To celebrate the 125th anniversary of women getting the vote, School-gen is profiling some of our own Genesis women who are passionate about STEM. The bravery and leadership of the suffragettes paved the way for women to pursue a range of different career options, and science & technology is just one of these. This week, we profile Andrea Black, who heads up our Digital Solutions team and has great advice for kids interested in a career in technology!

Hi Andrea! What’s your role at Genesis? I work in technology and am the General Manager – Digital Solutions.

What does your job involve on a day to day basis? While day to day my role is a balance of what is happening now and what’s coming, my role is more focused at the strategic forward-looking view, understanding what Genesis is aiming to achieve as a business, with my particular interest on how technology enables and supports this.  The Digital Solutions team has about 120 people doing a wide variety of works – everything from Agile squads with developers and testers, to business analysts and project managers, to people providing tech support for all Genesis staff.  Every day is different and that keeps it interesting.

What did you study at school and/or university that prepared you for this role? When I went to school, technology was only just making its debut so I didn’t study anything along the technology lines.  I did study accounting/maths though and that has definitely helped me in my role as I have responsibility for our budgets.  I also didn’t go to university or tech so I am not quite your typical IT person!  Things are quite different today, as generally you need some form of certification or degree to get a foot in the door.  I also did not start in the IT sector, I actually worked for the first eight years in the stock & station industry (and I still ride horses when I can!) – across different areas and with lots of different people so that gave me a really good grounding relating to lots of different types of people which I think is really key. I also worked for technology vendors for 10 years. For me it is about the people, the skills and the relationships.

What do you enjoy most about working in technology? I like what technology enables for a business – it removes constraints and allows opportunity to continually improve. Also, that technology continues to evolve and change, which provides us the challenge on how we deliver service to support that technology. Over the past 3 – 5 years technology has really changed.  What we did 3 years ago would not work for us now – things are constantly changing and at a pace not seen anywhere else.  There are also lots of areas that people can be interested in – so much variety in the modern newer world that we are in.

Would you encourage kids to get into technology and how? Absolutely!  Technology is the way of the future.  Technology has changed and evolved from when I first started, there is so much more opportunity and different areas to look into.  Kids are digital natives now but I do recommend anything you can do at school to give it a try – then there are plenty of uni and tech courses that are available to study.  I also recommend balancing out what you do from a technical perspective with something that has a human element to it.  You want to be able to do technical things but you also want to be able to build relationships and understand people, and how things work together.

That’s great Andrea! Anything else you want to add?  Hard work is a still a given in this industry, you have to keep re-inventing yourself as technology evolves and provides more capability.  The more technology evolves the more people want from it, and the quicker people want help with it.  And let’s go girls! Technology used to be a male dominated industry, but that has all changed – it is a lot of fun and technology can take you all over the world – it’s a global language.