“There are no limits”: Sarah Hamilton on her first year at PA Consulting

  • Sync NI caught up with Sarah Hamilton to celebrate her 1st Anniversary in PA Consulting’s expanding Belfast Office and get some insights into her work as a Triage Analyst.

    While speaking with Sarah it became clear that her journey into working on prestigious accounts for a global technology business was far from conventional having left school without qualifications to work in retail. It soon became apparent that Sarah is naturally driven and passionate about achieving goals. Sarah realised that in today’s modern world doors open slowly without formal qualifications and she stayed in work while studying for her GCSEs and A-Levels at Northern Regional College before completing a HND in Business Admin and IT at the Belfast Met where she developed a passion ‘for all things tech’. She then went on to complete her degree in Creative Computing at Ulster University.

    Sarah told us how daunting it was turning up for her first lecture in coding, particularly given that she was only one of 3 girls in a class of 200. Looking around PA Consulting’s office in Belfast, the Sync NI team was relieved to see that the gender balance is more evenly matched and Sarah was keen to emphasise that the business is actively seeking more women.

    Prior to completing the Assured Skills Academy before joining PA Consulting as a Consultant Analyst, Sarah worked as a technical support Manager for a series of local digital businesses in Northern Ireland providing technical support and advice to IT users. When asked about her motivation for her current role Sarah explains, ‘I just love fixing things and actually do get an enormous amount of satisfaction when I have provided a resolution to solve a problem. I am by nature a logical thinker and tend to take an analytical approach to life so working in a technology environment suits me, particularly the simplicity of things tending to being either right or wrong.’

    Sarah goes on to explain why these qualities are obviously so important while working ‘Triage’ on major UK digital transformation projects for a large UK government department. Resolving problems such as data input errors and providing security checks on applicants is all in a day’s work to ensure each ticket raised is dealt with effectively and ensuring the entire process runs efficiently for the benefit of all stakeholders. The job itself is made much easier with the active support of the entire PA Consulting team across the entire UK and Sarah is at pains to point out the culture at the company is so important. All of her colleagues including line manager continually go ‘above and beyond’ to help support her and there is always someone to lean on making her feel at home from day one. ‘Personal development is at the centre of the company culture and having been promoted within my first year I was encouraged to take the view that there are no limits for personal growth within the technology industry and the budget is there for all of us to attend study groups, IT meet ups and achieve additional professional qualifications. Keen for the challenge Sarah will shortly commence a new course to qualify as a scrum master that in turn will enable further progression within the company.

    Personal development is clearly part of the employer value proposition that attracted Sarah to PA Consulting in the first place and we were left with the impression that there are no limits for all PA Consulting employees who are keen to grow and advance their careers within the business. 

    We asked if she had any parting advice for those wishing to forge a career in the tech sector and Sarah told us, ‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is a silly question’ and finally ‘Push yourself, be yourself and get to where YOU want to be – there are no limits’. Sage advice indeed.

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