I like to describe myself as a “technology enthusiast”—a professional who is inspired by designing, building and deploying technology solutions, including cloud-based solutions, to solve business challenges and empower people.

I joined Accenture Digital in April 2019 as an Industry Solutions & Services Manager in the Industry X.0 practice. I’m primarily focused on our digital manufacturing practice and on transforming manufacturing automation systems using technologies such as IoT, cloud computing and AI.

From Russia to America

About ten years ago I received my Master’s degree in engineering in Russia—at the Russian State University of Oil and Gas. I then moved to the US and began working with engineering consulting companies. Later, I joined a major consumer goods company, where I was in charge of the industrial automation strategy for one of their business units in North America.

Simultaneously, I was working on my MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. As I approached my graduation, I started thinking about my next step, and I decided to dive back into the exciting world of consulting. Industry work has many rewards, but it doesn’t particularly offer the kinds of interesting challenges you encounter in consulting.

An intense introduction to the Cloud

When I joined Accenture, I had what is referred to as a “honeymoon” period that is typically provided for new joiners to help them adapt to the workplace, network with colleagues, engage with business development, and learn new skills.

I had completed a cloud technology course at UCLA taught by an important influencer in my career, Professor John Blevins. In that class I used the Amazon SageMaker service to work on a Big Data group project. I was blown away by the processing speed and ease of development and prototyping: Need a server? Here, select one and it's ready for you in just a few minutes! (At my previous job just a server delivery took three to six months.)

So, to further advance my AWS skills, I used the introductory time at Accenture to pursue AWS certifications. In about six weeks, I was able to achieve three certifications—Certified Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect Associate, and Machine Learning Specialty. (You can find out more from a blog I wrote about that experience.)

I was the first woman at Accenture to achieve the machine learning certification, so my hope is that by sharing this achievement (going from level zero to three certifications in six weeks) I can inspire more women and increase the percentage of women represented in our cloud practice.

Throughout my career, I have enjoyed amazing opportunities to work with young professionals and mentor others. I truly appreciate being able to make a positive impact on somebody else’s life. I am happy to be a career counselor at Accenture and work with some of the most talented people in the world.

My current work

Currently, I am working with a major chemicals company recently spun off from the parent organization. You can imagine that spinoffs face a significant migration challenge. I am the lead for application migration. We use a variety of approaches. Some applications are just being moved from one server to another; others actually remain in the same service and we just switch the network and domain. In other cases, we are moving the application to the cloud. As you can imagine, my AWS certifications have been very useful and are already contributing to the success of my current work assignments.

An international family

In terms of my personal life, my husband is a US Navy officer, and we change our residence quite often. One of the reasons I returned to consulting is that I do not feel bound to a specific location, which is allowing me to focus on my career instead of worrying about moving every couple of years.

My husband is originally from Lebanon, so we have a very international family. We are blessed with two young boys, and we are raising them to be multilingual. I speak to them strictly in Russian, while my husband speaks to them in Arabic, and they are learning English at school. Our oldest son already speaks all three languages.

Viktoria Semaan

Manager – Industry X.0

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