Kathryn Parsons

Co-founder of Decoded

Kathryn Parsons

Technology is everywhere. It underpins just about everything we do. It affects every single industry, every sector and every level of hierarchy in every organisation. And it’s the most exciting place to work at the moment.

There are a lot of misconceptions around what technology is and what skills you need to be good at it. If you ask women, particularly young women, what a technology company looks like - that picture might look very male - and it might also look slightly daunting.

At Decoded, our mission is to spread digital enlightenment and empowerment. We are lifting the bonnet and showing what goes on behind the screen - proving that anyone and everyone can be part of the world of technology.

Interestingly, it’s very much a 50/50 male to female ratio that has come through our doors. There is clearly a desire amongst women to embrace these skills, yet statistics show that the number of women actually choosing to enter the technology sector is very low. This ‘opting-out’ starts with the choices they make early on at school around STEM subjects - right through to career level.

The skills required to be a coder or to be digitally literate are not exclusive to men, yet for some reason women are not being attracted to the profession. The idea that technology is more suited to men is nonsense. It’s about confidence. Women tend to say: ‘My brain doesn’t work that way’ - or - ‘Don’t you have to be good at maths and engineering to master this?’ You never hear men say this sort of thing. A lot of digital roles require creative, collaborative skills, being a logical thinker, a problem solver - being able to understand technical concepts and communicate them. These are often considered typically female skill sets. They are now also globally sought-after skill sets.

I think positive role models can help attract more women to the profession in terms of showcasing just how flexible, creative and lucrative a career in technology can be. It’s such an exciting place to work and is evolving quickly. If you are a bright, ambitious and technically literate person - there are a wealth of opportunities available in a fast growing, innovative global job market. Technology is totally changing huge businesses. It has a broad application across all industries - from the team at McLaren to fashion and retail - every industry is now digital. Why wouldn’t you want to be at the absolute leading edge of technology? To be part of something that is globally so hot right now and which affects everyone’s lives and businesses?

I've always been passionate about languages.  I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at university and before that Japanese, Mandarin and French amongst others. My digital journey began when I graduated. I worked in advertising before setting up my first business working with brands to create digital content, virtual worlds and innovate at the cutting edge of the technology.

This was when I realised that I wanted to understand the languages behind the screen.  Without that understanding, how could you confidently innovate, cost, recruit, create or even have a conversation with someone about the work you are doing? 

It seemed that you had to be a genius to understand coding, but I didn’t want to think of it as a dark art. I wanted to demystify the languages behind the screen for anyone and everyone.

At the time Code in a Day was considered impossible, even unnecessary.  It's been an incredible journey in the past few years, there is an acceptance that we now need to understand the digital world, take away the smoke and mirrors and embrace digital skills and literacy at every age, from board level to the school curriculum.  Now we are expanding that journey to the worlds of Data, Cyber Security and beyond.

About Kathryn

Kathryn Parsons is co-founder of Decoded, a company that is helping businesses be more digital by teaching individuals how to code in just a day. Launched in 2011, Decoded is growing fast - and now has offices in London, New York and Singapore.

Join now

The real figures

BCS and eSkills have updated for 2014 the Women in IT Scorecard.

BCS survey

79% of IT professionals feel that the profession would benefit from having more women working in IT roles - read more results from our recent survey.

Women in IT

Three expert women in IT debate the issues and suggest some innovative solutions to the gender imbalance problem in IT. Watch the debate

Interview

Listen to an interview with Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen and Kate Russell, journalist and author, discussing why it’s important for more women to be part of the IT profession.

Get involved

#womeninit