To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, Astley Media is shining a light on some of the fantastic women in tech across the South West.
Emily King is the Senior Writer and Editor at Bluefruit Software, a software company based in Cornwall. She strategises, writes, edits and coordinates both print and digital content around embedded software, technology and Lean-Agile working. As a B2B technology content creation specialist, Emily won the Excellence in Digital Marketing Award at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2017 for her B2B marketing work at Radix Communications. She also co-founded TECgirls, which aims to inspire a passion for technology, engineering and creativity in young girls in Cornwall.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Tech?
I grew up as the internet was starting to come into people’s homes in the 90s. I was one of the first people in my year group to have access to a computer at home and know how a 56k dial-up modem sounded. Using the internet in those early days, making simple websites (thank goodness the Pokémon fansite I made no longer exists), and joining in on online forums, drove me towards being interested in computing and technology in general. Okay, and Tomorrow’s World probably had a hand in it too.
Even though I studied ICT and three sciences until the end of secondary school, I didn’t take any further formal computing qualifications. Instead, I wanted to pursue writing as a career. I remained interested in computing, science, and technology enough to get quite hands-on in my own time and keep an eye on the latest in technology and science developments.
That ongoing fascination served me well once I finished my MA. I found I had a rare skill: the ability to communicate complex subjects to a broad audience. My interest in tech, and my writing skills, helped me eventually start as a B2B tech copywriter at a local agency. Now I’m an internal Senior Writer and Editor at Bluefruit Software and one of TEC Girls’ co-founders.
Name a woman in tech who inspires you and why?
Lynn Conway, who’s a computer scientist and electrical engineer, greatly inspires me. Without Lynn’s work, we would not have had the microchip design revolution that transformed computing in the 1980s.
Early in her career during the 1960s, she worked at IBM, and her work there led to crucial developments in our understanding of computer architecture. Unfortunately, IBM fired her after finding out she had received gender transition surgery.
I admire that despite the odds Lynn’s identity placed against her, she held onto the career that she clearly loved and today, now retired, she is an advocate for transgender rights.
What words of advice would you give to women looking to get into the Tech sector but are hesitant due to the lack of diversity?
Diversity in the tech sector is improving, and it’s got a long way to go. But there are organisations out there that are aware how having a diverse team is a huge asset.
So, I think it’s important to know what kind of culture you want to be a part of and not compromise on that.
What is the best thing about working in Tech in the South West?
Being in the South West lends itself to a different outlook on just working, especially in Cornwall. Many of the excellent tech companies across the region have made a point of capitalising on the fact that we’re not Shoreditch. That we live and work in a beautiful part of the world and that working here shouldn’t mean sacrificing your work-life balance.
What advice would you give your younger self about the journey ahead in the Tech industry?
I’d tell them that they should keep on plugging away on techie hobbies in their free time. To keep making things that she loves because it’ll help her get a job someday and that she’ll get to write about the things that fascinate her everyday.