Mums in Tech – feat. Han O’Connor

As a special edition of our ongoing series of interviews that shines a light on incredible working mums within tech, MotherBoard are featuring mothers that have trained through Code First Girls.

This is our chat with Han O’Connor, Junior Security Analyst at Bridewell

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.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your current role?

Han: Hi I’m Han and I’m a Junior Security Analyst. I recently joined the Security Operations Centre (SOC) team at a leading cyber security organisation. SOC Analysts work as part of a cyber security team that monitors and combats threats to organisations’ IT infrastructure, assets, and data. We monitor, investigate, analyse, and respond to any potential security incidents.

I am also Mum to 18-month-old twins Tommy and Lily, who both love tech as much as I do and are constantly playing on my computer.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: Please can you tell us about why you decided to career switch into (/ or embark on a career in) tech?

Han: I have always loved computers but did not have any traditional computer science or cyber security training. I started programming as a kid over 20 years ago but was self-taught and it was just a much-loved hobby.

While I was on maternity leave, I had some time to reflect on my career goals in between feeds and changes.  I had worked in data for five years, but I really wanted a more technical role. I also have a real interest in cyber security and cloud computing, so wanted to explore that further.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: Why did you choose a Code First Girls course?

Han: During my maternity leave, I decided to train with Code First Girls (CFG) to modernise my tech skills because they’d become a bit neglected as life got in the way. Also, most of the popular web development frameworks today didn’t even exist when I first learned to code! I really love the ethos and the values of CFG, plus they are real leaders in the field. So, shortly after that, I started to volunteer as an Instructor for CFG, which I found incredibly rewarding, as it allowed me to support other women to develop their tech skills and careers.

Training, volunteering, and then teaching with CFG as a Lead Instructor finally gave me the confidence to pursue a more technical role and go for a dream job in cyber security, which I can now definitely say is my real passion and calling.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: How did you manage the juggle of studying whilst being a mum?

Han: I am currently working towards a couple of cyber security certifications, and I do all my studying while my kids are sleeping. Thankfully they love their sleep! I find that approach works best for me, as I’m able to be truly present when spending time with them, but I can also dedicate the level of focus that’s needed once it’s time to study. I feel like that approach has allowed me to have the right balance between being a good student and a good mum.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: How do you manage the balance between parenthood and your career?

Han: Having a supportive partner (with a flexible work pattern) certainly helps. I am very fortunate and extremely grateful to have that level of support at home. In terms of work-life balance, I think it also helps when you are working in a field you enjoy and are passionate about, as the work does not really feel much like work! It is also important not to bring work home with you; I used to do that far too often in past, but I want to be present and there for my kids as much as possible now.

Sophie @ MotherBoard: What do you think businesses can do to support mums more in the workplace?

Han: I know a lot of people mention flexibility (and rightly so where there is scope for it within the role). However, personally, I feel the biggest thing businesses can do to support mums is not underestimating us or overlook us for opportunities. If anything, I became more focused and ambitious once I had my children.

In many ways, they are my biggest motivation, as I want them to be proud of their mum. Most importantly, I want to be a positive role model for them both, but especially for my daughter. I want her to know that tech is not just a boy’s club and that there are so many opportunities there for her – if she wants them of course.

Written by



View profile

Sophie Creese