IAG GBS – Siobhan Pearson, Head of Application Maintenance

We interviewed Siobhan Pearson, Head of Application Maintenance at IAG GBS on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.

1. What does your job role involve?

I manage a department that provides technical support for applications used by British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, IAG GBS, IAG Loyalty, IAG Cargo, IAG and their worldwide users. This technical support is provided as managed services by our third-party suppliers and service providers. I work closely with these service providers to ensure the services are delivered to agreed SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and continuously improve to ensure value for money for IAG.

 

2. What made you choose a career in technology?

When I was leaving high school, IT felt like an area that was growing and evolving and therefore would be able to offer me a career rather than just a job. I’d always preferred Maths and Science rather than English or creative subjects, which I think lent itself to IT.

 

3. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at GCSE, A-Level or University?

At school I completed a GCSE in Information Technology and at University a BA Business Computing degree.

 

4. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

I did one week work experience at IBM during high school. I left school after GCSEs and undertook an apprenticeship at a local small software firm, who then supported me through my degree. At this software firm, I was involved in the end-to-end lifecycle of IT activities (e.g. designing, building, testing, implementation, and support of systems) for a variety of customers, which gave me a broad hands-on experience of many aspects of IT. I believe this experience benefitted me greatly in my future career and successes. I then joined British Airways as an IT Support Analyst and have progressed to various service manager roles and then to head of the department (which is now within IAG GBS).

 

5. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

I noticed at university that the females on the course were in the minority (about 15%). During my career, I’ve always worked with other females in similar IT roles and it hasn’t felt like there is a disparity.

 

6. What would entice women to study technology related courses?

I’d suggest ensuring people understand that IT is not just the very technical aspects (e.g. hardware, coding) but also has other aspects that can appeal to a wider audience, such as business analysis, project and service management.

 

7. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

Ensure that content shared with schools has pictures showing both men and women and advertises the broad number of roles and career paths that relate to IT, rather than just the stereotypical of deep technical.

 

8. What advice would you give to young women at the start of their career?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to seek understanding – it’s the quickest and easiest way, but often resisted as felt to be a weakness. Typically, people appreciate being asked and will want to help and clarify – they don’t want you to fail.