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Where did you start out? CIOs on their path to IT
As part of our CIO thought leadership series – a group of events designed to bring peers together in a collaborative and productive environment to discuss the IT industry – Michael Page Technology has interviewed some of Australia’s top technology professionals on topics like career advice, the challenges facing the industry and their own career stories. Our thought leaders had some fascinating backstories—Australia’s top technology professionals come from all backgrounds and walks of life. In fact, many of these senior IT executives actually started in roles completely unrelated to the ones they ended up in. Here are a few of their fascinating stories:
Michelle Beveridge, CIO Open Universities Australia
Beveridge started her career as an accountant, but while working with a manufacturing company, found that she got so frustrated with the reports generated by the computer system she was using that she asked her boss if she could undertake a course and learn to code her own reporting program. “I think what I loved about it was seeing what could be done with technology, not what was being done with technology.”
Philip Roe, Head of IT, UBS Wealth Management
Roe began his career a long way from IT, working as an aeronautical engineer in the Australian Airforce. “It was during that time that I discovered computers and realised that was where I wanted my career to go.” After putting his hand up to run an operations centre of 20 IT employees for the Airforce, he started looking through job advertisements to find out what skills were in demand for IT professionals and built his skills from there.
Linda Price, Group Vice President, Gartner
Price has perhaps the most varied backstory of all the thought leaders interviewed, starting out as a secretary, then taking a diploma of education to teach at TAFE. This was around the time the first word processors were being introduced into the workplace: “I discovered a love of computing and followed up with a Bachelor of Applied Science in computing.” From there, she moved from system implementation to project management and management, working in a service firm, a FMCG firm and in media before her current role.
Steven Gray, Director ITS Operations KPMG
Gray’s first IT role was improving operations in stores at Coles. “The role had two aspects: One was to improve operational performance in stores, and the second was to run a technology program, to introduce activity-based forecasting tools, which would mean we had models drive the way we’d measure performance in stores. It really reinforced to me that this was something that I wanted to do.” With a background featuring a strong service focus, he decided to meld the two interests in the pursuit of a technology career.