MotherBoard – feat. Rebecca Newton, Software Developer at Outible

We caught up with Rebecca Newton, Software Developer at Outible and Ambassador for Women Techmakers.

The purpose of our ‘MotherBoard’ content series is to highlight incredible working mums within tech & data, as well as individuals and businesses that are supportive and progressive within their approach to creating more inclusive tech & data teams for women.

Amber @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, your role, and why you feel supporting mums working within tech & data is so important?

Hi I am Rebecca Newton, I am a career changer, I decided to change careers during 2020-2021 when I was on furlong and Maternity Leave with my second child.

I am now a Software Developer and an Ambassador for Googles Women Techmakers I think that new Mothers (and parents) should certainly be given extra support in the work place.

It is important for companies to recognise birth and the impact it can have on a person’s body and mental health. Everyone’s birthing story and recovery are different. Where women may often be hired at the same rate as their counterparts, there is still a higher ratio of me to women in tech and data so inclusivity may not always be at the heart of the workplace ethos.

Amber @ ADLIB: As a Software Developer at Outible, an Ambassador for Google’s Women Techmaker and a mum, what does a typical day look like for You?

My typical working day I wake at 5:30 and get washed and changed. My husband will be cycling until 6. We both wake, dress and feed the kids at 6 and leave for work by 7 am. Our work day starts at 8 and finishes at 4pm when we collect the kids. During the work day, I will work on my tickets and any outstanding bugs.

Amber @ ADLIB: How have you managed to build a successful career in tech, whilst also embarking on motherhood and what challenges have you faced?

I am naturally curious and stubborn, if I want to do something, I will and can. I think knowing when to be stubborn and when to let people guide you is something that does take practice but you must be open and willing to learn.

I learned to code through a very well-established code bootcamp in Manchester called Northcoders, they help guide you and prepare for your journey into Tech. They also have companies that will hire graduates from their program at 96%* of graduates go on to find a role as a software developer. Prior to graduation, I was living in Manchester and in the process of getting ready to interview. However, we moved to Denmark and I struggled to get any interviews as I had not studied in University.

I was very fortunate a company reached out to me via LinkedIn and offered me a role which was 100% remote, I could work flexible hours which as a parent with two kids under 3 I was overjoyed about.

The company had a small team, and all had young children so understood that children do get bugs and you need to take time off to look after them. The company was fantastic, understanding and compassionate.

Amber @ ADLIB: What do you think is important for businesses to look out for so those future mums of tech can be fully supported?

The transition into parenthood can be profound and people should be able to have access to support, whether that be through Mental help support, clean pumping rooms, or just being able to take calls from their child’s nurseries or schools and the flexibility to leave early if your child needs collecting from nursery early. The first few months of a child being in a nursery can expose them to more bugs, I feel like as a family we all had nonstop bugs for the first 3 months!

I noticed in the UK that many nurseries were not open early enough to get to work on time and not open late enough to collect your child without incurring added charges. Here in Denmark the social norm is flipped around a little, the working day seems to be more suited around the childcare and family hours. You wake earlier, the working day starts at 8 but you leave at 4 which means that even though you are working, you’re getting some extra time during the week with your family.

If your child is sick or needs to be off school, the priority is to look after your child and having a line manager who understands this is worth their weight in gold. I previously worked in fine jewellery in retail and the flexibility of being able to go home was not always there.

Amber @ ADLIB: What do you think the government needs to do to support mums more to make it easier to balance a career and parenting?

Childcare costs are astronomical in the UK, everything seems to be going up! If either maternity leave was extended until children are of pre-school age or if childcare was more economically viable this would help.

* “The UK has the second most expensive childcare system amongst the richest countries, between 2012 and 2022 UK childcare costs increased at twice the rate of wages – 35.6% compared to 17.8%.” – Childcare costs leave 1.7 million UK women unable to work, March 28, 2022.

According to the WBG an estimated “1.7 million women are prevented from taking on more hours of paid work due to childcare issues.”

Amber @ ADLIB: What do you think is the best part of being a woman within the tech industry?

I think having the power to shape and build people’s experiences for good. To be in a minority in Tech, I can represent myself and advocate for other women. I can offer points of views that may have been overlooked and to offer a more diverse and inclusive web experience.

I am a Google Women Techmaker ambassador and I do very much enjoy helping others join software development and Tech. It is a place for all and to be used by all.

Amber @ ADLIB: Do you have any final words of advice to our readers about balancing being a mum and having a successful career?

Leave your work at the door.


< MotherBoard is a community, content & meetup series, and charter that has been created to drive positive change throughout the UK Technology and Data sectors. Creating environments that support the inclusion of working mothers offers a significant solution to the shortage of talent across the Technology and Data sectors. We’re here to educate, challenge, and create that shift. We’re not here to berate, we’re here to connect, embrace and champion positive change-makers. >

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Amber Rowbottom