Celebrating International Girls in ICT Day - A chat with Davila Thompson

"We need to strive for greater and more advanced roles in ICT"

As we approach the 2017 International Girls in ICT Day on April 27, we would like to acknowledge some of the professional women we work with everyday.

At Funnelback, we strive to foster an environment that promotes personal and professional advancement, flexibility, and understanding, regardless of gender or background. We believe that without that balance, the outcomes that we achieve just wouldn't be possible. We are publishing these interviews in the hopes that the honest opinions of these women will inspire many more girls to consider all of their options when selecting their area of study or deciding where they would like their careers to lead them.

Today we talk to Davila Thompson, who is a Technical Consultant at Funnelback and who recently joined the team in Sydney, Australia, from the U.S.A.

When you were at high school, what subjects interested you the most?

I loved math, science and art class. I was good at math and science, so I forced myself to love the two, but I thought I was going to be a Fashion Designer so I felt that art was my passion. Little did I know that I would choose math and science in the end!

Where did you go to university, and what did you study?

I went to Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, USA and studied Management Information Systems (MIS). I changed my career path drastically while I was studying. I applied to Drexel as a Fashion Design major, switched to Engineering in the start of my first year, switched to Business at the end of my first year, and found MIS within the Business school during my second year.

Do you feel that being a ‘girl in ICT’ offers you any advantages?

I feel the advantages now (and over the last 5 years) because of the small ratio of women to men in many ICT companies. Many companies are striving to equalize the ratio and seem to choose a qualified female over a similarly qualified male. However, I don’t think this will last. I am seeing more and more women in ICT roles and I feel that the advantage of being just a female will not be enough to get noticed. We need to strive for greater and more advanced roles in ICT, such as reaching the top of the technology departments or starting new companies altogether.

What do you love about your job?

What I love most is getting the chance to play 2 roles - technical and business. Before this role, I was a software developer in an Agile environment. I wasn’t given the opportunities to use my business skills to work with the business managers. I was expected to stay in front of the computer and not make any decisions. With my current role, I have the opportunities to work directly with our clients and suggest solutions that I believe would benefit their business and take their search experience to a new level. I also get to get my hands dirty in the code and continue to use my developer skills when building the search solutions.

What has been your most fulfilling career highlight?

I feel most fulfilled when I can see the end result of what I have been working on. My current role at Funnelback is the only place I have been able to see how my hard work actually benefits the end users. Closing my first project and getting delighted feedback from the client made me feel more satisfied in my work than any other project from the past. It was a small gesture from the client, but it meant a great deal to me. I am excited to continue to work hard and get similar end results from my future projects.

What are your personal and career aspirations for the future?

I have learned that I work best when I am working with a technology that benefits people that deserve it. I love to help people and foster healthier lifestyles, but I have tech skills that I enjoy using. My goal is to merge my passion with my skills to see my technology used as a way to help people maintain their best self.

Alongside that, family is really important to me, which makes me aspire to maintain a career that allows me to spend a lot of time with my family and friends without disrupting my workload. I want to continue to grow and enhance my skills so that I can keep working in an ICT role while gaining the trust and flexibility to do this remotely from my home. I want to have children that I can spend the majority of their childhood with while still living in a wealthy, wholesome environment.

I want to have that perfect balance of successful work and a happy life.

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