CIO interview: Juliette Atkinson, IT director, Bradford College

CIO interview: Juliette Atkinson, IT director, Bradford College

Bradford College’s IT director took a clear route than most to get into IT management

Karl Flinders

By

Printed: 22 Mar 2021 8: 30

By her comprise admission, Bradford College’s Juliette Atkinson is “no longer your related outdated IT director”. She has had a numerous profession, littered with challenges the grand majority of IT leaders devour under no circumstances confronted.

“I came at it in a really diversified capacity,” she tells Computer Weekly. Whereas most IT administrators are inclined to devour worked on the carrier desk and moved up or studied for degrees in computer science, her progression could maybe additionally rarely ever be more diversified.

At 22, Atkinson used to be a single mother, at a time when the political atmosphere had been fashioned by years of Margaret Thatcher in Number 10, who famously later stated she believed unmarried moms and their young of us could maybe per chance be in non secular orders than on welfare. Thatcher used to be the foremost girl to radically change prime minister, nonetheless no longer the very best seemingly purpose model for aspiring young ladies.

“It’s no longer gigantic when a girl at the tip doesn’t think it’s seemingly you’ll crack it,” says Atkinson. “Being a single mum wasn’t precisely supreme. I was solidly on my comprise and not utilizing a safety win.”

But she tackled the challenges she confronted, which fashioned her future. “The difficulty made me in fact resilient and additionally able to working around a deliver or deliver, even after I was informed there used to be no resolution,” she says. “I don’t accept defeat. Whereas there are constantly mess ups and concerns, these are learning experiences and build me better than sooner than.”

Decision will repay

Her profession direction, over more than 25 years, is a testomony to her resolution, willingness to take on challenges and her diversified arrangement.

“I don’t accept defeat. Whereas there are constantly mess ups and concerns, these are learning experiences and build me better than sooner than”

Juliette Atkinson, Bradford College

Atkinson done her A-ranges and entered the sphere of work, nonetheless within about a years, she desired to envision out one thing diversified. “I was a single mum and wanted a job, so I began off selling cell telephone promoting and saved ample to care for a home,” she tells Computer Weekly. At 23, she had made ample money and did appropriate that.

It used to be all the arrangement in which through her time selling promoting that she used to be supplied a job that took her into the sphere of IT. Whereas selling promoting to a cell phone reseller, Atkinson used to be supplied a job, which she accredited. She began selling cellphones because the know-how moved from analogue to digital.

As soon as yet again, she made an influence and used to be quickly supplied one other different to development, which could maybe per chance plant her firmly within the IT commerce. “I purchased into IT through selling cellphones and used to be poached by BT, the put I was in an enviornment to learn engineering abilities,” she says.

Atkinson moved from working with cellphones into networks and connectivity. “Sooner than my time at BT I had had no IT training,” she says. “At BT, I moved more into toughen. I enjoyed fixing technical problems more than I did selling, which is why I purchased out of advertising and marketing fairy rapidly.”

Her next job used to be in operations at net carrier supplier Daisy Community, the put she built up nine years of operational and managerial ride.  

Whereas accomplishing operational roles, Atkinson continued to have an effect on additional abilities in her comprise time, including IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Cisco Licensed Network Affiliate (CCNA) engineering qualifications.

Six years within the past, she bought her first IT director purpose through loads of interior promotions at a healthcare company, sooner than attractive to Aviva as global head of IT services and products.

It used to be after this that she moved into her present space, heading up IT at Bradford College. She is 18 months into the aim, in which, alongside 60 IT team, Atkinson caters to the IT demands of 10,000 college students and 900 team.

Battle for equality

Despite her success, Atkinson says there is a lengthy capacity to hurry get equality between males and females within the IT commerce. “In some unspecified time in the future of my profession, the war of providing for my family and spending time with them has been an ongoing fight,” she says.

Challenges love this face many ladies within the IT and diversified sectors, and they delivery early. Atkinson describes the challenges she even confronted entering into IT in class.

“I devour in mind strolling into computer research on my first day with a buddy, the very best seemingly diversified girl in a class of 30 boys, and the [male] teacher became to me and launched loudly that the typing class used to be two doors down and that we had been clearly lost,” she says.

She complained to the headteacher and his response used to be: “Well, he could maybe additionally goal devour some extent.”

“I devour in mind strolling into computer research on my first day with a buddy, the very best seemingly diversified girl in a class of 30 boys, and the [male] teacher became to me and launched loudly that the typing class used to be two doors down and that we had been clearly lost”
Juliette Atkinson, Bradford College

Atkinson doesn’t think notable has changed. “I could maybe additionally goal devour been within the 6% minority aid then, nonetheless I’m level-headed simplest certainly one of the well-known 17% minority of ladies now in IT, and the quantity declines without be conscious in case you to find at those in senior positions. It’s seemingly you’ll additionally be on the aid foot to delivery with, nonetheless I’m no stranger to that,” she says.

Training is required in society to educate of us about what’s or isn’t acceptable in the case of behaviour or attitude, provides Atkinson. “I’ve been in a assembly with a dealer more than once the put I was the very best seemingly girl, and the supplier assumed I was there to take notes.”

But the very best seemingly deliver “by a ways”, she says, is that it’s level-headed too easy and ingrained to think that a man will present better tag for money than a girl doing the equal job. As a final result, she says the gender pay gap is genuine and applies to “no longer appropriate wages, nonetheless diversified advantages”.

Atkinson says if political and commerce leaders are pondering about laying aside the gender imbalance within the IT and commerce sectors, there needs to be a systemic swap to the capacity we advertise roles and recruit ladies.

Speak material Continues Below


Learn more on IT structure

Learn Extra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *