Working in the tech industry allows me to travel around the world and meet people
Lydia Thomas studied a masters in Molecular Biotechnology and now works within the cognitive computing department at IBM. She talks about her passion for tech and why young people should consider a career in the technology industry.
What is your current job role?
In my current role I do all sorts of things but the main point of what I do is to spread the word about cognitive computing and how powerful it can be.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like how dynamic the job is. I have do so many different things day to day and no day is the same as the last. I work here in London which is an amazing city. Being in a tech industry allows you to work in amazing places around the world, working with amazing intelligent people. You’ve always got a choice of who you’re spending your day with and what you’re doing.
What is it like working for IBM?
Working for IBM is wonderful just because it’s such a big company and that means your colleagues are so diverse. You meet so many different types of people and they’re all really talented individuals who you learn from every day. One of the best things about working at IBM is the opportunities it’s given me. When I came into IBM I didn’t have a background in computer science but they gave me lots of training and responsibility and really allowed me to grow.
Has being a women impacted your career?
It hasn’t had any effect to be honest. I would really encourage girls not to be put off by any stigma they might perceive. I have never felt, or would expect to feel, any less important than any male counterpart. I think it’s more of a perception than the reality. I’ve been very comfortable, well trained and totally equal.
Any advice or tips?
When your picking you’re A-levels or your GCSEs and degrees, try and give yourself as much choice as you can. The STEM topics can really give you an amazing amount of choice and if you feel like you really don’t want to be tied down to something then go for subjects that give you most choice. It will give you the flexibility in your adult life to choose where you want to work, which city you want to work in, which industry. So give yourself as much choice as possible and work as hard as you can.
How would you encourage young people into technology?
Think about how you perceive technology and what you think technology is, because before I came to IBM I didn’t have an idea about what technology really was. If you think you’re not interested in technology, think about how you’re using it every day. You can have an active hand in where that goes. You could design the next smart phone and it would affect so many people. Have a look at the possibilities in tech and what you can do to drive change.
What are your career plans for the future?
I would love to be in a leadership position. I will always aspire to be out and about because I love to travel. In the tech industry there is always an opportunity for that. I want a job that is ever changing.