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#InterviewSeries | Penny FitzGibbon

I was met the lovely Penny at the Lead it: Tech and Entrepreneurship event I attended back in May. Penny is a first class computer science graduate with first class teaching skills, Penny taught us some coding basics at the Lead it event and some of us even made our first websites** Penny has fantastic problem solving skills and perhaps more importantly patience, as many of us struggled away with cries of "it's not working" Penny kept her cool and figured out the various problems. Thank you for helping us out Penny, especially us newbies!

"I have recently finished my degree in Computer Science at The University of Leeds with a First Class Degree. I have been offered a position in Deloitte starting September in Forensic Technology for the Financial Advisory in London. Over my summer break, I am working at The English Centre in Madrid, my main role is to create a new website for the company and work as IT support with any issues they may have."

Tell us a little bit about your journey into a technology-based role.

I decided to do the International Baccalaureate at school as it offered a lot of flexibility with subject choices and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I applied to study Psychology in Liverpool, and a month before joining I changed to Computer Science in Leeds. It was a very big change but I realized that technology is everywhere and is a fast-changing industry and that caught my attention. Since joining my course I have developed a deep passion for technology, specifically for cyber security. I searched for roles that were related to cyber security so that I could develop my understanding of the field and work in something I was very passionate about. I had the great opportunity to do my Summer Internship at BAE Systems last summer which enhanced my curiosity for this fast-growing field.

How do you personally use technology in your day to day?

Being a computer scientist you would think I use technology a lot outside work hours, but it’s not necessarily always the case. I love being up to date with new technologies, I always have my phone close to me and love social media, but I also enjoy taking some time away from technology and enjoy doing other things.

How do you use technology in your job role?

At the moment my job requires me to have a deep understanding of full stack web development. I have been using technologies such as Django and React JS.

What have been the best learning resources for you?

No doubt the best resource available for people in the technology industry is StackOverflow. It is a platform where you can post questions (with code) and you can also answer other questions. There is a very good voting system and users take their time to answer very detailed and complete answers to the questions. It is a great community!

As a woman, do you think you have faced any challenges that a man would not face in your position?

The number of women in this industry is much smaller than men, and therefore sometimes it’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to work very hard and prove yourself. I personally like the challenge, it makes me work harder and push myself further.

What HAS been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge so far is my current job. I have just finished my degree and I am working alone, and in charge of all the development aspects without any guidance or help. It’s being very hard but it’s also very rewarding.

With regards to technology, what do you think will be our biggest barrier to success in the future?

It’s very hard to say, but I think that one of the biggest barriers we face at the moment is within Artificial Intelligence. There has been a lot of development over the past years, but I think that once we can replicate more intelligent and human behavior the world will be able to evolve a lot faster.

Who makes up your support squad?

Family and friends. I have an amazing support squad and I can always count on them!

What’s your favorite piece of advice to offer entrepreneurial/techy women?

You set your own limits. I think that a lot of women limit themselves by fear. It’s very scary to try something new, and to go into an industry where you are part of a minority, but you have to learn how to let that motivate you and not hold you back!

Thank you for your wise words Penny! Can't wait to see what your future holds!

**My first website hahaha

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