Career Advice

Reach For Your Goals

John Smith

With London Tech Week in full swing, we decided to delve into our workforce and speak to FDM’ers who aim to make a stance in the technology field. Natasha Smethurst is an FDM consultant in Leeds and sat down with us for a chat about her career journey and her technology must-haves.

What advice do you have for people wanting to join the technology industry?

Go for it! I say this all the time to people who are wondering whether to join. If you are interested in IT then pursue it. Believe me, there are so many varied roles that exist and some that didn’t even exist 50 years ago. Not only can you learn so much in this sector, but since IT knowledge is applicable to any business it is prevalent everywhere.

What led you to pursue a career in technology?

I graduated with a first-class honours degree from Nottingham Trent University in Spanish and TESOL, but my love for IT led me to pursue a slightly different career. After passing the entire recruitment process, I joined FDM one week after my graduation in 2016. Having my own blog and a background in languages made me realise that a career in IT was definitely the right route, because I use technology every single day to reach out to people.

I started my training as a Project Management Office (PMO) placed with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). After I completed my training as a PMO in the public sector I am now experiencing work in the private sector at an insurance company as a Business Analyst. I have learned a lot in the varied roles as many of the skills are transferable, and I wanted to challenge myself and get as much experience as possible. Becoming a hybrid consultant has definitely increased my knowledge and employability.

Before starting your current career did you consider the tech industry to be a ‘male-dominated field’?

I did yes. It’s a shame because there are women who have done some excellent work in this industry, but people just don’t know who they are, or they perhaps don’t get as much recognition. Knowing all this made me want to pursue my IT career even more, and I also thought that I could try and make a difference, which is what I’ve been trying to do during my time at FDM. I always knew there was a gender gap, but it became more apparent when I began my IT career. It motivated me to work towards being an ambassador for women in IT and promoting the industry.

What piece of technology couldn’t you live without?

I have to admit; I just could not live without my mobile. I can practically do anything on my phone like research, call and text people, post things on my blog and social media to share with the world, check emails and take photos. The list is practically endless, and having that technology is just so convenient. It’s almost like a connecting portal between you and the rest of the world.

What tech trend are you keeping an eye on in 2018?

I am just mind blown by the advances in artificial intelligence and the fact it can function without human data! It’s fascinating so I’ll definitely be keeping a close watch.

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