employee stories

How to succeed in IT

How to succeed in IT

WORK180
WORK180Mar 2, 2021

IT has traditionally been seen as a male dominated area, but QSuper know that enabling women to thrive in IT brings in more diversity of thought and makes individuals, teams and the organisation itself more successful.

We spoke to 15 women succeeding in the QSuper group’s IT department, about what transferable skills help in IT careers, the most interesting projects they’ve worked on, and what it’s really like working at QSuper.

Read on to find their answers!

What non-technical skills and personality traits help people succeed in IT?

Michelle Munro | Lead Cloud Engineer, Cloud Operations, IT Shared Services: Good stakeholder management skills; Ability to communicate at all levels of the organisation; Drive to learn and do new things; Ready to have a lot of fun!

Alex Koppon | Graduate Systems Developer - IT Delivery:

Patience, understanding, and just being friendly, are the most important traits/skills to have, because they drive good team communication.

Ati Brown | Delivery Manager - Superannuation Domain - IT Delivery: Be a good listener, be curious and exercise empathy.

Natacha Vergne | IT Investment: The most important skill is the ability to get your user. You have to talk their language and understand their job. I try to get into their shoes and think “what will make their life easy”. I spend 2 weeks writing a program for something they will have to use every day, so the result needs to be easy to use and practical.

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Jenny Oliver | Data Quality & Governance Analyst, Data Office/IT Arch: A curiosity to find out the why and what – IT is a forever changing world, the desire to keep learning is key. Effective communication skills - the ability to be able to speak with people at all levels and explain system/data driven concepts and processes clearly to a wide-ranging audience.

Dina Tate | Delivery Manager – Relationship Management Team, Digital Applications: Accountability, Innovative Thinking, Inquisitiveness.

Kelley Cooper | Senior Business Analyst, IT Delivery:

You need good people skills especially communication as you have to work with and understand all different people. I think you need to want to gain knowledge so that you really understand what you are working on.

Jane Ericksen | Manager Business Consulting, MSO SA&BC: Adaptability to be able to pivot for technology changes and business disruption; Team-player as we are always reliant on others from multiple IT practices; Persistence to achieve the end goal; and Challenging yourself with a different practice or a leadership opportunity (big or small) – you may be surprised what you find. #NeverGiveUp #NeverStopLearning.

Jane Hogan | Manager Information Security Governance – Information Security: Being a self-starter is key. There are so many opportunities to improve on existing solutions and processes and using your initiative will make you stand out and succeed. The ability to explain IT concepts in non-IT speak is also a very good skill to have.

Fiona Willmott | Iteration Lead/Test Lead for EISS: In IT you still deal with customers, just internal ones. Skills such as networking, people management, time management and conflict resolution are needed.

Monica Mihai | Business Architect in MSO strategy alignment and business consulting: Flexibility is #1. That can be flexibility in approach, in discipline, in focus, in style. A close #2 is communication, and the ability to communicate in a way which is most natural to your audience.

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Teagan Cliff | Security Operations Analyst – Information Security: Many people think of IT people as loners sitting in a dark room madly typing code. That can’t be further from the truth. A large part of what we do requires strong communication skills, the ability to negotiate and connect with employees at all levels of the business. Also, a great sense of humour.

Vicki Love | Delivery Manager, Integration – IT Shared Services: I think being able to interact with both technical and business people and to build relationships across the various teams is a skill that is not technical at all but one that I find has helped me immensely in my role.

Taru Gupta | Senior Integration Specialist, Enterprise Integration and Shared Platforms: Ability to listen to your customer’s needs and empathize with their problems. Being transparent, honest and upfront with stakeholders really works.

Liz Daykin | Enterprise Data Steward, IT Architecture: For my role, it would be dealing with ambiguity, being collaborative, organised, and able to communicate technical information to different levels of the business in a non-technical way.

What’s the most interesting project you have worked on during your time at QSuper?

Michelle Munro | Lead Cloud Engineer, Cloud Operations, IT Shared Services: Cloud foundations project to establish to cloud centre of excellence. Learning from all delivery teams in how they have adopted the cloud.

Alex Koppon | Graduate Systems Developer - IT Delivery: The most interesting project I’ve worked on was the Member Online website upgrade. It was one of the first projects I worked on, and it was great to be a part of something which offered direct quality of life improvement for users.

Ati Brown | Delivery Manager – Superannuation Domain - IT Delivery:

The most rewarding project I worked on was the delivery of “COVID-19 - Early Access to Super” shortly after we were all impacted by COVID pandemic. This was a change to superannuation regulations on compassionate grounds for our members financially impacted by the coronavirus. It felt great to make a difference and be able to help our members at their most vulnerable.

Natacha Vergne | IT Investment: I truly enjoyed working behind the scene for the redevelopment of our SRI option. There was a lot of IT work involved but we did it in record time and right during lock down.

Jenny Oliver | Data Quality & Governance Analyst, Data Office/IT Arch: Implementing a data quality process to capture, report on and enable the remediation of data quality issues across the enterprise. The project was a huge team effort and allowed more people across the enterprise to gain a clearer understanding of what data quality is and the importance of it.

Dina Tate | Delivery Manager – Relationship Management Team, Digital Applications: I would say the LCS Project, as it involved PowerApps and Cloud technology for the first time. The collaboration with the project was something we worked towards building and achieved that very successfully.

Kelley Cooper | Senior Business Analyst, IT Delivery: Probably the changes we had to make because of COVID. It was a very fast paced and an important piece of work as it directly affected our members. Because of the situation there were tight time frames and we all had to pull together to get it across the line.

Jane Ericksen | Manager Business Consulting, MSO SA&BC: Secondment for 4 months in early 2020 as Head of Partnering & Governance due to some temporary leadership changes which unexpectedly encompassed my leading our technology response to the COVID event. Exciting time to pivot our business within 3 weeks, without compromising our mandates, and delivering technology to extend our frontline services ensuring premium support for our members.

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Jane Hogan | Manager Information Security Governance – Information Security: I have spent the last 12 months going around and talking to just about every team here at QSuper and passing on my knowledge in how to protect yourself from scams. It’s been a fascinating experience seeing the barriers being broken down; once people begin to feel in control of their online security (and realise how easy it is), they become much more curious and interested in security as a whole. I love seeing previously disinterested people become passionate advocates for security.

Fiona Willmott | Iteration Lead/Test Lead for EISS:

A large Insurance Transformation was the first project that introduced me to a true Agile Way of Working. It was a great learning curve and sparked the idea of pursuing a career path as a Scrum Master.

Monica Mihai | Business Architect in MSO strategy alignment and business consulting: New cloud based telephony system, where we went from something quite old, heavy, and inflexible, to a modern system, in the cloud, which was controlled in house, by the team actually using it.

Teagan Cliff | Security Operations Analyst – Information Security: Security Awareness training is traditionally thought to be boring, dull and something to be avoided. I developed and implemented an innovative and (dare I say it) fun security awareness campaign that resulted in almost 200 attendees’ rating the training 9.5/10 (net promoter score) and a 2622% increase in the interest and involvement in our communications.

Vicki Love | Delivery Manager, Integration – IT Shared Services: The Retirement by Design project is the most interesting one I have worked on to date. It has crossed all areas of the business as well as multiple areas of IT Delivery and IT Shared Services. This project has helped build and strengthen relationships between the various squads and is also the first project I have worked on at QSuper of its size.

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Taru Gupta | Senior Integration Specialist, Enterprise Integration and Shared Platforms: Open fund project which allowed the general public to sign up to QSuper. The project had numerous challenges with connecting multiple applications, faster response times for the prospects, legal mandates and architecture which simulated a fantastic response from the project team for a successful outcome.

Liz Daykin | Enterprise Data Steward, IT Architecture: Holistic Data Management – this project was the official start of our Data Maturity journey at QSuper.

What’s it really like at QSuper?

Michelle Munro | Lead Cloud Engineer, Cloud Operations, IT Shared Services:

I’m supported and there are a number of women in IT and beyond to look up to and admire.

Alex Koppon | Graduate Systems Developer - IT Delivery: From day one I saw other women in senior roles in my department, so I knew there were pathways to moving up the ladder at QSuper. Though, most importantly, I’d say that I haven’t been treated like a woman in IT, but as any other developer.

Ati Brown | Delivery Manager – Superannuation Domain - IT Delivery: I have had a wonderful career progression at QSuper. For the past 7 years, IT at QSuper has provided support, coaching and guidance which assisted me in my leadership journey. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve our members and work with our wonderful colleagues at QSuper.

Natacha Vergne | IT Investment: Highly recommended. Contrary to preconceived ideas, IT is not completely male dominated, and I have always worked with a very friendly team. It’s a good atmosphere where everyone can have a good career and not as competitive as some other fields.

Jenny Oliver | Data Quality & Governance Analyst, Data Office/IT Arch: As a woman in IT at QSuper I feel empowered to be the best I can be. There’s support and guidance for me to challenge myself and progress career wise but there’s also the understanding that a happy work life balance is important.

Dina Tate | Delivery Manager – Relationship Management Team, Digital Applications: I honestly don’t believe that gender has played a part in my experience at QSuper. I feel that there have been (and are) many strong, professional women in Leadership positions at QSuper, women lift each other up – that traditional ‘women’s competition’ doesn’t happen here and we are treated equally by each other and men alike.

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Kelley Cooper | Senior Business Analyst, IT Delivery: I have always felt supported and never been made to feel like I don’t belong in IT at QSuper. My experience here is nothing but positive and I really enjoy working here which is why I am still here after 10 years.

Jane Ericksen | Manager Business Consulting, MSO SA&BC: QSuper has one of the best cultures I have experienced in my 25-year career and the most opportunities realized for me in such a short time. I am a female leader in IT feeling empowered to push the boundaries. QSuper welcomes diversity and integrates this into its operating model – opportunities abound!

Fiona Willmott | Iteration Lead/Test Lead for EISS: I have never felt that being a woman in IT with QSuper has ever been a disadvantage or given me an advantage for that matter. I have the skills to do my role well and that is what is important to my leaders.

Monica Mihai | Business Architect in MSO strategy alignment and business consulting:

The skills you bring to the table, be it hard technical skills or soft interpersonal skills, are respected, and valued. IT is not just about 0’s and 1’s, it’s about helping an organisation do the right things, make the right changes, and travel the right path. Working in IT @ QSuper lets you live and breathe this every day.

Teagan Cliff | Security Operations Analyst – Information Security: Part of the reason I chose QSuper was the fact that it lived its values of diversity. My future manager was a highly competent and supportive woman in IT, and our team also included a person with a visible disability. My work within the role has been challenging. I have had a high degree of autonomy; my contributions were valued, and I have learned a significant amount as a result.

Vicki Love | Delivery Manager, Integration – IT Shared Services: As a woman in IT at QSuper I feel like I am treated the same as my male colleagues in IT which is a nice feeling to have. I have been given many opportunities in the 21 months I have worked here and have felt supported and valued.

Taru Gupta | Senior Integration Specialist, Enterprise Integration and Shared Platforms: IT has allowed me to juggle being a partner, parent and a professional with women friendly policies implemented by QSuper. Regular salary reviews to ensure pay parity is another highlight of QSuper. QSuper has an open culture which promotes participation of women in all facets of organisation, with women in various high-level positions providing inspiration to women like me.

Liz Daykin | Enterprise Data Steward, IT Architecture: IT Architecture at QSuper has been one of the most positive work environments I have experienced throughout my career. I feel that I am a valued member of the management team and that my team's contributions to QSuper are valued and respected.

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This content is provided for information purposes only and the views and opinions are based solely on the observations, views and opinions of the authors and those providing comments.

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