To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we sat down with three women from different departments at Air IT to find out what they do, why they enjoy their role and what their advice is for women and girls who are thinking about a career in technology.
Fliss, Head of Professional Services
Q: How did you get into the IT industry?
A: I studied Combined Sciences at university which led me to my first role as a Project Coordinator for a company that produced interactive voice and web response systems for the clinical trials industry. I really enjoyed it and then moved across to IT Infrastructure Project Management – I haven’t left IT since!
Q: What did you enjoy about IT project management that inspired you to pursue that career path long term?
A: I found that I had a knack for taking technical jargon and being able to communicate it in a way that’s easy to understand. Clients that don’t have that technical knowledge appreciate having someone who can translate the technical side of things and explain what that means for their business.
Q: What does your day-to-day role involve?
A: As Head of Professional Services, I oversee a team which delivers any IT infrastructure and comms projects for our managed service clients. For example, if a client is looking to upgrade their infrastructure or migrate their systems from on-premises to cloud, we will manage and deliver the project end to end and ensure successful delivery.
As part of my role, I also line manage the professional services team which includes experienced technical engineers and project managers.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love that every single day is different. We’re working on different projects and new technologies all the time, and we’re part of a large, varied team so there’s something new every day.
Every project and every client we work with is unique, and there’s a real sense of team spirit. We are always helping each other out to deliver the best solution for the client and making sure the project is completed on time and within budget.
Q: Why do you think there are fewer women in IT and how could we encourage more women and girls to go into tech roles?
A: In the past there has been a stereotypical idea of the IT industry that doesn’t seem very welcoming to women, but things have changed so much over the years and it isn’t a ‘boys club’.
I think exposure to different areas of IT is really important because if you aren’t aware that something exists you won’t know whether you would enjoy it. There are so many different avenues that you can go down in IT, it’s not a one size fits all.
Hannah, Business Intelligence Analyst
Q: What made you want to go into the IT industry?
A: I really enjoyed IT at school so I took it as a GCSE and later as an A-Level alongside Business Studies and Maths. Then, I went to university to study Business Information Systems, which was a mixture of modules relating to business, IT and data.
Q: What experience did you gain after you left university?
A: I started out in project management roles in large, global companies. Although it was a great opportunity to work on various projects and explore different areas of IT, I found it wasn’t really for me. I was interested in the technical side of projects and wanted to get more hands on!
I have always been interested in facts, figures and statistics, and had enjoyed using Power BI in previous roles. So, I decided I wanted to focus more on this and worked as a Data Analyst before joining Air IT as a Business Intelligence Analyst.
Q: What does your average day look like as a Business Intelligence Analyst?
A: My job is to take data from various sources and bring it all together into one visually pleasing, easy-to-navigate view. This gives businesses a detailed view of operations and allows them to see data in real time so they can spot trends and improve efficiencies.
So, most of the time I have my head stuck in a database or Power BI, but another part of the job is meeting with clients or colleagues to discuss a report they would like building. I’ll find out their requirements and understand what it is they’re looking for in their BI solution. This depends on what they do as a business but it’s often to do with sales, finance, and monitoring processes to see where they can reduce costs and save time.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: I enjoy the whole process! I love being able to build something from the ground up. You start with an in-depth review of the databases to understand the bigger picture, and then once you’ve completed data modelling and preparation you can start to turn it into a Power BI report. It’s nice to have that mix of the challenging aspect of building a report from a database, as well as the satisfying part of bringing in different visuals to make it look good.
Q: What advice would you give to any girls or women who would like to go into the IT industry?
A: More than anything, just go for it. Try new things, play around with whatever you’re interested in and don’t be afraid to test things (within reason)! No one knows anything inside out before they try it, so just have the confidence to give it a go.
Paige, Service Delivery Manager
Q: Did you always want to work in IT? How did you get into the industry?
A: Initially, IT wasn’t an industry that was particularly on my radar. However, after having developed my customer service skills in the hospitality sector, I started working as a Service Desk Analyst taking first line enquiries. From there I really built on my technical skills, started working on projects and worked my way up to being a team leader and then a service desk manager. After years of experience in people and service management, I came to Air IT as Continual Service Improvement (CSI) Manager and now focus on Service Delivery.
Q: What are your responsibilities as a Service Delivery Manager?
A: I usually start my day by meeting with our Service Desk Management team to establish our goals and review our latest performance. We work together to ensure that we are hitting KPIs, passing SLAs and, most importantly, providing great customer service. I would describe myself as the touchpoint between the service desk who resolve everyday IT issues and the account managers who focus on long-term strategy, providing a contact point in between those two departments.
In addition to my day-to-day tasks, I lead Air IT through the process for certifications like ISO 20000-1 and the Service Desk Institute, making sure that we maintain the same high standards each year and making ongoing improvements to our service.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job? What are some of your proudest moments?
A: I am really proud to have transformed our CSI by introducing a documented process and thinking of new ways to better manage the service desk, eventually leading us to achieve our Service Desk Institute accreditation. We started it 3 years ago when I was relatively new to the role and are now one of very few service desks to have achieved and maintained a coveted 3-star rating.
One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is getting positive feedback from our clients. When we have a service review and they tell us we are doing a good job or thank us for resolving an issue, it’s really rewarding and shows us the significance of what we are doing to help their business.
Q: What would your advice be to girls/women who are interested in an IT career?
A: Don’t be afraid or put off by the idea that the IT industry is out of reach if you are not a technical specialist to begin with. There is so much more to it and there is such a huge variety of roles in the industry. Customer service is so important in IT and that’s something that comes naturally to me, so I started with that and built on my technical skills through experience – I often surprise myself with how much I have learnt over the years!