Technology brings great benefits to society. I read an article recently which said it took 75 years for 50 million people to own a telephone, 13 years for 50 million people to own a television but only 35 days for a new Angry Birds app to have the same amount of users. IT is changing at an exponential rate. I am fascinated by how people interact with technology both at home and at work, which is why I love being part of this Retail IT revolution.
I am a Service Manager working in the Retail Service Delivery Team at Waitrose IT. I manage the IT hardware contracts with our suppliers to help us support approx 100,000 pieces of IT equipment in all branches in the UK and Channel Islands. From Tills and Handheld devices, through to Telephony and Back Office equipment. I am also fortunate in that I work as one half of a job share.
I have never subscribed to the theory that women have to choose between having a career and a family. I believe you can forge your own path and rewrite the rule book as long as you're willing to work hard to achieve success. I've had a varied career so far, thrown in at the deep end solving business challenges and being operational. I think that this variety has helped me to be adaptable to any given situation. Every company I have joined so far has gone through a transformation programme, which has in turn made me embrace and accept change more readily. Change is the only constant, so they say, and this is certainly true if you decide on a career in IT.
I was working as a Technical Account Manager at Microsoft when my baby daughter became seriously ill and leaving the company was one of the hardest decisions I have made, but I learnt so much from it. I decided to spend a career sabbatical teaching IT and Numeracy to children and adults. I studied and became an evening and weekend IT lecturer for adults with learning difficulties and also taught vocational BTEC IT qualifications to students at Reading's new University Technical College. As well as this, I took up a part time evening and weekend position at Waitrose Customer Support, before joining Waitrose IT over a year ago.
I grew up above my father's woodworking and metalworking shop and remember school days where IT classes consisted of learning how to populate excel spreadsheets and write a word document. During my IT career, amongst other roles, I have project managed a prototype Portable Law and Order device for the police, coded part of the Eurofighter radar system, developed a carbon fibre composite structures test system, edited Match of the Day Video transmissions, produced TV and Radio events programmes, developed and supported the Incapacity Benefit system, set-up a UK Global Sourcing Office, managed Retail customers and now IT Suppliers. I have found myself using, and ultimately managing, IT during every step of my career. I spent a lot of time on varied projects, for different clients, working both abroad and in the UK. I learnt about business from the ground up and believe that relationships and people are the key to success.
All this has taught me that you have to think differently to make the most out of a career in IT. Have a basic plan of what you want to achieve but also be completely open to new opportunities along the way. I want to encourage you to surround yourself with positive people who inspire you and if you are lucky for one of these people to be your line manager, grab them as a mentor. Someone who believes in you, to help you develop and nurture your talents.
I found such a person 10 years ago and he still supports my career today. You have to forge ahead with opportunities, think of other ways to make it work for you or maybe take some time to re-invent and review your career goals. A career in IT is so versatile that you can move sideways, upwards or stay as you are and still be fulfilled. I feel that at this stage of my career I can make a success of both my career and family life. For now, I feel I have the best of both worlds and being a Partner at Waitrose has helped enable me to achieve this.
Anjanie has over 17 years of industrial experience in the IT, aerospace, retail and media sectors. She started her engineering career at 16, winning a sixth form scholarship at British Aerospace and Airbus before being sponsored by BAE Systems to study for her MEng in Systems Engineering at Loughborough University. Anjanie then accepted an apprenticeship as a Broadcast Assistant at the BBC before moving into the IT Industry.
Anjanie is passionate about technology and worked her way up from developing and testing C# .NET applications to becoming the UK Project Office Manager for Global Sourcing at Atos. Anjanie then became a Technical Account Manager at Microsoft, looking after clients in the Retail, Manufacturing and Services Industries. She then took a career sabbatical to look after her young family and also qualified as a teacher during this time. Anjanie now works for Waitrose as a Service Manager within the Retail Service Delivery Team in a job share flexible working arrangement and is helping to support the development of an IT apprenticeship scheme at Waitrose.