A survival guide to being a woman in Computer Science

Sorcha Corrigan

Embarking on your adventure into the world of computer science is both exciting and daunting when you’re a woman in a subject dominated by men. Luckily, at Durham my fears were quickly put to rest when I discovered the welcoming atmosphere and endless opportunities that awaited me. In this blog, I want to shed light on my experience as a first year student of Computer Science at Durham University and illuminate how the AMI Women in Tech Scholarship helped me – and how it could help you too!

The scholarship

Before I came to Durham, I heard about the AMI Women in Tech Scholarship and decided there would be no harm in applying.

The application involved me recording a video about what diversity in technology meant to me. It was super easy and fun to express my creativity. When I later got the email that I was awarded the scholarship, I was over the moon! If I had any doubt about choosing Durham before, then this set itself as my top choice.

With the scholarship, not only does it give you the financial help but also an opportunity to work closely with the department and encourage more girls into the industry without it being a large time commitment – basically, whatever time you want to put into it and how ambitious your goals are, you can do it. There is no pressure, just a platform from which to do so!

If you’re interested at all, I urge you to look into it (see link in ‘Discover more’ area below).

Community

If you’re considering pursuing Computer Science or a similar STEM subject, you’re likely no stranger to sitting in a classroom full of boys. However, at Durham University we are boasting nearly double the national average of women enrolled in Computer Science with a remarkable 30% in 2020 (source: Palatinate). It’s a minority but a statistic that’s increasing each year.

Finding your friends and likeminded connections with women at Durham is super easy. When I first arrived here, I became an active member of CompSoc, Women in STEM and the Women In Technology Society. Bonding over free pizza with people from the course – and even occasional lecturers – it’s the perfect environment for making friends. All you need to do is turn up!

Opportunities

A whole world of possibilities opens up, joining these societies. They offer a plethora of opportunities through frequent networking events and a variety of weekly activities. During my time there, I met numerous friends from various years and diverse academic backgrounds.

What’s even more exciting is that both Women in Tech and STEM have their own mentorship programmes. These programmes provide a chance to connect with seasoned individuals who can offer insights and help lead you towards your goals. By the end of the academic year, I had expanded my network significantly and built connections that made me feel like I truly belonged in this vibrant community.

Durham’s reputation also attracts many companies eager to engage with local talent. There is a real push to get more women in the field, and you can witness this in action. For instance, with Women in Tech we have had networking meals with companies, and we get to see loads of tech firms at DurHack (Durham University’s annual hackathon). Having the AMI Scholarship really helped me set myself out from the crowd, it has been an invaluable asset to my CV.

As you immerse yourself in the myriad of activities during your time here at Durham, you’ll find ample opportunities to enhance your CV. Being a woman in this field is no longer a disadvantage; in fact, it’s increasingly becoming an asset! Companies are seeking to diversify their workforce, and Durham is trying to help in this positive change. So, seize your opportunities and make your mark! Here at Durham as a woman, let your career prospects soar!!

Discover more

Create your own personalised prospectus here

Follow our students on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube

Check out more details about the application here

Please click here to view information about the Computer Science courses at Durham University.

Sorcha Corrigan

Hi, I'm a first year studying Computer Science from Josephine Butler College.

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