19. Hayley McCarthy, Co-Founder at Skiller Whale

Name: Hayley McCarthy

Position: Co-Founder

Company: Skiller Whale

Website: https://www.skillerwhale.com


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About Hayley McCarthy and Skiller Whale


I’m the co-founder of Skiller Whale, a live-team coaching platform that changes what tech teams are capable of. Day to day, I focus on leading the commercial team and speaking with tech leaders – understanding how we can best nurture the talents of their teams through our bespoke live-team coaching.

I’m passionate about increasing the opportunities for every developer to learn, and in the industry of software engineering, learning is this area typically carried out by hobbyists. The unfortunate reality of this is that women are far more likely than men to have caregiving responsibilities out of work, so the opportunities for learning and career growth must happen within the work day if we really want to create a level playing field.

Developers both want and need to learn new skills, but the current form of learning is broken. With this in mind, we have created an outcome that is fast, flexible, and prioritises live learning during workplace hours with an expert guiding you towards a team-level outcome.

My life post-university coincided within the financial crash, so within this context, I’m incredibly proud to say that I ran my own company fresh out of university for seven years, sold a 1M+ contract to HSBC at just 23, and co-authored a textbook for Cambridge University Press. Having been a CEO so young gave me a unique outlook, but when I returned to the UK with this experience, I felt I was starting from the beginning. Despite applying to over 50 entry level roles, I was never offered an interview. This was a challenging experience, and I landed my next role through my university network.

I never planned what my working life would look like, and I’m incredibly grateful for this. Every experience I had before working at Skiller Whale gave me the skills to share our message with tech leaders and innovators, and sparked a real desire to change what great learning looks like. I’m lucky to be working at a startup that is both exciting and rewarding, because we’re providing a solution to a problem that has plagued tech teams for far too long.

We work primarily with startups and scaleups, and when you’re in this space, you do not have the resources to spare on solutions that quite simply, are not fit for purpose. With my co-founders, Hywel Carver and Dave Millican, we’ve developed a hands-on and scenario-based approach that is designed to enable organisations to achieve more, faster, without adding to headcount.

I’m a huge believer in the importance of soft skills, and whilst having a computer science degree is a great way of breaking into the software sector, these hard technical skills can only get you so far. Soft skills take longer to master, and the ability to evaluate, critically analyse, communicate, and collaborate with others is essential. I look forward to highlighting the importance of building and nurturing these skills throughout the next year.




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