Case study

Tech+ analyst — Vivian Knight

After completing the BSc Computer Science at Aston University, Vivian successfully landed a place on the Grayce Tech+ analyst graduate development programme, with an assignment working for a leading bank

How did you get onto Grayce's Tech+ graduate development programme?

I was browsing for graduate jobs online and I came across an advertisement for a technical analyst role for Grayce. I submitted my CV through their online portal and was contacted back in the following weeks. After a three-stage interview process, two with Grayce and one with the client I'm currently working for, I was very grateful to have been extended an offer by Grayce for a full-time role.

What's a typical day like as a Tech+ analyst?

It usually starts off with working on any ongoing project tasks client-side, such as creating the design and the pseudocode for a software piece, programming the software by following your design, or testing the software. There is also a big focus on continuously working on both personal and career development, so outside of working for the client, the Tech+ analyst must dedicate time to assigned learning from a study planner as well as any other training that appeals to them available from the many learning resources provided by Grayce, such as Udemy.

What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

With my current client, I was tasked with learning COBOL, a programming language I was previously unfamiliar with, so that I could work with the bank's mainframe team. Overcoming the learning curve to get to a position where I feel comfortable programming software in COBOL is very satisfying to me. Getting a clean compile on a COBOL program is also extremely satisfying, but that doesn't necessarily mean the logic of the program works. Following successful testing of the program, the recognition that the developed software works as intended with no further errors is extremely rewarding as the stakeholders for the software are happy, and hence so am I.

What are the challenges?

Maintaining your responsibilities both client-side and with Grayce can be challenging as it may feel like you're spinning multiple plates at once. Keeping your client happy by meeting all your project goals and staying on top of your development plan with self-study requires additional hours, as well as good time management and organisational skills.

In what ways is your degree relevant to your job?

The beauty of computer science is that it doesn't teach you one specific language, it teaches you how to analytically think like a programmer. Problem-solving is the core of computer science and I feel comfortable diving into new challenges, which is a must when working as a Tech+ analyst to face new client-projects. Programming has taught me resilience and patience which can be applied to my role, as it is alright to make mistakes, simply learn from them and try again.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has put me in a position where I'm currently working in the finance industry as a mainframe developer, allowing me to expand my practical knowledge of technology and its uses. I will be rotating through roles supporting the mainframe at the bank, and perhaps eventually find one that suits me best. My career ambitions are to eventually work my way up to becoming a senior leader within a technical role, helping be a part of filling the dire gap we have with females as tech leaders. I aim to achieve this by gaining further experience within different technical roles and additional qualifications to train myself in leadership and management skills.

What advice would you give to other aspiring analysts?

My advice would be to be adaptable and welcome change (as you may move to different clients and new projects), always perform your best at any task assigned to you no matter how big or small they may seem, and never shy away from asking any questions you may have.

What more can be done to increase female representation in tech leadership roles?

A male-dominated workforce can be daunting for women to step into, especially as the risks of gender-related discrimination is high in companies with a gender-diversity imbalance. Tech stereotypes are damaging as well, as they deter females from even beginning a career in tech out of fear that they won't fit in. Females should not have to be validated that they're good enough to take on a technical role - they should never have been told that they weren't good enough in the first place.

We need to start at the root of the issue, inspiring more young women to see the tech industry for what an exciting and impactful career path it is, not the daunting and difficult one it may seem like.

Companies should all get involved with organisations that help fight inequality in tech roles - for example, Tech Talent Charter (TTC) and STEM Women - by offering employers the opportunity to hire from a diverse pool of talented female applicants.

Once a gender-balance is achieved within companies, there can be a natural progression for females to work their way up to senior leadership roles just as males can.

More women will then become mentors and tech role models, and the cycle of equality will ideally continue and eliminate any gender-bias. Removing all tech stereotypes from societal thinking is a necessity, hence we require more public representation that programmers, engineers, and individuals in all tech roles come in a broad variety of personalities and appearances.

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