Spotlight on women in computing – Lynsey O’Connor

IMG_1091Lynsey O’Connor recently started as a computer lecturer at Ayrshire College. Before this she worked as a project manager. In this article, Lynsey talks about the highlights of her role as a project manager and the opportunities available to change and develop in the ICT industry.

I’ve been working in ICT in the finance industry since leaving education in 2002.  After studying maths and computing at university, I was lucky enough to secure a place on a graduate training programme in London with a company called Reuters. The programme allowed me to try out various departments in the business and to decide where I would like to apply for a permanent role.

I spent my second placement in the ICT department of the editorial section of the company (they are responsible for reporting news from all over the world).  I loved it and stayed put for four years working as a project manager, before moving to Barclays Bank in Glasgow.

As a project manager, no two days were ever the same. My role was to make sure a project ran smoothly – this could mean anything from being out recruiting new team members, capturing requirements from clients about what they are after, liaising with development and testing teams, keeping track of and deciding how to spend multi-million pound budgets, preparing presentations and updates for senior management and any number of other things!

Project work is really varied and makes for an exciting role – I’ve managed projects such as moving 300 jobs from London, Singapore and New York to Glasgow, developing software to help prevent terrorist financing, shaving milliseconds off the time it takes to generate news headlines that appear on Sky News and many more things.

In today’s world ICT project management also means working in a truly global team and therefore doing some travel. On the last project I worked on, my team was spread across India, South Africa, New York, London, Glasgow and Singapore.

  Working in ICT projects gives you a really wide range of career opportunities – leading projects, specialising in areas such as development or testing or risk management, or getting into another field altogether.

In my time at Barclays I was offered ICT roles in HR, working for third party software development companies and also spent time as a Business Manager. I always emphasise to my students that, with a job in ICT, there is constant opportunity to change and develop. The world really is your oyster!


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