8th March, 2022
DevelopHer has been shining a light on a new way to attract tech talent and address gender imbalance since 2016. Now it’s launching in Aotearoa.
Originally launched five years ago to create a pathway for Australian women in software development, MYOB is proud to announce the launch of the DevelopHer programme into Aotearoa.
The six-month programme offers successful applicants with a paid, full-time internship focused on tech development at MYOB.
After completing the internship, candidates move into a protégé developer role, followed by an offer of full-time employment with MYOB as an associate developer.
MYOB’s Head of Employee Services, Felicity Brown said the launch is well-timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, for which this year’s theme is ‘break the bias’.
“MYOB’s DevelopHer programme aims to break the bias when it comes to gender diversity in technology and offers women who have no technical experience, an opportunity to start, upskill and progress a career in this fast-growing sector.
“The paid programme provides candidates with supportive mentors and is designed to offer an optimal learning environment that will see them thrive,” said Brown.
“It’s a great beginning to an exciting and boundless career.”
Brown identifies the core of the appeal for DevelopHer – that it provides a pathway into a career where none previously existed.
But don’t take our word for it.
Georgia Leng and Nhan Dang both joined MYOB through the DevelopHer programme in Melbourne and have continued to grow their careers with the company.
But their journeys into the programme highlight common challenges the modern worker faces in developing a firm career pathway, reinforcing the need for opportunities like DevelopHer.
Leng had just finished her undergrad degree and was considering an Honours thesis when an accident would change things for her irreversibly.
“I’d started working as a swimming and gymnastics coach when I had a freak accident that resulted in a spinal injury.”
The young history graduate went from being incredibly active and looking forward to the prospect of a career in academia to a life of debilitating pain.
“I was feeling pretty sorry for myself for a long time because I really liked being physically active, I liked my job and I wanted to go back to it, but all my healthcare professionals were telling me there was no way.”
Not long after, Leng attended a barbecue where she got to talking with an MYOB employee who told her all about DevelopHer.
“He was really insistent that I should apply for the programme because it was such a great way to get more women into tech and that it would offer me a new career pathway.
“Funnily enough, he’s since left the business but I’m now a developer in his old team.”
By comparison, Dang’s career seemed to be drawing her inexorably towards software development even if that hadn’t been the intention she set out with.
“I graduated university with a pharmacy degree,” she said. “I worked as a pharmacist for a few years and then transitioned into the digital health space.
“I was employed under the title of ‘pharmacy analyst’ but really I was maintaining the software platforms for a hospital.”
It was at this stage Dang decided to pursure further study, taking on a Masters of IT degree, before spying another opportunity to further extend her career in tech.
“I actually had a friend who worked for MYOB at the time and he said, ‘You know, if you want to get into the tech industry this programme offers you a direct pathway, you don’t have to keep paying for all these courses and degrees’.
“He arranged for me to go into the MYOB offices in Cremorne and meet the people running DevelopHer as well as some people who had been through the programme.”
After having her questions about the company, the programme and on the subject of starting a new career as a software developer, Dang was sold.
“I applied for the programme immediately and was very lucky to be accepted – and that’s how I’ve ended up where I am today.”
Despite coming from very different backgrounds, both Leng and Dang have overcome obstacles to have a successful career in software development and it’s the unique perspectives they bring that makes the entire programme so worthwhile.
As an example, Leng finds it difficult to sit at a desk for long periods of time due to her injuries and has since had to design her own ‘lay-down’ workspace, whereby a projector delivers her screen workspace onto the ceiling above her, while she manipulates a split keyboard.
“I have what I would call a ‘silent disability’ in the sense that I look fit and healthy so you wouldn’t know that I’m in so much pain that I need to work while lying down,” she said.
“Being able to solve a challenge like that in my own work inspires me to solve challenges for others through my work, and MYOB seeks to enhance diversity in its teams for just that reason.”
For Dang, DevelopHer has given her something she never thought she’d have: a job she truly loves.
“I got into being a pharmacist because I thought that’s what my parents wanted me to do,” she said. “But I’d been building websites since I was in my teens.
“The passion for tech has always been there, so this programme has really helped me to find my true calling.”
At the same time, the DevelopHer candidates recognise there’s more good work to be done in supporting women, even at MYOB where, as a microcosm of the tech industry at large, the field remains skewed towards male talent.
“I’m currently the only woman in my team,” said Leng, “but we will often have junior developers rotate through who are women, and in each of those circumstances I’m making a conscious effort to ensure their voices are heard and they’re made to feel welcome.
“I know that every time I do we end up with a better result for our team and, ultimately, for our customers.”
Dang’s experience mirrors that of Leng, but she also feels the tech industry has also come a long way in the way it treats women workers.
“We’re encouraged to learn and we’re encouraged to be transparent when we need help, so I feel it’s just a very supportive industry,” she said.
“But the fact is tech is still not promoted as much as it could be as a desirable career path for young women, and that means there’s just less of us.
“I truly hope that begins to change soon.”
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The DevelopHer programme will see two candidates in New Zealand offered an online scholarship with MYOB tertiary partner, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), a paid salary while they learn, and exclusive tutorial and coaching sessions.
Successful applicants will commence their study in July through to November, with an elective in the New Year. Applicants will then join the February 2023 protégé cohort in the MYOB Future Makers Academy.
Future Maker’s Academy Protégé Developer and former Digital Marketing Specialist, Mehak Mahajan, completed the DevelopHer programme in Australia in February this year and said the decision to go back and study was a challenge she’s grateful she took on.
“The supportive environment you are in for DevelopHer, with mentors and friends helping you along every step of the way, had me constantly improving and excited about my future career in the sector.
“I assure you, no one can stop women when they start believing in themselves!”
The DevelopHer programme is open to women of all ages, backgrounds and skillsets. For more information or to apply for one of the two places in the first ever New Zealand DevelopHer intake, head to our careers site for more detail. Prospective Australian candidates will find their respective careers site here.