I was asked recently by the Deputy Head of St George’s School, Edinburgh, if I’d be willing to give a talk to the girls on a career in IT and Business Consultancy. Being a keen advocate of encouraging more females into our industry I immediately said yes. I had about 45 minutes in which to dispel the image of IT being a job for (mainly male) geeks and Big Bang Theory fans, and convince a group of 16 and 17 year old girls that it’s something they should consider. To highlight the types of jobs available, I talked about the various stages involved in a typical project life cycle, and outlined who would do what and what skills they’d need. To make it a bit more real, I created a scenario involving the development of a mobile app for a famous online retailer of clothes, involving characters from an even more famous C4 reality TV programme. Photos of ‘Spencer’ and ‘Binky’ got the best audience response of the whole talk!
My overarching goal was to get across the fact that IT (and Business) Consultancy are all about having the skills to listen, understand and empathise with customer challenges, and then use technology to address those challenges. It’s not just about developing an IT system in isolation, but understanding how that system will affect the people that are going to use it. It includes Business Analysis, Project Management, Business Change, creative design, Technical expertise, Testing, Training, Sales and many more careers. It’s about learning new things every day and seeing the effect your work has on the business lives of your customers. Hopefully the message came across (with apologies to C4).