Category: Best tech talent

Spotlight on: Ingrid Joannou, Technology Delivery Manager

I am a Technology Delivery Manager which means I work on activities and projects that support our community by delivering technology to meet their needs.

I am currently working on many activites including an identity and access project, finalising a telephony migration to MS Teams, and supporting migration work for OneDrive and from group spaces.

My main role in project work is removing obstacles for the team and ensuring all the steps fit together to ensure the best outcome for staff and students.

“Always be open to new things, always give your best, and approach everything with empathy.”

I recently won the ICT Award for Respect, where my colleagues nominated me for the work I am doing and how I work with them.

They said, “Ingrid goes out of her way to make meaningful connections and to collaborate. She works very hard to deliver quality results, and is a valued team member – always keen to learn”.

I am lucky to have been highly commended for my Innovation as part of the Unified Access project work.

You can read about all the ICT Award nominations online and check out the other winners.

How did I get here?

I have been at Imperial for two years, I was able to join Imperial via a returner’s program after taking a career break.

Prior to my career break, I worked in the retail sector for Habitat.  I started there as a Business Analyst and moved up to Senior Business Analyst and Business Area Manager.

I later started managing the UK IT team for the buyers of all stores (excluding UK and Ireland).

“A career break can feel like a lifetime in Technology, so there is still a lot of learning to catch up on.”

Ingrid JoannouMy future aspirations

A career break feels like a lifetime in technology, as things change quickly, so I feel like there is still a lot of learning for me to catch up on.

But my real passion is understanding social and cultural impacts on organisational behaviour and how to affect change.

I come from a Chinese Reunion Island Mauritian background and being married to a British Greek Cypriot, I am especially interested in the area of social impact.

My advice

My advice to aspiring women in Tech, and also women returning to work, is to always be open to new things, always give your best and approach everything with empathy.

Want to join ICT?

We have some great and diverse roles in ICT, and we are always on the look out for the best tech talent.

If you want to join our team check out our current job vacancies.

Check out our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages and find out about or activities to remove barriers and create a great place to work.

Spotlight on: Joyce Kadibu, Software Developer Apprentice

Joyce Kadibu

As a developer, I am dedicated to building various digital products that support the needs of Imperial. Within ICT’s products team, I engage in multiple aspects of the product life cycle, utilising programming languages such as JavaScript/React.js to construct robust systems.

“Recognise the boundless potential within you. Whether or not you realise it, your contributions hold significant value within the industry.”

How did I get here?

Joyce Kabdu showing her work in ICT
Joyce showcasing her work to a colleague in ICT

I embarked on a unique career journey, replacing a university spot for an apprenticeship. In June 2022, I began my career as a software developer at Imperial College. While initially drawn to media and law, I ultimately found my calling in the world of technology. Beforehand, I took a gap year, exploring various career paths to discover the industry that best aligned with my skills and interests. This path of self-discovery led me to pursue an exciting role in tech, where I continue to learn and grow.

My future aspirations

Looking ahead, my future aspirations encompass a transition into leadership positions within the tech industry, where I am able drive progress and shape impactful initiatives. Additionally, I wish to serve as a mentor, empowering the next generation of young girls to pursue STEM careers fearlessly.

 

“Trust that you belong and embrace challenges that provide opportunities for growth.”

My advice

Recognise the boundless potential within you. Whether or not you realise it, your contributions hold significant value within the industry.

Trust that you belong and embrace challenges that provide opportunities for growth.

Be confident and never stop learning, as your diverse expertise will propel you.

Bonus material

You can read more about Joyce’s early career journey on:

Want to join ICT?

We have some great and diverse roles in ICT, and we are always on the look out for the best tech talent.

If you want to join our team check out our current job vacancies.

Check out our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages and find out about or activities to remove barriers and create a great place to work.

 

Spotlight on: Shivani Gaind, Product Engineer

Shivani Gaind, Product Engineer

 

I work as an Oracle Payroll Functional Consultant at Imperial providing subject matter expertise to product owners and product technology specialists. I work alongside the Payroll and Pensions Manager on HR and payroll activities. The squad I work in is critical in ensuring everyone gets paid correctly at the end of each month!

“Go for what you believe is best for you. Be the best version of yourself, keep growing and enhancing your skills.

Shivani Gaind demonstrating at the ICT EXpo
Shivani Gaind demonstrating her work at the ICT Expo showcase

How did I get here?

I have 13+ years of experience in Oracle Space – an eminent enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. During the last year and a half I have worked as an Oracle Payroll Functional Consultant / Product Engineer, implementing new payroll policies.

In my previous roles I gained exprience at the University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University in their finance, HR and payroll domains.

I started my career with a world-leading enterprise provider, where I was interacting with global teams which really helped me understand how business works. My work has spanned across Asia and the UK, and I have travelled overseas to train and support colleagues on new solutions. These worldwide experiences have helped me grow professionally.

My work has spanned across Asia and the UK, and I have travelled overseas to train and support colleagues on new solutions“.

Shivani Gaind, Product Engineer, ICT outside Imperial Main EntranceMy future aspirations

I want to lead Product Development for a leading organisation in the next 5 years. I aspire to be a leader and mentor for my team.

My advice

You will get a lot of wonderful opportunities, go for what you believe is best for you. Be the best version of yourself and keep growing and enhancing your knowledge and skills.

Want to join ICT?

We have some great and diverse roles in ICT, and we are always on the look out for the best tech talent.

If you want to join our team check out our current job vacancies.

Check out our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages and find out about or activities to remove barriers and create a great place to work.

 

Spotlight on: Kam Chaggar, IT Service Management Lead

Kam Chaggar

 

While technology plays a key part in delivering Imperial’s digital ambitions I look at new ways to improve the service management function and governance around our processes. This includes all the activities to design, create, deliver, and support IT services.

My team recognises that the core concept of IT Service Management (ITSM) is to deliver IT as a service. As a team we design agile service management processes to help ICT deliver IT services that meets the needs of our customers, like you!

“My role gives me great satisfaction knowing I can share my knowledge and experience with my team and ICT colleagues to identify areas of improvement.”

How did I get here?

Kam Chaggar showcasing her work at the ICT Expo.
Kam Chaggar showcasing her work at the ICT Expo.

In March 2019 I joined Imperial College’s ICT division as a Customer Services Manager for Support Services. My role was to liaise with departments and ICT staff to ensure issues were being resolved. Along the way I met some talented and inspiring people that taught me a lot about what they do at Imperial and how they make a difference.

In August 2020 I was appointed as the IT Service Management Lead for ICT. I am responsible for ensuring the overall success of the service management function. My job includes producing knowledge articles to enable AI technology in the future, and to identify manual processes that can be replaced with automated functions – so you can get quicker resolutions to your IT enquiries.

My role gives me great satisfaction knowing I can share my knowledge and experience with my team and ICT colleagues to identify areas of improvement in order to deliver processes that help improve the quality and efficiency of our IT services.

My future aspirations

Kam Chaggar outside Imperial Main EntranceThis summer I am excited to be taking on a new challenge to broaden my skill set further by taking on more technical and complex activities as the Software Asset Management Lead in the ICT Digital Infrastructure team.

This role will be focusing on a new automated software delivery strategy that enhances the end user experience for staff and students.

My advice

Continue with your aspirations and never stop learning.

Set yourself challenges and goals to keep you motivated and don’t be afraid to ask questions – everyone learns and digests information in different ways.

Most importantly maintain a good work life balance.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone learns and digests information in different ways.”

Bonus Material

You can find out more about Kam Chaggar on Imperial People.

Want to join ICT?

We have some great and diverse roles in ICT, and we are always on the look out for the best tech talent.

If you want to join our team check out our current job vacancies.

Check out our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages and find out about or activities to remove barriers and create a great place to work.

 

You should never be the one to tell yourself no!

Women in tech: A digital career for all

As part of Women at Imperial Week, ICT hosted a webinar to spotlight a variety of digital careers, focussing on women in technology.

Our ICT EDI Lead, Robert Sprigens, introduced the panel of guest speakers who spoke about their career journeys and aspirations for their futures in tech:

  • Tanya Powell – Co-CTO at Coding Black Females
  • Gemma Seabrook – Information Insight Analyst, ICT
  • Caroline Carter – Audio Visual (AV) Installations Manager, ICT
  • Joyce Kadibu – Software Developer Apprentice, ICT

Watch the webinar recording

This session was a great way of busting the myth that a career in tech is just about fixing laptops or coding. The panel showcased the variety of roles available when starting out in tech as an apprentice all the way through to becoming a tech leader at the top of a division or organisation.

Caroline Carter
Caroline Carter, AV Installations Manager

Caroline’s AV role is particularly varied and not one you would think of as a traditional career in technology, but the Installation Manager is instrumental to understanding how students engage with technology and Caroline leads a team with a modest budget to ensure the whole AV ecosystem at Imperial works together for the best experience.

Caroline told us that technology can also have its glamourous side. Caroline has met the late Queen when the Business School opened new lecture theatres and even supported the filming of The Kingsman in one of our Royal School of Mines rooms. But there is the more unglamourous side too, including once when Caroline had to deal with burst pipes and raw sewage spoiling equipment!

Getting into tech careers

Our audience was very interested in the career pathways to get into tech roles, and the kind of skills needed to get into a digital career.

Gemma, Information Insight Analyst, let us know that she had no educational background in analytics at all! Gemma studied American Studies at Uni and her tech journey started with a summer job space planning in Tesco’s head office. This was her first taster of analytics and using data to make decisions. Gemma did a role in the NHS doing clinical audits and then went onto some higher education roles where, due to her love of spreadsheets, she was given more and more analytical responsibilities.

Joyce Kadibu
Joyce Kadibu, Software Developer Apprentice

Joyce, who is at the very start of her career journey shared her pathway to a Software Developer Apprenticeship.

“At 17, I was finishing my A-Levels and I was quite burnt out doing it through Covid and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to pursue. I applied to do a Law degree at Warwick University, but with no real passion for the subject. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I took a gap year instead to think about my passions. I wanted to see in what industry my interests lay; I started to lean into media, but kept going back to coding, developing and building platforms. Although coding is not in the creative arts, which I love, it allowed me to let out my creative urges.

Last year I decided to go into tech – I landed on software engineering after much research and speaking to people for advice. I came across Imperial’s ICT Software Developer Apprenticeship programme and initially I didn’t think I was smart enough, so I sat on my application for 3 weeks, only to apply to the day of deadline. I always told myself…

“You should never be the one to tell yourself no!.” Joyce Kadibu

 I hated that I was going back on my word, so I applied and now I am really grateful that Imperial has given me the building blocks for a big career ahread!”

A special set of skills

Gemma Seabrook
Gemma Seabrook, Information Insights Analyst

Gemma describes herself as having a ‘Trifecta of skills’ which are:

  1. Data skills – Spreadsheets, PowerBi and Insights (data driven decisions, identifying trends)
  2. Business analysis – understanding customer needs and model design
  3. Management and Strategy – Prince2, Agile SCRUM Product Owner, Product Management

Gemma also has an A-Level in maths that gave her an understanding of statistical analysis. Her work in clinical auditing did require stats analysis courses to be completed. However, Gemma suggests that many of the skills required for analytical jobs can be learnt online and are easily accessed.

Tanya, who has worked in tech for 10 years and is a career changer – moving from creative media production to software engineering – has an MSc in Software Engineering, and experience in games development, backend engineering, fronted engineering and fullstack engineering.

Tanya suggests upskilling yourself in a variety of ways andnot just through traditional education routes. Tanya runs voluntary workshops including games development and building apps for non-profit organisations. These kinds of activities can help with your own development, but also supports others in their learning – so can be very rewarding.

Soft skills are just as important

Tanya Powell
Tanya Powell Co-CTO Coding Black Females

Tanya suggests Software Engineering skills can be taught but employers are looking for other soft skills.

“I got my first software engineering role not because I had the education or could code – it was because of my soft skills. I had previously run a team, I was considered a team player, I had project management experience – the employer said they can teach me software engineering skills.”

Gemma suggested gathering examples of anything you have done outside of work. Get good examples of non-work-related projects that you have done. You may find courses and apprenticeships can be done as personal development through your employer.

“ Enthusiasm for what you want to do is the driving force that will get you to where you want to go”. Gemma Seabrook

Supporting a digital career for all

Caroline is doing a lot to support women into AV roles. She is one of WAVE’s first cohort of mentors. WAVE is a six-month UK based programme where experienced leaders guide and mentor women with expertise, knowledge, and support. She also sits on the AVIXA Women’s Council Forum to encourage women into AV tech equipment roles and judges the AV awards (The Sport Personality of the Year for AV).

Tanya is now co-Chief Technical Officer of Coding Black Females which started out as a meet up in a pub for black female developers and has grown to over 12,000 members worldwide. This network offers support for women to get into tech roles at all levels with mentorship and networking events.

Tanya says the best thing to do is go out and meet people and find out wat they like and don’t like about their job; this will help you decide what is right for you.

 “Take a gamble on yourself, once your foot is in the door you don’t know where that will take you!” Tanya Powell

Find out what jobs are available in ICT and why not ‘take a gamble on yourself’ and apply today.

A guide to how things get done in ‘real life’

Two work experience students, Sarah and Matt, were immersed in the word of IT as they spent 3 days working in all areas from Data Analytics, Product Development and Communications, where they gained an insight into the inner workings of ICT…

ICTs way of doing things is called an ‘Agile model’

“During my work experience in ICT, I spent my time helping to develop an app using the new software called Microsoft PowerApps, which will enable students to upload photos for their College ID card – and I even trained an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot to help with approval of the photos!

Every day I was included in the Product Development Team stand up meetings where they would group discuss what each person had done during the previous day and briefly outline what needed to occur today- they would then move on to discuss the main planning for the new system.

This was a very informative experience as it really gave the feel of a friendly workspace, whilst also being a guide to how things get done in ‘real life’. It also displayed to me what specific requirements need to be established in order to effectively work as a team, which in turn helps the programming people know exactly what to do in order to get everything running smoothly in the software.

Watching this all play out and being able to participate, as well as sharing my own work with the team has helped me to be able to apply it to my school subjects. Merely knowing that ICTs way of doing things is called an ‘Agile model’ and being able to see for myself how interaction with the ‘customer’ who will be using the new system enables for a greater understanding of people’s requirements and thus a smoother process overall has been of great help to me.

In conclusion, I have loved every minute of having my work experience here at Imperial College’s ICT department and I greatly recommend it.”

Author: Sarah Sowole, work experience student from Oaks Park High School, Redbridge 

Moving forward. Progression.

“Coming into a workplace with no prior experience, and from what I have seen online, I was personally expecting robots and drones that complete tasks straightforwardly.

I was pleasantly surprised when the first person I talked to immediately started talking about his motivations as a developer – helping students and colleagues alike. And, again and again, after each person I talked to, whilst there was still a focus on the tangible and material outcomes, there was an utmost focus on the intangible things at work.

A large part of my talk with a Product Manager was about a metaphorical ‘Northern Star’ – a purpose for work.

I was told that working is easier when you have been given a reason to keep on moving forward, something that I did agree with.

It was refreshing, in contrast to the do-or-die mentality I am often faced with in Sixth Form – and ultimately, a progressive outlook at ‘work’ is something that I would love to experience when I eventually enter the workplace!

Author: Matt La, work experience student from Farnborough Sixth Form College

From manager to C-level, do you have what it takes?

Headshot of panellists
The panellists, left to right: Julie, Leila, Jane

We know IT has a long way to go before it can call itself “an inclusive industry”. We recognise that and work towards bridging that gap. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is one of our strategic pillars as a part of our strategy – Investing in people and talent. In support of our EDI initiatives, we are collaborating with a number of partners that help us strive to achieve that mission.

We had excellent engagement for our latest collaboration with Everywoman, From Manager to C-Level: The steps, skills and qualities that can give you the edge webinar. 420 of you registered and more than 100 tuned in live! I encourage you to watch the recording if you couldn’t make the live session on 28 January! Some of our top female leaders were panellists:

  • Julie McCann, Interim Vice-Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering
  • Leila Guerra, Vice Dean of Education at the Imperial College London Business
  • Jane Neary, Director of Campus Services

The panel shared fantastic career insights and tips. They can be applied by anybody who’s aiming at a C-level role in their 5-year plan!  Jane, Julie and Leila took the audience through the steps you can take to make it happen, and the skills and attributes needed to make it to the top.

Here’s my favourite quote from the event:

Seema: What skills and attributes does someone need to succeed?

Leila: Networking and building relationships are universally important. Making sure you have diverse, rich and global circles. Self-awareness is of course important to have as well. Being able to look at yourself and identify what’s your voice, your passion. The element of passion is so important! Having an innovative mindset as well, knowing the role will not be linear. On the other hand, being resilient, patient and generous with yourself and others. Being in peace with yourself does really help. Your employer hired you for you!

You might also find the How Imperial’s ICT and digital team leaders are moving the needle on diversity article interesting!

More general on-demand content can be found on Everywoman’s webpage.