IT architect
What do you do for a living?
Executive IT Architect for IBM. I design large scale computer systems for banks, insurance companies and public sector. My most famous project was London Congestion Charging I am Chief TechnologyOfficer (CTO) for IBM outsourced clients in the financial services sector for UK & Ireland.

How did you get interested in what you do?
My father was an IT executive so I started learning about technology from a very young age and in those days computers filled entire rooms. My father coached me in my career choice. Careers advice at school was there were no jobs in IT!

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
Practical computing experience from age 12. Computer Science & Physics at University. I chose the right companies to work for to get large scale systems experience which meant moving around the country and employers to step up in career challenge and responsibility. I am a Chartered IT Professional and member of the British Computer Society – a professional body for IT professionals.

Talk us through a day in your life
I manage a team of 30 people on a project to re-engineer the world’s financial markets. My day starts with a review of the technical problems that may have occurred. I review technical designs from my team of architects and advise on problem resolution. I started as a computer programmer and now lead teams who do the design and building of systems. I also have responsibility for the technical integrity of solutions IBM is proposing to a wide range of financial services clients so I review and coach the sales and design teams to ensure the solution is what the customer really wants. I spend a lot of time listen to customers to understand their business challenges and find innovative ways of using technology to solve them. Every day has a different set of problems to solve so no two days are ever the same.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?
Yes I only ever wanted to do what I do now.

What did your parents want you to do?
My parents were supportive on my career choice from age 12. No other career path was explored.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Have a passion for technology. Learn as much about technology as possible but do not just be a techie. Gain the widest possible business acumen and communications skills to be able to communicate with those who are not IT literate. Learn to sell yourself. All the technical knowledge in the world is no use if no-one wants to use it.

What other career directions could you go in?
Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a bank or insurance company. Freelance IT consultant.