Business Owner, working in Technology
Degree: BSc Management Studies (First Class Hons), University of the West Indies
A’ Levels: English Literature, Geography, Biology, General Studies
If you had asked me when I was growing up if I thought a career in STEM was in my future, I would probably have rolled on the floor hysterically laughing and said it would never ever happen.
I loved school, studied hard and applied myself in my homeland, Trinidad & Tobago. There were many subjects I enjoyed, but Mathematics and most of the Sciences were definitely not among them. I’ll even admit there were days when Maths made me cry.
After I completed my A Levels, I had so many “favourite” subjects I couldn’t decide what to study at University, and kept changing my mind. I ultimately decided on Management, as I felt it kept my career options most open, and graduated with First Class Honours from The University of the West Indies.
One of my first courses at University was in Information Systems. Before I even started, I dreaded it. But it was mandatory so I had to do it. To my surprise I not only enjoyed it, but excelled at it and started choosing electives with a system and technology focus. In my final year I also got chosen to be a tutor and tutorial leader for first year courses. Just like that I discovered a new passion!
My first job after University was as part of an implementation team for an enterprise-wide piece of software. It was there I discovered my gift. I was able to “speak” both technical and non-technical languages, so I could translate between developers and the business. Or put another way I was able to take users’ ideas and conceptualise them and the objective behind them for the people building the systems. I was also easily able to build easy-digestible training for users to help them learn and understand system functionality. My career was born.
Since my first job I have worked with technology in many ways. I’ve had many job titles over the years - Systems Auditor, Software Tester, Test Manager, Consultant, Systems Trainer, Technical Trainer and Training Manager to name a few. I’ve managed projects and teams to ensure that businesses are able to realise value from the systems they pay for. I’ve trained hundreds of new graduates getting started in my field. And I’ve been the face and voice of a piece of software, recording hundreds of videos showing users how to interact with the software and answering their questions.
Now I run my own business, as a Corporate Trainer and Coach. I work with companies of all sizes and across a range of industries, teaching both technical and non-technical courses. Some of my courses are centred on pieces of software and others on concepts rooted in technology like Software Testing and Agile. I also use technology in my classrooms in fun and interesting ways to make sure the learning hits home. I love being my own boss. Every day is different. I meet a wide range of people and travel the world delivering training. It’s my dream - and now you have to find yours.
My top tips:
1. Don’t limit your options by your assumptions. Before saying you don’t like something - make sure and give that something a try.
2. Don’t worry about the subjects that you don’t enjoy, focus on the ones that you do! You’ll be working for most of your adult life, so it’s best to make your work something that you enjoy and you’re passionate about.
3. It’s ok not to have your career path mapped out and to be unsure about what you want to do in the future. Experiment! Try many things - that’s how you find what works and what doesn’t.
Finally, don’t be afraid of the “STEM” label. It’s not all laboratories and engineering and lots of numbers (although that’s pretty cool too). Women in STEM come in many shapes and forms. Challenge yourself to think beyond traditional and current roles in STEM. Explore, find your niche and carve your own path.