Blog / culture

How can you make tech careers accessible to everyone?

What can you do to make tech accessible? We speak to active advocate of bringing tech to underrepresented backgrounds, and new Ravelino, Nina Nduwayo.

How can you make tech careers accessible to everyone?

What is your role at Ravelin?

I am a Data Scientist in Ravelin's Investigations team where I’ll be working with clients to monitor the performance of their models, uncover and prevent fraud on their platforms. I started a few months ago and I am still settling into the role.

How did you get started in tech?

I didn’t have the traditional path to tech. I started out as a medical student at Cambridge University, and towards the end of my second year I realised I wasn’t cut out to be a doctor.

Around that time I was exposed to technology and entrepreneurship societies, where I was introduced to the tech industry which I found really exciting. I remember being intrigued by technology and thinking - you can make a business out of that? Wow, why isn’t everyone doing this!

"You can make a business out of tech? Wow, why isn’t everyone doing this!"

When I graduated, I started going to meet-ups and learning how to code through online courses. At the time it was just an interest, and I didn't think much of it. It wasn’t until I was exposed to Data Analysis that I began to consider a career in tech. The meet-ups exposed me to the tools/skills used in this field, and I was fortunate to meet people who encouraged me to apply for jobs.

Can you tell us about your outreach diversity work and why it’s important?

I am part of an organisation called Black in Data. It was created to connect and empower people of colour in tech through learning and development. We host career events, skills, workshops, and we also run a mentorship teen outreach program (which lowkey is my baby - something I am really passionate about).

The program was born out of a need to demystify the tech industry for state school students. We wanted to raise awareness of opportunities in data. It's such a this crucial stage in their lives, when they're starting to make decisions about future careers.

"There's a need to demystify the tech industry for state school students"

We run a set of workshops in secondary schools and youth organizations that offer students an intro to the field and get them to run their own analysis. The idea is to get them started and encourage them to explore data on their own.

What steps can we take to encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to start careers in tech?

I’ve found it’s effective to make data relatable. With tech or data science there's a myth that it’s really difficult, that you have to be an expert in so many technical disciplines to work in the field. In reality, it’s really logical, and many people already have the skillset.

The last workshop we did was about knife crime to a group of students from an area with high rates of knife crime. It was incredible to see them bring the data to life, using it seamlessly to tell a narrative. We see the same thing with topics like football. Fans can throw around stats on their favourite teams and players but would never consider applying for a data-centric job. Without realising it, they’re using probability and statistics! By helping people make these connections, we hope to make tech and data a little less daunting.

"We need to find ways to reach out to talent that we might not be accessing at the moment."

As an industry we need to find ways to reach out to talent that we might not be accessing at the moment. Some students have difficult circumstances to overcome and we need to be better at providing opportunities to help them realise their potential. Programmes such as sponsored bootcamps, apprenticeships and self-taught training paths are a great place to start.

"Let's encourage each other to take on opportunities that might seem daunting or out of reach."

I also think part of it is encouraging people to apply for tech roles. It’s a struggle to apply to jobs that feel out of reach. For example, women often undervalue themselves in job applications. Men will look at a job spec and apply if they tick 40% of the boxes, but women will only apply if they tick 80%. Part of the challenge is changing our mentality and encouraging each other to take on opportunities that might seem daunting or out of reach.

What are your main concerns when starting a new job?

I think for most people when we enter a new environment we tend to worry about fitting in and being comfortable in your new surroundings. Which a few months in I can say I am (thank God!) And of course you have the standard newbie vibes of being confused for the first few weeks, Googling every acronym you come across, and trying to keep up with all the incoming information.

As a Muslim, I pray 5 times a day and 1-3 of these prayers fall during office hours depending on the season. One of my biggest concerns when entering a new workplace is being able to observe my prayers. I worry if I'll be able to find a quiet place to pray and if anyone will think I am slacking off or being antisocial etc.

"I worry if I'll be able to find a quiet place to pray and if anyone will think I'm slacking off or being antisocial"

Over the years I’ve learnt to scout the office and nearby areas for places to pray, schedule my prayers into my calendar (so I don’t forget and to avoid potential clashes), and to talk to my team to explain/answer any questions. More often than not, everyone is understanding and super lovely about it. In my previous role the director started pointing out when I was running late for my prayers!

How can businesses make people from minority groups feel welcome at work?

In my previous jobs I have often been the only person that’s noticeably different. It can feel alienating in certain circumstances. But given that Ravelin has such a diverse group of people from so many backgrounds, it’s easier to be different. That’s one of the reasons I feel like I’ve settled in so quickly.

"Ravelin has such a diverse group of people, it’s easier to be different"

The best thing a company or fellow employees can do is to create space for everyone to be heard. And feel like they can genuinely effect change without putting pressure on the individual to be a representative for a particular group.

Do you have any helpful resources to share?

These are the organizations I’ve worked with and benefited a lot from:


If you’re interested in joining Ravelin, check out available roles here.