Happy new year everyone! I’ve had a bit of a quiet start to the year but now I’m back with my first interview of 2013. Today I’m interviewing Dr Delyth Harris who is head of Solution Acceleration at Cisco (Cisco is a huge multinational company and the world leader in networking).
Dr Harris is another lady who didn’t originally plan to work in the IT industry, she originally toyed with the idea of being a policewoman and then a teacher. She was offered a job as a college lecturer but realised it probably wasn’t right for her. She fell into her job in IT through her initial role in academia and was approached by HP (Hewlett Packard) to come and join their academic relations team. She shared her thoughts on this:
I’ve never looked back as I realised that there were so many opportunities and different roles available to me in IT without needing to be an engineer myself.
I asked Dr Harris to explain what her job involves:
My job involves working with other technology partners and driving a joint go-to-market for our combined solutions via our resale channel. In addition, my team is responsible for preparing our company for the future, in terms of which partners we should be working with and what business models will be appropriate. There is a lot of scope to use a broad business knowledge and be creative.
She then told me what she loves most about her job:
I love the variety of my role. No day is the same. Every day involves meeting different people from our partners and working with them to find innovative solutions to growing our businesses together. There is a lot of scope to use a broad business knowledge and be creative in the role, so I feel I’m contributing to the business every day in a variety of ways. I also feel good about the fact that IT is benefiting so many people across the world today, and by doing my role I can help in a small way to change people’s lives.
At school Dr Harris’ favourite subject was Geography and she has a PhD is in Geology, which you would assume isn’t relevant to her job, however she does find that the skills she learnt during her PhD mean that she knows how to assimilate a wealth of information, analyse it and draw conclusions or make recommendations from it. That’s a skill that she uses every day in her role.
As a final note I asked Dr Harris for some words of wisdom for any girls thinking about a career in the IT industry:
My big call out to any girl considering a career in IT is that there are so many different roles in IT that there is something for everyone. IT doesn’t mean that you have to code or be an engineer. You can use creative, analytical or business skills in a variety of roles, whether it be in marketing or finance or operations. IT companies are typically very flexible places to work as we rely on technology so much, so there are opportunities to work and live almost anywhere. I live 2.5hrs from the office so work from home 2 or 3 days a week, but because of the technology we use to communicate and collaborate I’m always available and accessible. As a mother of two young boys this kind of flexibility is so important to me, and has meant that I haven’t had to sacrifice my home life for the job I love.