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Olivia Campbell: from Office Administrator to Junior Operations Engineer

Social media handle(s): LinkedIn


A few words about me:

When I'm not residing inside the command line bringing up new infrastructure, or granting a user access to systems, I enjoy going on bat walks, feeding waterfowls, going to music festivals and live comedy - all within my locality.


Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?


Doing stocktake in an Oxfam charity shop is the only role I've ever had which did not involved being sat on a chair. Working in a charity shop, you're constantly moving around, counting or sorting out stock to go in the shop front. It was a fun way to get work experience which I needed and I enjoyed working as part of a team. Nowadays... My Apple watch reminds me to stand and move from my chair!


Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?


Non-STEM related, I was from the arts side where I enjoyed doing Graphic Design.


Where did your professional journey start?


My professional journey began the moment I dropped out of Uni where I continued doing office administration full-time instead of part-time. I gained a lot of transferrable skills, such as customer service and working with different computer systems. However, I knew that technology would replace my role and I needed to make myself future proof somehow which led me to career change into technology.


How did you get into tech and what motivated you?


My boredom led me towards curiosity. I always had to be doing something, otherwise I would be assigned house chores or more homework to do while growing up. Therefore, I had time to explore every directory on a Windows PC, learnt about all the different built in features especially for troubleshooting device issues. This lead to dismantling mobile devices and tablets where I learnt how easy it was to replace certain components myself. However, I didn't know that I could make a career out of it as it was never mentioned at school and I didn't know anyone in my network who did this for a living.


As I stagnated in my admin job, I desired to be doing something more challenging. I felt alive again the moment I resigned because it allowed me to explore what is it I wanted to do in tech. I discovered that during my career break having attended tech meet ups, workshops, networking events etc... I knew this was definitely the area I wanted to be in.


Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?


I've learnt not all workplaces are accepting or supportive towards those who are neurodivergent which can be held against you and prevent you from progression due to systematic biases.


More thought and care should be taken when creating entry/junior roles as some will set you up for being disliked by everyone. Especially, where the role involves informing people with more experience than yourself that they've just broken production, they do not like that and gatekeeping increases because you're now seen as a threat. These are only a handful of examples and there are plenty more uncomfortable ones.


"I knew that technology would replace my role and I needed to make myself future proof somehow which led me to career change into technology."

What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...


Loads!


Which is why it's my duty to try make it easier for others, guiding through the community work I do at Coding Black Females. Hopefully, their transition into tech will become more manageable than my experiences.


What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?


My biggest 'wow!' moment, will be when I finally break production properly. I haven't got a good breaking prod story under my belt yet, but I'm working on it!


What do you like / not like about working in tech?


I enjoy the variety of technologies. However, it's impossible to keep up with them all the time therefore, you have to be selective and have the ability to dabble on the move when required.


"... it's my duty to try make it easier for others, guiding through the community work I do at Coding Black Females. Hopefully, their transition into tech will become more manageable than my experiences."

What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?


My most memorable moments will always be when I meet people I know from my online Twitter network at tech events and that instant bond you develop in passing is a feel good moment, I find. Especially, when you reconnect later on at other events. There's something special about that.


And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?


Failure is part of the learning process in tech because if you got everything right all the time, you wouldn't be able to recover quickly when things don't work as intended. Therefore, developing a solutions mindset is advantageous.

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