My first interview with a lady in the IT industry is with Debra Lilley. Debra works for Fujitsu as an Oracle Alliance Director and is also a council member for the UK Oracle User Group (UK>OUG). Oracle is a huge multinational computer technology organisation that mainly specialises in database management systems.
Debra didn’t always want to work in IT, she originally wanted to be a Pathology Lab Technician as her favourite subject at school was Physics. Her IT-related qualifications include CITP (Chartered IT Professional) and CDir (Chartered Director).
I asked Debra why she chose a job in IT. She informed me that after leaving school she decided to get a job in the public sector which would allow her to go to college part time to get the extra science exams she needed to become a laboratory assistant. Jobs were much easier to find at that time (in the late 70’s) and she received 3 job offers and actually selected her first employer by throwing a dart! She worked for this company, in London, for three years and really enjoyed it.
By 1981 computers were just hitting mainstream and there was a real shortage of programmers and she was sent for was a computer aptitude test. In this test she was asked to draw a flowchart for making a cup of tea and was offered a job as a trainee Cobol developer (Cobol is a programming language). She has worked in various jobs in IT ever since. You can read her full story on her blog.
Debra then explained what her current job involves:
It’s like being ‘playground monitor’ between Fujitsu and Oracle. I need to understand the offerings of both organisations and where there is synergy. Then bringing the right people together. I am an ACE Director which is an Oracle scheme for their best users, and present on their solutions world wide. I am also a council member for the independent UK Oracle User Group (previously president), this is about serving the Oracle community and influencing oracle.
So, what does Debra like most about her job?
The freedom to do what I want as an independent contributor, someone needs to know what Oracle are doing, and in turn educating my colleagues and customers.
When asked for any words of encouragement to girls reading this she makes the point that “Nothing works in this world without IT and you can make a difference”.