Liz Longwill

Introduction to Coding, April 2018

Liz, 39, took part in Tech Returners to help her work with more technical colleagues in a new digital marketing role. She had recently returned to work after having her daughter and was looking for flexibility.

After having my daughter in 2016, I was looking for a new, flexible job with part-time hours and I was offered a digital marketing role with Go Auction at The Landing @MediaCity UK.

I got to know Beckie and James at The Landing and heard about Tech Returners. My background is in marketing and I work with a lot of developers at Go Auction, so I have always really worked on the edge of tech and felt that I could really benefit from a full understanding of the whole picture.

Flexibility can be really hard to find, especially when you want a role that has flexible hours and a decent salary. My boss at Go Auction has been fantastic here and, because Tech Returners was also so flexible, I was able to combine both. The course outline looked great and I needed an overview of software development and programming, so I was delighted to be accepted.

I am in the second cohort of Tech Returners and am really enjoying it. It is eye opening – like learning a new language – and I can see bits and pieces coming together. I find the whole process really interesting, from meeting all the other people in the group and hearing about their stories and backgrounds. It has really helped to demystify tech for me.

I’m finding the course useful for my job already. For example, yesterday I was working on websites and was able to go into the source code quickly and make changes. Before I started Tech Returners, this would have taken me ages and I feel really excited about all the new skills I am learning.

The support from Tech Returners has been excellent. It is really accessible and has helped me to bring a lot more to my job. I think the longer your career break is after having children or whatever your life circumstances are, the harder it can be to go back. I had six months of maternity leave and even in that time, there was so much I didn’t know as everything moves so fast. You can see the confidence levels rising in my group since we started Tech Returners, which proves how much it is helping.

Tech Returners is a brilliant project and Beckie has spotted that are plenty of people particularly women out there with valuable experience and knowledge which the tech industry can benefit from. Working in tech doesn’t mean you have to be at graduate level. Tech is a great option for women who want flexibility, but I think there is a fear as perhaps we don’t get as much exposure to it and perhaps we don’t even realise that it is a career option for us. I would definitely recommend Tech Returners to other people, but also companies should be looking at it for employees. The calibre of the people coming through Tech Returners is excellent.

It wouldn’t have occurred to me just after having my baby that I could find flexible, well paid work in tech, with the flexibility of both Tech Returners and my employer who could certainly see the benefit of me taking part. There’s plenty of things that I’ve picked up that I can use in my existing role. I think one of the main benefits of Tech Returners is that it gives people the confidence that they are still relevant after a career break.