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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

It’s often said that a person’s property reflects their personality and that is certainly the case when it comes to Zeus Tech Solutions’ Hayley Marsden.

A first-time visitor to the software developer’s address would certainly need only the briefest of scans of their surroundings to identify its occupant’s keen interest in the digital domain.

From the smart doorbell and virtual assistant in every room to automated lighting and the robot vacuum patrolling the floors for fluff, Hayley’s home is a hi-tech homage to her passion and chosen career.

Having gadgets and “techie talk” – courtesy of a partner who also works in the IT industry – as dominant features of her domestic dwelling is, however, nothing new for the computer programmer.

With an engineer for a grandfather and software developer as a father, Hayley grew up surrounded by electronic innovations and was actively encouraged to tinker with technology as a child.

It was an education that she says “clicked” and eventually led – via a degree in criminology and spell working as a litigation executive – to forging a career in interrogating computer systems, despite it being a professional path long perceived to be the preserve of men.

“It’s been 20 years since I was at school but there were definite gender stereotypes back then,” Hayley explained. “It was boys that played computer games and girls were really not encouraged to pursue an interest in the sciences. It’s good to know that attitudes have changed and STEM subjects are now pushed much harder.

“The world certainly needs more software developers – regardless of their sex – and will continue to do so as automation and artificial intelligence become more and more integrated with our daily lives.

“I’m biased, but I think it’s a pretty cool job to be able to write something that helps people.”

Despite breaking the societal mould, Hayley – who is now an experienced and highly-proficient developer who specialises in tailoring Proclaim, a legal case management tool, to best serve the needs of Zeus’ clients – does not see herself as a flag bearer for women in technology.

“Since leaving law, I’ve not encountered any barriers because of my gender or ever been made to feel that I can’t succeed in computing,” added Hayley. “I’m currently one of only two female developers at Zeus but don’t see myself as being in a minority; I’m just another member of the team who gets as excited about writing a new bit of code as my colleagues.”

The 33-year-old is, however, keen to see more females follow in her digital footsteps as she believes businesses boasting a broader neurodiversity can reap dividends.

“I really believe the female brain is well suited to the fields of science and technology,” she concluded. “Women tend to think problems through in a more logical and forward-thinking way, which is ideal for software development. A diverse team makes problem solving easier; the more people you have who think differently, the more solutions you get put forward.”

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