We interviewed Katy, Technology Risk Consultant at KPMG LLP UK on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
My job involves helping clients manage their IT risks. 90% of my time can be divided into doing one of these two things:
Programme Assurance: when a company is undertaking a large IT project (for example migrating to the cloud, upgrading a system or even implementing a whole new system) my role is to provide assurance that the project is set up for success i.e. will it meet its objectives? Will it stay within budget? And, will it be completed on time? This is done by analysing the project plan, meeting with key stakeholders and addressing a long list of risks.
Financial Audits: I assist financial audit teams by testing the design and operating effectiveness of IT controls. This gives them comfort over IT systems and applications that manage key financial data, and helps paint a realistic picture of a company’s financial position.
The remaining 10% of my time involves other risk related projects (e.g. business continuity, disaster recovery and vendor risk management) as well as business development, i.e. supporting proposals and running workshops to promote our services.
I wanted to find a role that was completely new to me and that would challenge me. I was also keen to work in an industry that would help me develop skills that will still be relevant 30 years down the line.
No, not at all. I studied International Business Management and French at Newcastle University.
Very little. Before joining KPMG I ran an English-speaking Babysitting Agency in the South of France. The only IT-related experience I had was creating the company’s website (www.myanglophonesister.com), managing a few Search Engine Optimisation campaigns and analysing visits to the website through Google Analytics.
It’s not something that I’ve noticed among peers. The younger grades within KPMG are very balanced. It’s only once you get more senior that you notice that most leadership positions are held by men. KPMG work hard to combat this by providing flexible working conditions for parents.
I don’t feel that there is a stereotype in technology consulting. I know there are organisations (Women in STEM for example) that are doing a good job of promoting the opportunities within this industry, but I don’t know if they’re managing to reach every audience. I’m certainly under the impression that, with the right drive and determination, the possibilities for women are endless; but this may indeed just be the way that I was brought up.
More case studies of women with successful careers in technology that can appeal to a diverse audience to help portray the message that there are so many different routes into technology. You don’t have to have studied IT, maths, science or engineering. An analytical mind is great but it’s not the be all and end all.
Not really. The only barrier I can think of is ‘self-doubt’. It’s often not clear what a career in technology entails as there are so many different areas of work. If people don’t understand the roles available, and the skills required, they’ll have trouble convincing themselves that they are perfectly capable of doing the job!
By providing more information on the different roles available, and emphasising that there’s no one way into technology. I also think it’s important to encourage women to consider technology from a young age. Finally, IT classes should be accessible to everyone.
Interested in working for KPMG? Click here to view their careers page.