Women in STEM

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 - 14:17
Helen Puerta-Terron
We recently worked on the 2020 Women in STEM campaign with Mediaplanet.

A printed publication was enclosed within every copy of New Scientist Magazine and the content is available online at www.womeninstem.co.uk The campaign featured exclusive content from key thought leaders and industry voices touching on key issues about gender equality, challenging stereotypes, and highlighting why we need to strive for a diverse STEM work force.

Helen Puerta-Terron, Product Manager at UCAS, shares her story of a successful career switch to technology, and how she overcame the challenges of working in a predominately male-orientated environment.

My route into tech

I started at UCAS part-time in the call centre. For me, it meant I could work while bringing up three young children.

The role was really focused on supporting students, parents, teachers and universities throughout the university application process – so it was all about customer service.

The ten years I spent in the contact centre, on the front line and in management, gave me a good understanding of how UCAS worked: the processes, business logic and the different requirements for key customer groups.

But I knew I was ready for more. And with such a strong background and knowledge of both customer and business needs, technical product management felt like a great move.

Product management is all about working with key business stakeholders to understand the future developments of a product or service.

My primary responsibility is gathering what is needed, then defining those into requirements, which are then prioritised and taken back to the development team to understand how we can develop them further.

Challenging the stereotypes of a male-dominated sector

My experience and knowledge – as well as ‘softer’ management skills – allow me to manage the expectations of the business and the technical team, have challenging conversations, prioritise work when required and be assertive when we don’t get the outcome we need for the customer. 

For more inspirational Women in STEM articles, and to continue reading Helen's story, visit womeninstem.co.uk.

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