Diversity & inclusion advocate Ziana Butt aims to inspire women in tech

To mark International Women’s Day, we’re focusing on celebrating the incredible successes of women and girls working and studying in STEM. Ziana Butt is a second-year Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprentice with Accenture at University of East London. Her role is currently a Business and Technology Delivery New Associate working as an analyst.

Ziana is a finalist in the apprentice category for the FMD everywoman in Technology Awards 2023.

Having studied computer science at GCSE and A-level, Ziana has always had an interest in technology and business. This was heightened when she completed a short internship with Cinecom, an innovative tech consulting firm where she learn about different technology, including blockchain and artificial intelligence. Ziana flourished in the real-world environment.

Shoot your shot

Ziana reached out to CEO of Dreamsport, the parent company of Under Armour and PlayerLayer, asking for any available opportunities to help support their growth.

She explained: “Although I was studying my a-levels at the time I was so happy to be given a virtual job as a research and data analyst. I did this for around 10 months which further reinforced my desire to work in technology.”

“I also had a pretty difficult time at school and also in netball, so I knew that the work environment would be the right fit and a great opportunity for me to excel and be treated with respect as an individual.”

Why Accenture?

When it came to finding the perfect course, Ziana applied for four degree apprenticeships and received offers from them all.

Passionate about equality and diversity, it was obvious that Accenture as the ideal fit, with so many amazing initiatives and a strong mission to continue making their workplace and environment more diverse.

“I knew that Accenture was the right place for me to work at, and I’ve never looked back. It has been so much more fulfilling than I could have imagined. They also offer so many opportunities to broaden your network, take part in internal and external initiatives as well as the opportunity to be part of various networks and groups,” exclaimed Ziana.

What’s it like being a woman in tech?

It’s clear the technology industry is evolving, and we’re seeing a lot more diversity within the workplace.

Ziana explained she has only ever have had a really positive experience in technology: “I’ve been able to speak to and learn from so many senior and experienced colleagues within Accenture and I always feel proud that I’m able to work for such a company which pushes me to kind of support others into the field.

“I think the perception that technology is a man’s world is definitely changing and I’m honestly just really proud to be able to be a part of that change.”

FMD everywoman awards in Technology Awards

Ziana said: “It feels amazing to be a finalist. It’s honestly an honour. I think there are so many amazing women in technology. Being a finalist isn’t just a proud moment for me though. I personally see it as another opportunity for me to use my platform to continue inspiring more women to do degree apprenticeships and pursue a career in technology.”

She continued: “It’s just amazing to see that there’s someone out there who is seeing and recognising all the efforts that I’ve been making to push the importance of degree apprenticeships, having a career in technology and also the importance of and my passion for diversity and inclusion.

“And so for me, it’s just amazing to be able to know that there’s someone that really respecting all of those efforts and what I’m doing to kind of drive that change and encourage more females into technology.

“It’s really just amazing on that front to be able to know that there is someone out there that’s kind of appreciating those efforts.”

What does the future hold?

The future is definitely bright for Ziana, who hopes to continue to develop her knowledge in a variety of business areas through different projects and qualifications. She’ll also continue encouraging more women, in particular, South Asian females, to consider technology and degree apprenticeships.

“I’m also continuing to work hard to ensure I achieve a first class with honours degree, as I think this will be part of the foundation of my professional career,” said Ziana.

She also has high hopes to develop into a position of seniority with sufficient authority to continue driving initiatives around diversity and encourage more youngsters to see the amazing benefits of actually having a career in technology.

Looking back on her younger self, Ziana explained how she judged herself through the eyes of other people: “I would tell my younger self to focus on recognising my own strengths. And I think that’s really been the key to understanding the impact that I can make for both myself and to support others.

And, if you take anything away from this article, let it be this: “Follow your passion, gain industry certifications, immerse yourself within the profession and the organisation. Enjoy all the learnings and take time to appreciate every milestone that you reach.”