How a marketing grad became an Accenture Software Engineer
August 21, 2020
Marketing and finance grad, Siobhan, is thriving as a Software Engineering Analyst with Accenture in Canberra. Turns out her marketing skills are just as important as her technical knowledge.
I did a double degree: Business Management, majoring in marketing; and Commerce, majoring in finance. After graduating from UQ, I started work in the marketing team of a Queensland software company.
Then my partner got a job in Canberra.
When I started to look for possible ACT roles, my eye was caught by Accenture’s marketing campaign for grad positions. It talked about ‘not just being put into one box’. Accenture was interested in people’s passions, not just their work role. They were showcasing musicians and artists in tech roles – that really spoke to me.
I also liked the idea of helping government to deliver services to citizens. The project I’m currently working on will affect every Australian. It’s the first job I’ve held where I can see my work has a real effect on all corners of our society, not just a specific client group or industry. That’s important to me as I’ve always looked for a bigger sense of contribution. While my previous roles were rewarding, they didn’t carry the weight of the work I’m doing now.
As soon as I started with Accenture, I realised my marketing experience was going to be extremely helpful. People don’t realise the hardest part of tech projects is not getting the technology right, but getting people on board to use it. A massive part of Accenture’s projects is about communicating effectively to all sorts of people. You need more than technical expertise. Half the job is crafting messages in a way that lets business people get their heads across technical concepts.
We regularly conduct product demonstrations for business representatives on new software our team has built. The idea is to give the client comfort that the software works as planned under different scenarios. Within my first two months working for a large government agency, I was asked to present the demo for our team!
At that point, I was only just scratching the surface on the technology side. But, because I had a background in business and finance, I knew what the client was looking for and how to speak their language. My communications skills and understanding of busines requirements got me through.
A year later, I’m much better at the technology. I was very lucky to be put into an amazing team, with a lot of very experienced, knowledgeable and patient people, who were willing to answer a lot of questions!
My team mates are very diverse. Half are based in Manilla and work on projects all over the world. It’s great to have their skills and knowledge from other markets. The team lead and I are in Canberra, and then we have other team members in Melbourne. Some have technical backgrounds, and then others, like me, never thought they’d end up in technology. One of my team mates studied marine biology!
I love that Accenture gives you different opportunities to get involved in innovative projects outside your client role. I recently volunteered in ANU Tech Launcher, which helps students develop the skills to use technology to bring great ideas to life and have a positive impact on society.
My team built a UI prototype for emergency services, to help first responders make better decisions in stressful situations. Our interface took into consideration environment, sound, temperature and haptics (vibrations on the steering wheel). I played piano growing up and had studied the physiological effects of different types of music. It was cool being able to use that knowledge to support the project.
I’ve found Canberra really surprising. The lifestyle is amazing. Ski resorts and the beach are just a couple of hours away. My beautiful dog, Mia, loves it here. She’s my work from home buddy and my running mate. She’s a Border Collie. If she thinks I’m not running fast enough, she gets behind me and rounds me up! She’s helped me knock a good 10 minutes off my PB for a 10km run.