the industry so here she shares some wonderful advice and inspiration – including the importance of experimentation when it comes to finding out what you’re passionate about…
HEY CHLOE! THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US. LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING WITH WHEN YOU FIRST REALISED YOU WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT…
I think my generation was one of the first to grow up surrounded by technology. We didn’t just know the basics of how to use a computer, we could pick up the latest smart phone and intuitively know how to use it. High-level programming languages were introduced to me right before I picked my GCSEs, and I was completely hooked. It was an insight into the technology I used every day that I had never had before. The idea that I would be able to fully understand and contribute to the creation of new, exciting technologies is what motivated me to study computer science.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN THE INDUSTRY?
My passion for learning made me think that technology was the perfect career for me. It is one of the fastest growing industries, and learning new things constantly is a big part of my job. That being said, it never occurred to me until I got into the industry that constantly having to learn also means never being fully in your comfort zone. This can sometimes make people feel like they aren’t qualified enough or don’t deserve to be in their current role. I have definitely had a few battles with Imposter Syndrome, but it is really common in the tech industry. The way I got past it was by hearing other developers talk about it openly and diving right back into learning.
HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Definitely a highlight for me was being a finalist in the Apprentice Award category at the 2022 FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards. My goal for years in school was to become a software engineer, so to achieve that goal and simultaneously empower young women to follow their own passions was extremely important to me. Being recognised for that work and being able to make those that had given me those opportunities proud was such an honour. Not to mention being able to meet some of the most inspirational women in the tech sector and learn about their respective experiences in the industry.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WHO WANT TO GO INTO THE SAME CAREER?
My advice would be to do work experience, internships, apprenticeships or just ask current developers about their experiences. There are so many different types of software engineer roles, and finding the right role for you is so important. I did work experience at a games studio and had an amazing time, but ultimately, I left knowing I didn’t want to program games. At the start of your career, experimenting to determine what kind of development you are most passionate about – as well as what you are least passionate about – is just as important as furthering your technical skills.
DO YOU THINK ANYTHING MORE CAN BE DONE TO SUPPORT WOMEN IN TECH?
I think programs that encourage young women to take STEM subjects are doing really well, although I think that equal work should be put into teaching young men that women belong in those industries as much as they do. Ultimately, we want women to find the confidence to follow the career path they are passionate about, and having peers who are supportive of their choices is a big part of that process.
WHY WERE YOU NOMINATED FOR THE APPRENTICE AWARD AT THE 2022 FDM EVERYWOMAN IN TECHNOLOGY AWARDS?
During my time at American Express I was nominated for being an advocate for women in technology, particularly for young women who have just come out of the education system. I used my own journey into tech and experiences within the industry to give advice to those interested in a career in technology. I also volunteered to help organise outreach events, spoke about how teams could improve the onboarding process for junior engineers, and was a ‘buddy’ for new apprentices and graduates.
WHO DO YOU FIND THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMAN IN TECH?
I can’t name just one woman as the most influential woman in tech, but I will say that women such as Joan Clark and Grace Hopper are great examples of what I think it means to be an influential woman in tech. They didn’t allow the male-dominated workplaces to prevent them from giving their contributions to the field in a time when it was a lot less common to see women in the industry. Their work has inspired millions of women to join the industry and campaign to end the stigma so that the next generation get an equal chance, regardless of gender.
IS THERE ANY SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF WORK IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT THAT YOU FIND INSPIRING?
At the Everywoman Awards, Eleanor Harry the CEO of HACE was announced as Woman of the Year. The work that she and her team do to fight child labour using artificial intelligence is absolutely amazing! It is so inspiring to see people using technology to solve problems they are passionate about, and I can only hope that in the future I will be able to make a similar impact.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I do try to push myself out of my comfort zone a lot, so I am always trying new hobbies. Travelling is by far what I enjoy the most, as it allows me to experience different cultures, learn new languages, and meet new people.
FAVOURITE MANTRA/QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?
“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
We couldn’t agree more! Thanks Chloe – you rock! 🤘