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A Day in the Life of a Senior Business Analyst at Admiral

We spoke to Kirsty Williams-Henry a Senior Business Analysis at Admiral who has worked for the company for over eight years. Here she tells us about her role and what it’s like for a woman in tech.

Tell us about your career so far and what led you to a career in Technology?
I would say I fell into my career in technology due to my love of all things tech from a young age: I was the first of my friends to have a PC and I used it for almost everything! I pursued my love of technology at college by doing an A-Level in computing where I was the only girl in a class of eight. I found that I had a natural flare for technology as it aligned with my love for problem solving and the logical way my brain works.

I soon realised that technology was the future and I wanted to be a part of it! I went on to achieve a first-class degree in Computer Forensics at the University of Glamorgan.

After graduating I became a coder and developer for a company that had forty-three men working there and me, alongside one other woman who was not in a tech-related role. After this I joined the IT Graduate Programme at Admiral where I have found a home for the past eight years. On the Graduate Programme I got to dip into lots of different roles and ended up as an IT Business Analyst, something I would never have imagined myself doing prior to the programme. 

What does a typical day in your role at Admiral look like? 
No day at Admiral is typical! During a day at work lots of things could crop up, such as live bugs that might pull me away from other projects and diversify my day. Admiral is very good at allowing employees to try new things.

Each day allows you to put a different hat on, you have a lot of freedom to explore.

My day often involves meetings and discussions with Product Owners and Project Managers.  I need to be able to understand systems from their point of view and how they would be using them. This means I can explain things to them and put guides together to aid their understanding.

Most of my time is spent with the Developers and Testers within my team. I translate the requirements from those on the business side of the company to those on the IT side, enabling problems to be solved. Attention to detail is key as a Business Analyst - the smallest of details must be correct for systems to function correctly.

Admiral have also been great at flexible working: they have been very accommodating to me and my changing needs and have also been great at enabling us to work from home effectively during the pandemic.

If you could begin your career path over, would you change anything?
I would never change my job role; I love it and feel like it is a great fit for my skillset. If I had to change one thing it might be to investigate different areas of IT and more specifically IT Security as I find it an extremely interesting area.

How does your work impact Admiral and its customers?
My role as a Business Analysist means that I am involved in the business end-to-end. I meet those in business Operations to see the reality of how the technology that I work on is being used throughout the business, as well as any problems that might occur. From there, it is about them collectively working out what they may want from IT and the system and then it is translated into something that the IT team can take forward and work on.

Being able to see how the changes really impact those working within the business services and the call centres of Admiral really inspires me to work harder and is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

Do you have any advice for women that want to start a career in Technology? 
It can be difficult for those in Technology to put themselves into other people’s shoes whether it be the customers, those in call centres or those in business support areas, and I have found that the women in tech that I have worked with have been excellent at doing this.

The language of development and IT can also be intimidating but I encourage people to spend a day with my team so that they can see that they would easily pick it up. No one should be afraid of Technology; anyone can do it if they give it a chance! I would advise women to find the part that interests them within Technology and run with it. For example, if you have a creative mindset, there are many creative elements to IT.  You need to be an artist to write code!

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Meet Cara who has worked at Admiral for just under five years. Here she tells us about her role as a Data Warehouse Developer. What led you into a career in Technology and what has your journey been like so far?  I decided to do a degree in Mathematics at Swansea University because I had enjoyed maths throughout my education. This progressed to a master’s degree in Mathematics which further allowed me to pursue my love for maths. Alongside my studies I did a number of placements and internships with Swansea Hospital where I learnt about nanotechnology and the data that goes into it, and also with Morriston Hospital where I worked in laboratories and analysed the data behind them. This was the first time I had really looked into data and it helped me realise that I wanted to find a graduate scheme that involved data and also allowed for career progression in a good job that I would enjoy. I decided to apply for the Admiral Graduate Program. I went into the Data Warehouse function and have been there ever since. Although I felt as if I fell into Technology, my mother worked in IT and was a massive inspiration to me, meaning a career within Technology never felt out of reach. I am grateful for the flexible working options available at Admiral and I think that the company has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic well. Most employees are now working from home, but even before then I was part of a working from home pilot that meant I got to work from home three days a week. Core hours, that used to mean that you had to be present in the office 10am-4pm, have now been removed in IT, allowing a flexible way of working. What would a typical day in your role at Admiral look like?  Although life is very different right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like many employees at Admiral, I do not feel as if there is a real typical day working for Admiral. When we were in the office, the first thing we would do as a team is have a morning coffee together. I really value my teammates and a big part of the love I have for my job comes from the people that I work with. After this, I have a stand-up meeting with my team which is a run through of what each of us will be working on. I can then get on with my own tasks and normally, I will code all day. I enjoy the flexibility and freedom that my role provides. How does the work you do impact Admiral as a business and its customers? I work in Data Warehouse which is of critical importance at Admiral. Recently, I have been working on a report that shows how many cars, vans and houses we have on cover each day. This report is given to Senior Management each morning to give a clear picture of the company’s standing. Although most of our Technology roles are not directly customer-facing, our teams are central to facilitating our excellent customer service experience.  Do you have any advice for women that want to get into Technology but feel intimidated?  I have personally never felt intimidated being a woman working within Technology. When doing a maths degree, which was predominantly male, I never felt as if I didn’t belong or that I didn’t deserve to be there. The advice I have for any women that want to get into Technology is that they should not be scared or intimidated. Just under a year ago I attended and gave a speech at a conference in London where around nine-thousand people attended. After I had finished my speech, I was informed that only sixteen percent of the speakers were women. This incredibly low representation of female speakers shocked me. Unfortunately however, this does reflect the representation of women working within the Technology industry. After learning more about it, I realised how great it was to be one of the few representing women in T`1echnology and showing women that if I can do it, so can they! It is great to be part of a company that aligns with my morals and advocates for equal opportunities in Technology. 

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"Tell us about yourself." Explain your previous roles, education, hobbies and interests and don’t forget to expand.  We want to know what these experiences have taught you. Elaborate on how you can use what you’ve learnt in the working environment. Be mindful not to overshare and keep it professional. "What are your weaknesses?"Pick a weakness relevant to the role you have applied for. Make sure to explain what you have done / are doing to improve in this area. Some people think picking a strength and spinning it to seem like a weakness will come across better, but it doesn’t feel honest and can insinuate you are not self-aware. It’s ok to be honest – none of us are the finished article. "What are your strengths?"Pick strengths that are relevant to the role and provide examples to support your answer.  Read the job advert beforehand and familiarise yourself with essential and desirable skills – this will help to ensure you’re showcasing the skills the recruiter is looking for. "What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?"If the interviewers don’t specifically ask for a ‘professional’ example, it’s OK to draw from personal experience, however, you should always make sure you’re able to relate it back to the role you are applying for.  The main thing to cover is why you are proud of this achievement, what it taught you and how it has prepared you for this role.  "Why do you want this job?"Show off your knowledge! The interviewer will want to know you’ve researched this role and the company.  You should know a fair bit about the role you’ve applied for – read the job advert, visit the career site and follow the company pages on social media platforms.  Explain what attracted you to this position.  You may wish to talk about the company benefits, the working environment, the opportunities and why you think you’ll be successful. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"Be honest and be realistic. If you want to progress that’s great, but suggesting you want to be the CEO within a few years might be unrealistic.  Think about the opportunities available to you in this role, not only will this show you’ve done your research, but it will also show that you are willing to work hard and are keen to progress.  If progression is not for you, that’s also fine.  You should explain how you plan to continue to do a great job and all the skills you have that will enable you to this. "Why do you want to leave your current job?"Be honest and be professional.  Be diplomatic in your answer and don’t forget you’re in an interview.  You may want to use this question as an opportunity to talk about the new role and why you are excited about the prospect of joining this company. "Why should we hire you?"This is your chance to set yourself apart from other applicants.   It’s tough to compare yourself to strangers but use this opportunity to talk about your strong work ethic, relevant skills and passion for the role.  Expand upon your answer and provide examples – this is usually one of the last questions in an interview and you don’t want to miss out on this last chance to impress the interviewers. "Do you have any questions?"Lots of people think they must ask a question at the end of an interview, but if the interviewers have been comprehensive in their explanation, then you might not have questions.  This is fine - don’t feel like you must think of something, but equally, make the most of this opportunity to discuss anything you’re unsure about. Here’s some of the questions we regularly get asked at the end of an interview:What do you like most about working for *insert company name here*?Would you like me to expand upon any of my answers or examples?Are there opportunities for training and development in this role/department?What would you say are the most challenging aspects of this role?What are the next steps of the process?

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