We caught up with Shaquilla, a Sussex University Physics graduate, to talk about her time at Atos. Shaquilla made a big impact during her time on the Graduate Programme, shown through her achievement of ‘Grad of the Year’ at the end-of-programme awards ceremony.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
When I graduated from Sussex, I originally applied to a lot of consultancy and tax jobs only at companies in the big four. All of a sudden, I realised that this wasn’t for me. I cancelled all of my applications at once and applied for Atos, who I primarily engaged with through Bright Network. I got onto the Technical Consulting Programme – which was ideal as I wasn’t sure whether to do hard Tech or Business, so this allowed me to give both sides a go. Upon completing the programme (March 2018), I have decided that the Tech side is more for me and will now follow this path. During my time on a Graduate Programme at Atos I also led the graduate committee, ran a social media team and an events team, was involved in the Diversity network, and spoke on panels. For this, along with my work on client projects, I was awarded Graduate of the Year in 2018. In my spare time, I volunteer at Code First Girls where I teach other women how to code and build websites.
Tell us the top three skills you have learnt during your time at Atos and why you need them in your role?
Communication – being able to communicate to a variety of people at different levels of knowledge. Learning to be concise and get to the point when talking to people and being quick and clear.
Entrepreneurialism – being tactical and strategic about what you want. I’ve learnt how to go to the right people for things and know how to ask questions.
Learning fast – I soon realised that google is your friend. You should always be asking questions - no one expects you to know everything, even the experts don’t know everything.
What kind of training have you received? How has this helped your professional development?
Every graduate at Atos gets a two-week induction and training course. This section of the programme helps you to figure out what kind of leader you will be at Atos. From there, you lead the training how you like. If you’re interested in learning something specific, you can approach your manager with what you want to learn and they will guide you with the right materials for this.
On my programme, it was a lot of learning on the job. The flexibility allows you to try different things at first before then choosing what you want to do and completing more official training in that area. There’s online training that you can access as you like, and your manager sets you on certain training courses that are right for what you want to pursue.
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
I don’t think there is one. It goes back and forth - some days I’m incredibly busy, others I’m not. On a busy day, I will be kept busy with meetings both client and internal, tasks to complete… However, what you do in those moments where there’s less to do is what will really shape your career. I can fill my less busy days with learning, training, networking, extra-curricular activities like committees and that has enabled me to get opportunities which lead to more busy days!. The role is what you make it.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
I find it so interesting that technology is being worked on by so many pockets of people all over the world. I love the idea that there are so many techies that are doing it, and I’m excited by what everyone is creating. It is an industry where information is to be shared with everyone! It’s incredible also because everyone needs technology, everybody uses it and for me, I want to learn as much as I possibly can about it.
What advice would you give to women applying to a typically male-dominated sector?
Be yourself. Don’t try to be a like a man, don’t copy any man you aspire to. Your power is in who you are, how you communicate, how you influence. I feel as though I’m able to be myself here at Atos. There’s more than enough space for you. We need as many people in Tech as possible – that includes women.
Also, don’t be intimidated if you’re the only girl in the room – you were hired the same as everyone else. You deserve to be there as much as everyone else. Believe in yourself and your ability to thrive.
And find communities both inside and outside your company! There are communities for Women in Tech all over the country so there are spaces where you can speak to and get to know like-minded women!
What is the company culture like?
Everyone here is willing to help and friendly. Atos are doing the work to be inclusive and equal - there’s a big effort going on to be inclusive of everyone regardless of age, sexual preference, race, gender, ability and to bring those communities altogether. I feel included here.
Also, the CEO walks around like he’s one of us, which is cool.
Has anything surprised you since you started?
Nobody knows everything. I came from the naïve view that the experts know everything- and that is really not the case. So as long as you’re continually learning, growing, improving, you will do well here.
What 3 words would you use to describe life at Atos?
Full of Potential (I know that is not 3 words)
Is there any other advice you’d like to give to any future grads working at Atos?
Network, take part in extra-curriculars and make sure to show your worth to get the most out of your time at Atos.
To read more about Atos and apply to their graduate roles & internships, click here.