‘If I was back at school now, I would definitely study technology’

4th July 2019

Hannah Webb

Hannah Webb
Business Development Director, New Ventures

When I was a child I wanted to win an Olympic gold medal. My ambitions were all about sports back then as I loved it. As a teenager, though, I wanted to start my own business. I studied Economics at Portsmouth University and thought I’d go into finance, but then a job in technology came up and it sounded like such a great opportunity that I had to take it.

My dad worked for a tech company and we had computers at home when I was a child. I was fascinated by them and early mobile phones, back when they were all so large. I remember thinking that what they could do was amazing. Unfortunately, there weren’t really any options to study computing when I was at school so I ended up doing Maths and Business Studies. If I was back at school now, I would definitely choose to study tech.

I’ve been in tech my whole career and have been surprised at how much I love it. I wouldn’t want to be in any other industry. I work in sales but have always made sure I fully understand the technology I’m selling to do my job properly. I’m fairly technical and passionate about learning more. I joined Nominet in May 2018 to work with the New Ventures team on Internet of Things (IoT) and dynamic spectrum management products and services. I sell tools like our new WaveDB Explore, which supports wireless broadband roll-outs to help provide internet connectivity to areas that previously had to go without, such as in Loch Ness.

A lot of my role involves dealing with clients, understanding their requirements, providing support and delivering services. I also help the team with product development to ensure we’re making things that the market – potential customers – is interested in. You need to be a people-person for this role, but you also need an analytic mind and an interest in tech. I think having a business degree helps with a role like this too.

The great thing about working in tech is that there is always something new to learn and something new going on. I’m curious and always want to understand more about the technology I deal with. I’ve even started fiddling around with coding recently. I work closely with the development team and I wanted to make sure I was able to speak their ‘language’.  I’m still very much a novice but might do a coding course to understand it properly.

There are so many career opportunities in technology and variety in terms of the jobs you can do and the different areas you can work in. I don’t think young people always realise that working in tech is not all about very technical things. I’m certainly not an engineer and I have a people-facing role, but I am still working in technology. More importantly, I absolutely love it.

In the past, I have been the only woman in a commercial team and have attended many meetings when I am the only female in the room. It is something I’m aware of, and it makes me careful about how I behave because I’ve realised that everything you do is going to attract attention. But this can be a positive thing too – if I do a good job people really notice.

It’s important to stress that I have never faced discrimination or been made to feel uncomfortable in male-dominated environments. I have three brothers and grew up believing I could do anything they could do. I played football when I was young so became quite used to being the only girl. Even at university there weren’t many females on my Economics course, but it has never bothered me and still doesn’t.

In ten years’ time I hope there will be a lot more women in technology as the generation that are young now become working age. There is a lot of good things being done in schools today to encourage more girls to consider STEM subjects, and that will make the difference. Technology wasn’t a major part of the education system when I was young, and I wasn’t really aware of it as an option, but it’s changing now. Technology is the future.

Find out more about the work of the New Ventures team. Meet some of Nominet’s other women in tech, including Researcher Maryam Kamali

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