Facing a nasty divorce, with a small salary to look after a baby and a toddler alone, my future was at stake. Research led me to study Data Science and AI. At 3am every day, I was up studying before my kids would wake up. I’d study at every spare moment until I got my first break working in tech. Now, I’ve got the flexibility to work from home and during short breaks I do the laundry and prepare dinner while enjoying my mocha. Currently, as a senior consultant to a multi-national oil company, I lead a team creating an analytics and AI platform whilst advising on transformational projects pivotal to the business strategy. Tenacity, good communication, self-discipline and an analytical-mind are skills that have made me successful in tech.
As a queer, young, black woman of mixed heritage living with a life-long illness, my passion for driving change was never optional. I always had to fight for equity and equality. Last summer, my journey brought me to a women’s empowerment programme by the charity ‘You Make It’. This experience has helped me grow in confidence, self-esteem and finding my own path. But I was also given the chance to enter previously out of reach spaces. I knew my interests were in writing which allowed me to start a placement and ultimately a digital marketing apprenticeship. Working in tech is an exciting journey. It combines strategy, creativity and speed. But most importantly, it has the potential to create change for the better.
As an individual living with a disability, technology very quickly became the centre of my universe. Without tech that is inclusive, I would not be in the place that I am today: running a company as a Deafblind person and having confidence with tech tools to be a valuable part of society. I'm a keynote speaker and usability and accessibility consultant, specialising in assistive technology and design for those with sensory impairment. I'm also an ambassador and advocate of the Molly Watt Trust and Sense. My presentations range from awareness of Usher Syndrome, sensory impairments, accessibility, assistive technology and accessible design. I've spoken at the Houses of Parliament, Harvard Medical School and the Apple Campus. I originally wanted to be a teacher, but was constantly told that I couldn’t teach if I couldn’t see or hear properly. I quote “How on earth do you think YOU could teach a room full of 30 children??” Here I am, not a teacher but educating on a bigger stage.
I have an Economics degree and when I graduated I decided to take some time to figure out what I wanted to do. I worked for four different companies that year and ended up going to a lot of tech events. That's when I fell in love with the tech scene. I did not have any tech skills so I joined a corporate, hoping they'd upskill me while I pursued basic coding courses on the side. Working at PwC gave me exposure to cyber security, data protection and IT operating models, but also to innovation. In my first six months I got involved in an internal accelerator programme and finally found my ideal role as a product manager: I discover problems, validate them and use technology to solve them. Now I help people within the firm bring their ideas to life.
Following a long maternal career break I felt like I was never going to find a rewarding career that still allowed me to be the school-run mum that I wanted to be and resigned myself to odd jobs during school hours. After retraining at a software development bootcamp I found there were many opportunities in tech where I could also make the most of my transferrable skills, that allowed for both of these roles to be fulfilled. I’m two years into my career in tech, Associate Director at B13 Technology, Board Member for the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership, Non-Exec Director at Birmingham Tech Week, Ambassador for School of Code and DiDFest and on the Women in Software Power List 2020. But most importantly, I found an awesome and progressive career path and still get to be the mum I want to be.
I am a lead technical architect in digital, data and technology at the UK Home Office. I am a mum of two and was born and brought up in a Muslim background in Sri Lanka. I immigrated to the UK at the age of 27 and started my career in technology in the private sector with various roles such as a tech engineer, consultant and architect. It was a challenging journey to balance the roles as a mum, wife and an architect, but ultimately I achieved a highly responsible role in a male dominated technology sector. My message to all the women out there is to break the barriers, trust in yourself and believe that your voice matters. Most importantly it's no longer about having an “if I can" mindset - now it’s more about “how I can”, so just make a start.
After 10 years in the Royal-Navy I left and accepted a role in logistics management. I attended an AWS Restart Course, I also took online courses and attended meetups to develop my skills. In March 2019, I attended an event at Sky (Leeds Dock) and fell in love with the company and the culture. In May 2019, I joined Sky as a tester and now I write automation scripts for feature delivery. I gained a lot of transferrable skills from the Royal-Navy, like communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork. Not everyone needs a Computer Science degree (mine was Business Management), all you need is to be passionate about technology, willing to learn and not afraid to take a risk.