Being a young woman in the tech industry, Shwetal Shah

Shwetal has been involved in Ubele’s various programmes for over a year now. It is great to observe how this amazing young woman is growing. Recently, Shwetal was nominated for the WISE Awards (WISE Technology Award category). The WISE Awards is a unique annual event, a special opportunity to recognise inspiring organisations and individuals actively addressing the core concerns of WISE: promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to girls and women.

Find out more about Shwetal and her experience as a woman in the tech industry below.

 

How did you get to the tech industry?

My interest in digital started when I was at the University of Strathclyde pursuing an MSc in International Marketing. I started helping a friend out with his electric bike startup.

Attended a hackathon at the Glasgow transport museum and worked on a 3 month international expansion plan for http://www.nomadixmedia.co.uk/ as part of my course.

I then moved to London to work at a software architecture firm as a junior consultant https://www.onepointltd.com/. As a junior business analyst to assist Network Rail delivered a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) strategy plan by coordinating with heads of departments  across Network Rail's telecom arm.

I was part of a team that worked on creating an automated tool which used data scraping to collect and predict business rates collection improvements for Belfast City council in my capacity as a business analyst, collecting data and data sources and project management. Because I was the only female there, in my spare time I started organizing outreach programmes to get more girls and women interested in tech, https://www.changemakers.com/changemakers-open-pipeline/entries/explore-science

This led to another initiative of organizing a tech focused startup event for Queen Mary University students giving them access to the likes of Skype, IBM, Microsoft, Ebay as judges and mentors to help build their own companies.

I made a documentary on change makers in the UK  (10-25 years of age) who have done amazing things for their community, one of the interviewees was then invited by someone from the Princess Diana Award team to nominate himself for the award https://diana-award.org.uk/stories/femi-owolade-coombes/ after winning the award he has been getting tech mentoring from PwC and has scaled his tech classes around London.  This led to me joining https://eraseallkittens.com/ as Head of Global Partnerships and Outreach to increase the traction of the game and expand the game globally.

I made another documentary on women in tech. This documentary led to the Feminist Library in London creating a year long skills and capacity building programme for women to get into tech and won the Girls Impact the World Film Festival in Texas.

I am on the Forbes Asia 2018 30 under 30 List, nominated for the WISE 2018 awards and on the Financial Times Top 100 BME influential people in tech, which will be released on November 14, chosen by expert judges, including the Prime Minister’s Digital Special Advisory.

 

What have you been recently working on?

Up until now I was instrumental as Head of Partnerships at Erase All Kittens for the company getting recognition from Games for Change  which also led to Tencent reaching out to us for a potential roll out of our game on their platform in China, World Summit  Awards, Talent Unleashed Award judged by Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak and European Youth Award.

Helped push our efforts towards being an active builder of a global community of people equipped with digital skills in Bosnia in partnership with UNICEF.

Implemented E.A.K across 140 schools and libraries in the UK and able to get $100,000 from Islamic Development Bank in grant funding for international partnerships I created to distribute the game in 5 other countries, £1000 from Softwire, £5000 from Aziz Foundation and £21,000 via kickstarter.

 

What's the biggest challenge as a woman in your sector?

You can hear some of the challenges on this documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5zMeWrOWrA

And how I have come about carving a career in tech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBNMqrv1gP0, I know longer see things as obstacles or challenges I see them as gaining skills and learning things to grow as a person

 

What's your advice to the girls and young women who want to break into the tech industry?

Use digital to solve digital, one of the best things to do is use linkedin and twitter to identify women who work in tech and ask them to be your mentors, get involved in STEM clubs and events, free online resources.

What do you look forward most in the upcoming 12 months?

Looking at starting an exciting new chapter in my life in terms of work and focusing more on social impact and creating a platform for university students to be able to work on their startups.

Yvonne Field