International Girls in ICT Day is a global event to empower and encourage girls and young women around the world to take up studies and careers in ICT. At Miele-X, we’re committed to recruiting and encouraging female leaders across all our teams. We talked to Terri Tu, Head of Digital UX/UI and Roos Lesmeister, Head of Ecommerce Product about how they became involved in ICT and the variety of technology-related careers at Miele X.
When many people think about ICT careers, the first area they think about is coding. But the truth is, that in a digital world, technology has a role in just about every area of business, with careers that involve a wide range of skills. That’s why, at Miele X, we offer people with diverse talents, backgrounds and abilities a variety of opportunities to join our technology teams.
The road into an ICT career can start in many places
Talking to Terri and Roos, it soon becomes obvious that there are many different routes into a technology-related career. For example, Terri started as a Photography student in Canada, while Roos comes from a fashion marketing background. So, how did they move into ICT careers?
While studying photography, Terri became interested in graphic design and soon realised she enjoyed being in the computer lab more than being in the photography darkroom, so she decided to take a web design course. As she says: “I found coding really interesting. The idea of learning how things worked and being able to do it myself was very empowering.”
After studying at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, Roos joined a fashion retailer, who asked her if she wanted to help build their e-commerce proposition. She explains: “I started working with the development teams to build a strong ecommerce platform optimized for the customer and realised that I enjoyed it – and I was good at it.”
Using different skills
Terri’s first role involved website design, looking at wireframes, figuring out the requirements and managing content. When she wanted to gain broader experience of big brands and move into areas like advertising, she decided to work for agencies rather than one organisation. This move enabled her to start working on websites for big brand names. “I was having to think about how the customer was going to use the website – the whole customer journey,” she says. “So my work was using my technical skills, but also the design skills I learned in my fine arts degree, such as how people respond to colour, layout and space on the page.”
Roos finds that in her role, she’s often applying the marketing skills she learned at the fashion institute, too. “A lot of my studies involved working through projects and understanding individual users and their needs. I like being able to look at creative ways to find the most optimal solutions to meet the user’s and business needs. There’s a lot of variety in my role at Miele X, because I deal with a range of stakeholders and I’m involved in creating products from end to end. All this requires different skills, such as teamwork, coaching and guiding the team and listening to customers and stakeholders to understand people’s needs.”
An enjoyable career
Roos says she wasn’t consciously looking for a career in ICT. In fact, she doesn’t necessarily position herself as being in technology, but sees her role as improving the digital experience. She says this does involve some technical knowledge to understand how the architecture and systems work together, so she can talk to the developers. But that’s only a part of her role, which is also about talking to customers and different stakeholders to understand their needs.
She enjoys this combination of strategy and operational work. As she explains: “This is what I love about product management. You’re really understanding the business and customers’ needs and translating them into solutions. And I love growing digital products – you’re creating something tangible. I like how fast it is and that it’s based on data, so you can make decisions based on what the customer’s looking for, not just on opinions.”
For Terri, the main attraction of ICT is that technology is involved in everything. “If I’d continued my career in the fine arts, I’d still be using technology now, either for exhibitions or installations,” she says. “It’s in every aspect of life. And I find it interesting to think about how you can use technology to do whatever you’re trying to do. It allows you to be innovative and creative.”
She believes a career in ICT offers so many different opportunities. As she puts it: “It’s always changing, so there’s always something new to learn. I’ve been in the industry for quite a long time and I’m still learning. What’s really great is that I have no idea what I’ll be doing in five years’ time. I know I’ll still be in technology, but I don’t know what aspect of it, because it’s constantly changing.”
Terri and Roos are just two of our Miele X colleagues proving the value of recruiting people with diverse talents, backgrounds and abilities into our technology teams. Why not join them?
What’s Next? You Decide.