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Deepings students inspired to be ethical hackers of the future ​​​​​​​

Earlier this term, Year 7 Computer Science students at The Deepings School were inspired to think about STEM careers by ambassadors from Tech She Can through online sessions focused on their school value of ambition and life in modern Britain.

Tech She Can is a charity committed to changing the ratio of women in technology and providing free learning resources to inspire children to consider careers in the sector.  Research commissioned by the charity revealed that just 27% of the A-level and university age females surveyed were interested in careers in technology, compared to 62% of males - while only 3% of females cited technology as their first-choice career. Tech She Can recruits volunteers from across the tech industry to deliver sessions in schools, and on this occasion the three talented volunteers running these sessions used their company volunteering allowance from NatWest.

Three STEM ambassadors from Tech She Can ran the workshops. Amanda Spindler who studied for a Chemical Engineering degree but decided to retrain as a Software Engineer and works as a Testing Analyst for NatWest, Dominika Glowa who majored in Nuclear Physics and currently works as a Data Scientist on Personalisation Products in the bank, and Samantha Hakes who has a degree in Maths (MORSE) and works as a Data Scientist currently focusing on Financial Crime in the bank.

The STEM presentations focused on introducing technology concepts to the students and bringing an understanding of what it means to have a job in technology. The session also focused on positive role models and beating stereotypes.  The workshop covered Cyber Security issues such as how to keep safe online, how to recognise scams, how big companies have suffered cyber-attacks and the impact of cyber-attacks on the public.  They also covered what cyber security issues we face, how technology is used to protect us online and the future careers students could have in cyber security.

The students loved finding out about the range of careers available with many of them saying they wanted to be an ethical hacker.  Some students commented that they never realised that there were so many people working at the bank to keep us and our money safe from hackers and cyber-attacks and that these were actual jobs.

The students were very interested in how the STEM ambassadors use Python to code and create the Mobile banking App.   Especially with regard to how they carry out testing to see if they can find errors in the NatWest online banking and how they try to break the App in order to check it is working as it should do to stop hackers.

“It’s great to be working with Tech She Can as they are passionate about improving the pipeline of women going into technology roles and that’s really important as these are the jobs of the future.  It was brilliant to see how engaged the students who took part were and I know they are looking forward to further sessions later in the year.”

Kirstie Johnson, Headteacher at The Deepings School