Deloitte Digital Manager Kathryn Kerwick was adamant IT was not for her, until she realised it’s not all code.
Addressing an audience of mostly teenage girls at the Go Girl Go for IT event in Melbourne on Tuesday, Kerwick reflected on her transition into ICT, having studied a bachelor of commerce and science (mathematics).
Kerwick was having “a bit of a career crisis” during her work as an analyst in Deloitte’s risk services business, and called her mentor to schedule an emergency catch-up to help her work out where she wanted to go in her career.
Based on the conversation, her mentor suggested going for a job in the digital space at Deloitte. At first, Kerwick rejected the idea.
“I was just so adamant when speaking to my mentor that IT was just not for me. There was an ongoing joke amongst my colleagues that the moment that I touched a computer it would give a ‘blue screen of death’,” she said.
“But he patiently explained to me that the digital space is far more than just coding, and it actually doesn’t have that much to do with computers. So he laid out the opportunities within the space.”
Kerwick initially thought IT was all about programming languages and coding, but has come to realise that the roles within the industry are much broader where she doesn’t necessarily need to know how to code.
She said a large part of her role at Deloitte Digital is about designing the interfaces for websites and mobile apps, thinking about the user experience and asking for people’s feedback, and solving particular business problems with clients.
“I spend time doing research, information design and interaction design. I also do visual design… and then you do actually have the coding. And we have other people who do things such as service design, ethnography, and also digital strategy,” Kerwick said.
“By joining Deloitte Digital I have had my preconceptions about technology professionals and technology roles profoundly and completely shattered.”
Working for clients across a diverse range of industries and helping them transform through digital technology is exciting, said Kerwick.
She gave an example of her work for the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, where she not only designed a visually engaging and interactive website but also helped create animated videos that acted like a backdrop for the models when they walk down the runway. She also played a key role in building momentum for the festival through Twitter and other social media sites.
Kerwick is also developing an app for Deloitte’s internal tax part of the business.
“It is a global news app that enables you to collect tax information and present it back to the user. It will be available on desktop, mobile, tablet, and everything in between.”
In her time in the industry, Kerwick learnt the importance of having an open mind and being ready to go with the flow of rapid technological change.
“What I thought was going to be a job – when my mentor was talking to me – of either sitting in front of lines and lines of coloured code or answering [support desk] calls, it’s actually a day where I’m standing up working through mocks ups and solving problems with clients. There’s very little time spent in front of the computer.
“So be open to different roles you don’t know of. I see what they call the ‘user experience’ space now and think a decade ago it didn’t exist. And it’s only a relatively new area. So the thing that might really inspire you might not have come [into existence] yet.”