What was your undergraduate degree?
BSc (Hons) Web Management
What is your job title and role?
IT Communications and Engagement Manager for John Lewis PLC. This role involves bringing together key stakeholders from around the business to understand the capabilities of technology and how we can turn it into a strategic advantage for our business.
Could you briefly describe the organisation you work for?
John Lewis Partnership is a multi-site retailer consisting of John Lewis Department stores and Waitrose Supermarkets. It is the UKs largest employee owned business.
Did you complete a foundation degree or HND/C before studying for your degree?
Yes, I completed a HND first then converted this into a BSc.
Where do you find yourself using the skills that you developed in University?
At my time in University I started my development journey in some key skills that I use daily at work. Critical reasoning, researching and going beyond the obvious to get to the heart of a matter, meeting deadlines and working in teams were some of the key ones. If you want to be more of a technical expert you need to work hard to keep these skills current and marketable, view the skills you have been taught as the start of a learning journey that carries on once you complete your formal education.
Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it?
Every day is very different. I have a team of Engagement Managers and Communication Officers. The Engagement team look after the strategic requirements of the end users ensuring our IT function understands their needs and they are informing our architecture, delivery and service operations teams making sure they are aware what is going on in the business. I meet with these most mornings and review our service delivery performance. I will then have various meetings and discussions or site visits to understand where we can make the most difference to our business and how we can manage the value perception of IT.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
I am very fortunate I get to work at the cutting edge of IT and am tasked with understanding new technologies, the impact they may have on our business and how we can use this to be the disruptor in our sector rather than the disrupted. This can involve supplier visits to companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple or technology shows such as NRF in New York.
Any tips for someone wanting to develop a career in your sector?
The longer I have worked in IT the more certain I am that people skills will play a more and more important role for those that want to pursue a career in IT. All the work I do now is very collaborative and stakeholder management is critical. As you progress through your studies take time to support those around you and understand how the work you are doing might help them…..and have fun it is a great industry to work in!