Happy International Women’s Day!!

8th March 2021

Happy International Women’s Day! In honour of this day, we wanted to talk about women in tech. As I work for BrandStencil (parent company, Electric Putty), you might say that it was an obvious choice. As a woman in tech, I’m privileged to work in a company that embraces and sees the value of diversity, not just in regards to gender.

The gender split within our workplace leans more in favour of women, however, we’re well aware that it’s a very different story across the rest of our industry.

According to a self-reported survey of the USA’s top four tech companies (Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft) less than 25% of their tech workforce were women. Amazon, on the other hand, didn’t report any women in tech roles! Apparently, these figures are an improvement but there’s still a long way to go.

This opened up a wider conversation between a few of us at BrandStencil/Electric Putty. Due to this, we decided to share the experiences of Melanie (our Co-founder) and Claire (one of our developers). Two very different roles and journeys through the tech world.

A moment with Melanie and Claire

What inspired you to get into tech?


I remember hearing about this thing called the ‘world wide web’ in my early twenties and being fascinated by the idea that you could find anything out that you wanted simply by typing on your keyboard. As a naturally curious/nosey person this sounded amazing and something I definitely wanted to explore.

This started me on a path of learning what I could about technology and how it could improve people’s lives.


Most of my jobs have been technical to some degree, but I became interested in moving into Web Development after working as a Technical SEO Consultant.

I frequently had many technical conversations with our developers about features that I had requested, which put my head more into the world of web development, and I found it exciting to watch the way developers would come up with solutions to the problems we presented them with.

Since leaving university, I often built simple websites for friends and family and always enjoyed doing so as a hobby. Whilst I was working in SEO, I built scripts to keep track of performance and my enjoyment of writing these made me want to move into a role where I could write code all day long.

How did you get there?


I was working for an organisation that represented charities in the advice sector and we started exploring ways the internet could help them be more effective in their work. We became a kind of ISP, offering dial-up services (remember them!). From there I went to work at a cooperative web development agency called Poptel in London which provided tech services including web development to the not for profit sector.

My role was in business development, essentially selling the services to charities. But as these were often the first websites charities were investing in we had to give them a lot of support throughout the process, providing strategic as well as tactical advice.

I myself had a huge amount to learn as I didn’t come from a technical background at all but luckily it was a really collaborative environment with lots of people to learn from.

Since founding Electric Putty my role has changed over the years and I’ve been involved in most aspects of web development in the non-technical sphere, so UX, digital strategy, digital transformation and digital service delivery.


I enrolled in some online courses which further cemented my desire to work in Web Development.

I feel incredibly grateful for the quantity and the affordability of the online coding courses that are available now. Going back to university wasn’t an option for me, but I knew I wanted to complete some formal learning before I applied for any jobs to make sure I was suitable for a coding career - and those courses gave me that opportunity.

Through doing many of these courses I became aware of how helpful and supportive the coding community is. It felt, and has always felt to me like the community wants to help other individuals to learn and grow.

The junior job I applied for at Electric Putty was a perfect start for me, as I was able to ask lots of questions and started working on commercial projects right away,

Is there anything that you would have done differently?


I’ve always been very interested in how people interact with technology so I’ve sometimes wondered if I should have studied this academically. This would have given me a deeper understanding and knowledge in one subject area rather than the generalist skills I have across a range of disciplines. This may have taken me in a different direction and I probably wouldn’t have founded Electric Putty so it’s not something I regret.


My only frustration is with my university degree. I initially applied to study Business and Computer Science. I loved ICT at school, even though the tech we were taught was probably quite basic by today’s standards. I remember enjoying playing around with Access and Visual Basic and was sure that I would enjoy Computer Science at university.

Unfortunately, my first Computer Science lectures consisted of a lecturer reading lines of code out to the students in a big lecture theatre without many opportunities for questions. I decided quite quickly that this clearly wasn’t the right choice for me, and switched to a degree that seemed to have more opportunities for practical sessions rather than lectures.

Many of my new classes were ‘technical’ - I built websites and had classes in computer-aided design and animation. But I regret not persevering with Computer Science, knowing now how much I might have enjoyed it.

What have been your successes and funniest moments in tech?


I feel very proud to be the co-founder of Electric Putty and our software product BrandStencil. I love working with the not for profit sector as we get to work with fantastic people and brilliant causes.

Funniest moment …

Not really relevant but we’ve had some excellent, very funny Christmas parties over the years 😀


The reason why I love working in coding so much is that every day there are little achievements that can be celebrated.

One of the things that inspired me to get into coding was the passion of the developers I worked with in my past job. I would often ask the developers if they were able to build a feature that did ‘xyz’. Their answer was always that ‘anything was possible (with enough time) - and this is exactly how I now feel about building applications - that anything is possible really.

Each time I am presented with a new problem, or a new feature, I get an immense amount of satisfaction when I figure out a solution and I just know that it's the most elegant and efficient implementation for a problem.

The great thing is that the joy you feel in solving each problem never goes away, no matter how long you have worked in the industry.

What are your aspirations in tech and for tech?


My aspirations are to ensure that Electric Putty remains a great place to work where people can learn, evolve and thrive. I want us to keep creating excellent digital tools that are genuinely useful.

For tech itself, my aspirations are that it continues to be a force for good. There are some fantastic tools being developed by the charity sector which help strengthen their services, creating a bigger impact on their cause.


I think for me the aspiration is always to keep improving. It’s nice to be working in an industry where there is always an opportunity to make improvements in the way we web developers do things, and anyone at any level can be the person to introduce those improvements.

It’s important, as I gain more knowledge, to share that knowledge with the community, and to help out other developers as much as I have been helped out myself.

Have you had any strange experiences in your career that you feel have been gender-led?


I’m very lucky not to have experienced much gender bias across my career. This is probably because I worked at a cooperative where equality was the foundation of the business. Then I founded Electric Putty, since then being my own boss. We have a gender ratio towards women of 70/30 in our company and at most, we’ve been a 50/50 split.

Also the charity sector, especially with those we work with, in marketing and communication roles there are many more women than men so that probably accounts for me personally experiencing less bias.


I have been very lucky not to feel like my gender has impacted my opportunities in life. At university, I was the only female in many of my classes, but I never felt out of place or that I had to change my behaviour to fit in.

I have been to a few coding conferences across the UK over the past years and felt very aware that I am one of the only, or one of very few, women in a room. When I was very new to coding, I felt an extra pressure to ensure I didn’t ask any ‘silly’ questions as I felt that I was not just representing myself, but also all female coders.

Very early on in my career, I was asked by a friend to do a talk at a developer meetup, for the reason that I was a woman and that they didn’t really have any female speakers or attendees. I felt quite offended that I was being asked to speak, not because I had something worthwhile to share with the community but simply because I was a woman.

I also felt some guilt - perhaps I should find something to talk about, after all, women are underrepresented in the coding world, and seeing that there was a woman on the schedule might encourage other women to join the meetup, or to think about a career in coding. But ultimately I knew that unless I felt like I was going to provide an interesting or insightful talk to the attendees I wouldn’t have felt happy delivering it.

A few more of the team - Nancy, Lou & Nadia

Do you have any words of wisdom for those looking to walk a similar path?


Good tech is actually all about people and there are loads of jobs you can do in tech that doesn’t involve coding if that’s not your thing. The main requirements are to have a genuine interest in tech, and I believe, have naturally a logical, process-driven mindset.

If you are looking to get into the industry you should take an interest in what’s happening in tech, analyse what you are interested in and why. Talk to as many people as you can, join groups and forums and take some free online courses in the areas you think you are interested in. This will give you a solid foundation of which roles you might like and then go and explore!


Before I found my job at EP, I found a couple of jobs I liked the look of, and emailed the employers, asking for their advice around courses and what kind of things they would be looking for in a portfolio. They were all incredibly helpful and one developer even met up for a coffee with me so I could ask lots of questions.

This for me was a very useful process and is something I would recommend for someone who is perhaps changing career later in life and needs to be efficient with their learning time before applying for jobs.

If you're looking to get into the tech world we hope that you've found this helpful.

From all of us at BrandStencil/Electric Putty - Best wishes and Good luck!!