Katie Quinn, a final year Business Management student at Queen’s University Belfast has recently completed a 15 month industrial placement with leading ICT company, Fujitsu. Here she talks to Business First about what it’s like to start a career in the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of technology.
Were you interested in IT at school?
When I was studying at school, I had this stereotype that people who worked in IT sat at computer screens writing code all day. When I started to learn more about the sector and the variety of roles and jobs within it – from managing client projects to team-working to create innovative solutions – I realised how social it could be and how it would complement my outgoing personality.
Tell us about your placement with Fujitsu?
My 15 month placement with Fujitsu involved a lot of travel, attending fun, action-packed events, taking part in a community engagement project and of course, learning about the latest technology innovations! I spent the first part of my work experience in Fujitsu’s Birmingham office in the Service Delivery Management team supporting a key customer. It was a fast-paced environment where I gained valuable knowledge on networks and telecoms as well as technical support expertise and all-important customer service skills. Good communicators are vital in the technology sector to help bridge the gap between the technical experts and customers across a variety of sectors.
Following this phase, I then transferred to Northern Ireland’s Business Development team where I had the opportunity to deepen my business and marketplace knowledge while supporting the team here as they showcase the economic and social benefits of Internet enabled devices to local businesses.
Here, I also gained exposure to networking and interacting with various organisations and people as well as the opportunity to become involved in community outreach. I have fundraised for Macmillan Cancer Support, participated in the launch of Fujitsu’s Women’s Business Network and helped encourage other young people into STEM subjects through the ‘Bring It On’ programme, Fujitsu’s ‘Go Berserk’ programme and its ‘Hour of Code’ course.
Any particular highlights from your industrial placement?
Looking back, a highlight of my time on placement was being awarded the ‘Industrial Placement of the Year’ accolade by my peers for making the most of my placement opportunity, showing enthusiasm and learning as much as possible about myself and Fujitsu.
Learning about internet enabled devices and wearable technology has also been a key highlight. Given the pace of digital transformation, it’s likely wearables will become more commonplace in our workplaces, so it’s great to gain exposure to this early on in my career.
What is your advice to other young people interested in IT?
My advice to students or those who want to move into the ICT sector, is to seek out and make the most of work experience opportunities. Try to shadow someone so you learn more about what the job entails and of course, do your own research. There are plenty of opportunities out there and when you start your own journey I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
To hear more from Katie on her journey in the IT sector, you can watch her speak with the ‘Bring it On’ team here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAaK1RgFwoU