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April 11, 2018
Promoting tech careers and raising awareness of mental health issues
By: Nida Sajid

I joined Accenture in a business role, but soon realised that it wasn’t for me. I started looking at making the transition to the technology side and did some programming courses in my own time. I mentioned this to people at work – and they cottoned on to what I really wanted to do and helped make it happen. My first technical project was a defining moment and it shows that if you’ve got the drive to learn and continually upskill, the resources and opportunities will be there for you.

I’m now a Technology Architect, with a whole bunch of technology certifications to my name. I studied Pure Maths at uni and a lot of the subject is about recognising patterns and abstractions – concepts that carry over into software architecture. My role involves shaping end-to-end tech solutions for clients. Most of my time will be spent on a client’s site modernising their legacy systems and helping them rotate to new IT by building and designing cloud applications. The projects are complex and cutting-edge – from a tech perspective I’m always learning something new and my confidence has grown too, as half the battle is convincing the client it’s the right thing to do!

Being a woman with an ethnic minority background, I’m in a real position to encourage greater diversity among the tech workforce. I think it’s motivating for students to see and talk to someone they can relate to. I’ve attended ‘Women in STEM’ events to give young females an idea of what’s on offer and stress that they don’t have to look or act in a certain way to work in technology. I’ve also spoken at Women in Tech Insight Days – once at The University of Edinburgh where I studied, strangely finding myself giving a presentation in the same room I had my Maths lectures!

“It’s really heart-warming to see the importance Accenture places on mental health.”

As well as gender equality, I’m passionate about raising awareness of mental health issues. This is something that affects everyone and it’s heart-warming to see the importance that Accenture places on it. I’ve suffered with anxiety in the past so I joined our Mental Health Allies programme, which is such a brilliant initiative that I felt inspired to raise funds for it. The great love of my life is long-distance running; I’ll run to celebrate how happy I am or to destress if things aren’t going so well. So, I set myself the challenge of running a half marathon, or 10 kilometres, every month for a year, in different locations across Europe. Everywhere I went people had a story to tell about mental health – it’s a subject that transcends all boundaries in society.

I think it’s important to give back to others. Everyone at Accenture has three days off a year to take part in charity or community activities. One year I volunteered for Crisis UK, a homeless charity, at Christmas. Sleeping rough on London’s streets is a horrible experience so it was great to be able to give the homeless a nice few festive days. It’s also important to give something back to yourself and I find focusing on my running and setting goals here helps to give me something to centre on outside of work.

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