Software Engineer | Holly Boothroyd

Holly is a software engineer at Microsoft and has been there for 2 and a half years.

She studied Computer Science at the University of Surrey and she is currently working on Cortana for Windows. She is also a Women in STEM advocate, speaker and one of the winners of the TechWomen100 Awards 2019.

It [technology] is something where you can create something out of nothing, by yourself in your room with nothing more than an internet connection and a laptop and I find it really inspiring just how much potential for impact you have.

Holly Boothroyd

Sections of this video

  • Educational background- 00:10
  • Choosing subjects – 03:50
  • Holly’s ‘aha’ moment – 05:30
  • A Day in the life of a software engineer- 07:10
  • Unexpected career surprises- 09:20
  • Misconceptions about this career path- 11:10
  • Advice for those just starting out- 16:20


Personal branding is becoming increasingly more important because there are so many people out there who have the same qualifications as you and so being able to have a good strong online presence is really valuable and from that you can end up getting a lot of opportunities that you might not have otherwise.

So in order to give you all the best possible guide to personal branding, Holly has shared some of her top tips. Holly’s Instagram account @herhelloworld has (at the time of writing) more than 15.7k followers after starting the page a year and a half ago, partly down to the unique brand she has created for herself.

Your personal brand, I find important and I’ve become more aware of how important it is as I’ve been working on my own personal branding and seeing the rewards that come out of it.

Getting started?

One of the best ways to get started on developing your own personal brand is to start looking at what things are unique to you, what kind of value can you offer than someone else might not have; your unique selling point.

For me, I am particularly interested in women in tech and innovative technologies and I’m interested in sustainability and environmentalism and things like that and so when I go about choosing the things I’m going to be speaking about, they tend to revolve around those three subjects.

This is helpful because it lets people know what sorts of things they should contact you about and helps you build a narrative about you, so people will already have an idea about of who you are without you needing to go and explain it (although from personal experience, it is a good idea to be able to explain who you are in a few lines- its useful at networking events).

The aesthetic (des eng is that you?)

Next up and this is by no means compulsory but it certainly helpful (and the design engineers among you might appreciate this) is to consider the aesthetic of your pages. Holly’s instagram page a very clear theme across most of her posts which makes it very identifiable even speaking from personal experience of visiting her page. She has fairly consistent colours and text across her website and instagram and those things tend to invoke the same sort of ideas.

Its an iterative process

Developing your personal brand is very much an iterative process of discovering what works for you and the things that you are interested in and how you can set yourself apart. Holly tend to keep the structure of her social media pretty similar, whether that be her Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and if she makes changes to one, it that usually feeds back into the others.

And so all these things come together to form a sort of story about me, at the end of the day, we’re all kind of our own brand and so I’m my Holly brand and you’re your [Vanessa] brand and it’s up to you to decide and define.

How on earth did you get so many followers so quickly?!

As I mentioned above, Holly started herhelloworld a year and a half ago and it has grown to have 15.7k followers (at the time that I am writing this) and so the elephant in the room here is… how?!

Well the answer is


I had a strong story of who I was, I knew what people were interested in me for

When Holly started on Instagram, there were only a handful of women in tech pages and so she found her niche at a good time. Then from there you can connect with other people who have similar passions to you and build a network of support and sharing.

So I’ve been pretty lucky I think with my timing but if you don’t put good content out there then you’re not going to get anything back either right, so you’ve got to know what people are coming to you for.

Connect with holly!

Instagram – @herhelloworld

Twitter – @hollyboothroyd_

LinkedIn – Holly Boothroyd

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