Emma McGuigan, Director at Acccenture

by Emma McGuigan

This month, October 2015, marks my 21 year anniversary at Accenture. I’ve done a great deal of things in that time from technical architecture, to business analysis, to big delivery, problem solving and fixing things. I really enjoy problem solving and fixing things, especially when it’s a technical thing.

My love of technology grew from a love of creating things and a curiosity over how things work.  Growing up I liked to make pictures, models, cakes, temporary cardboard structures that filled my room but I also liked to take my bike apart and reassemble it; connect lego sets up to battery powered motors to create remote controlled toys.  It was a close call between a degree in engineering or one in architecture but the core aspect of making something was never in doubt.

I can still remember coding my first application at 13 on a PC so heavy it created a dip in the desk: my first hello world app on a unix box in first year at uni; and the first application of my professional career, developed on NeXTStep terminal that now sits in the Science Museum. But whilst knowing you helped build something used by 1000s of people every day is rewarding; the thing that really inspires me about technology is the potential of it.

We have seen many areas of our lives transformed within a matter of years from the way we connect to each other to the way we shop; the pace of change and opportunity only accelerates.  This pace of change and the opportunity it creates to invent, along with the diversity of the skills/expertise that you need to make an idea successful, continues to inspire me.  When I joined Accenture as a graduate in 1994 I thought it seemed like a great place to start my career; 21 years on, I remain because of the people and the opportunity.  I have changed roles numerous times and explored many areas of Accenture’s business but always centred around the people and using technology to deliver value to our clients.

Technology also enables me every day as a working parent; measured on results my office is truly mobile. I can be as effective working from home or the school gates as I can in a branded office -as necessity dictates.  

In my current role leading the Technology business for the UK & Ireland I also have the chance to empower young people to embrace careers in tech and have the same kind of opportunities I have had.  That dialogue is often tough as the breadth and depth of opportunity is often unknown but I am in no doubt that we need an increasingly diverse set of skills to fulfil the potential of the industry and the career opportunities only grow – it’s certainly not a bad place to be as we look forward.

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