USS – Kelly Jones, 1st Line Technical Support Analyst

We interviewed Kelly Jones, 1st Line Technical Support Analyst at USS on her thoughts and experience on women in tech.

1. Tell me a little about yourself? Where did you work before joining USS?

Before joining USS, I was a Mechanical Electrical Engineer apprentice producing machinery that produces carbon fibre which I loved. Unfortunately, I became unwell, so after a period of absence, I moved from hands on machinery to working on the computers. The move to working on computers really interested me and sparked my love for IT.

Given the change of role, I felt it wasn’t quite the right role for me anymore and an opportunity at USS came up which prompted me to apply. Since joining, this is the right role for me, and I’ve been able to apply my engineering knowledge to this position. I enjoy having all my work in-front of me, I can take control of the desk and work at my pace and style. It is self-driven work which is a much better fit for me.

2. What does your job role involve?

At USS, I am a 1st Line Technical Support Analyst, so I take calls in from the end user and triage the call. I will then analyse the call and complete some basic troubleshooting to see if this needs escalating. Any high priority calls will be given an SLA and my role is to manage the ticket, the 1st Line team are basically the front door.

If any basic troubleshooting is unsuccessful, I will try to research and use the tools around me to fix the problem, if this still can’t be fixed, I’ll then escalate to the appropriate team i.e., 2nd line, networking team etc.

I joined in February 2020 just before COVID and lockdown and work in team of two. I enjoyed taking all the current processes and adapting them to fit with the situation and making improvements along the way. My colleague joined in September, so I’ve also supported in training too.

3. What attracted you to join USS?

My fiancé works at USS on the 3rd Line Technical Support team in the IT department and I’ve watched him work, I was constantly asking him questions and was really interested in his work. I started looking at roles in IT and during my job search noticed the role at USS so applied and now I’m here.

4. What is unique about your role at USS?

It’s been a really interesting time working from home throughout lockdown and COVID however USS has a real family feel, everyone is approachable. I’ve never worked for a company that is so accessible, regardless of ranks you feel you can talk to everyone, it’s a lovely environment. No one is too high up the chain, everyone is happy to help, it’s very welcoming and a brilliant place to work.

5. What’s the best thing about working here?

The people! The company just looks after you and you’re not just another number. You are part of the cogs to make it run and you feel your role is valued and important. This really encourages you to want to work harder. Everyone meshes and you are part of the machine.

6. What’s your ambition for the future?

I would like to move into management, and I feel like I can progress within USS. I’ve been open about my ambitions with my line manager and he is encouraging me to develop, there are no barriers. I would like to expand my technical knowledge first and progress into 2nd line and then 3rd line and then into management.

7. What made you choose a career in technology?

I’ve always been interested in technology in general, I’ve always had an interest in the way the world works. Growing up, I’ve always been interested in Physics and Biology and had a natural curiosity on why things do what they do. As I got older, I wanted to fix and improve things, I’ve always analysed stuff.

IT is very similar; it is constantly evolving and rapidly changing even within a 12month period. The sector always challenges you to progress and continue to learn and try new things. Nothing is ever the same and it is lots of fun!

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

Definitely yes. There is nothing specific that draws women away from the sector and it’s probably down to differences within the generations. Younger people are probably more drawn towards IT as it has more of a focus in schools and gender equality is more balanced. The technical sector does need more women, everyone thinks differently, and it would be great to have more diverse views.

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

It’s really exciting and challenging and it allows you to build and take many different paths within technology. It’s not just a job, it’s a passion and a hobby. I spend spare time studying and researching coding and keep up to date with the industry.

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

Start at the early years stage and through schools and colleges to advertise the sector and make IT more of a focus. Talks and seminars are really good to raise awareness in the industry, and talking about the USS strategy for diversity & inclusion and focus on the people we have within the organisation would really help with gender diversity.

My roles have always been the stereotypical male dominated positions and I’ve always gone into them with an open mind. I’ve always felt included and valued.

11. What advice would you give young women today at the start of their career?

Explore the sectors you may be feel uncomfortable looking in to, look at different hobbies. You spend most of your time working or sleeping so you want to be enjoying yourself. If you can make money out of something you love, then it’s a win win!