Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazer: Kiah Collins

  • Role: Senior Data Analyst, EY Northern Ireland

    What does your typical day look like?

    In the morning, I like to log on early to get organised for the day…checking emails, summarising any key wins or blockers from the day before and preparing for any calls that are scheduled for that day.

    We have a daily morning stand-up call with the client where we assess and reprioritise outstanding tasks from the different work streams within the organisation. This will define the tasks we focus on for the day ahead, whether that involves developing, testing, or demonstrating new business processes and dashboard functionality, planning, or delivering strategic workshops with stakeholders or simply getting on with individual tasks.

    What are you currently working on?

    I'm currently working on a project for a utility client managing the processes that allow the planning and delivery of their annual work plan, with a focus on delivery assurance and working towards their strategic objectives.

    It is my responsibility to understand the bespoke business structure, requirements, dependencies, and constraints to be able to offer innovative ideas to enhance efficiency and derive data-driven insights.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    EY has a strong reputation as a leader in the data space in Ireland and because of this you are exposed to a broad range of different industries and given opportunities you wouldn’t get in a smaller organisation.

    EY also stood out to me because they focus on flexibility, continuous learning, and personal development. This has attracted an impressive and diverse group of colleagues who I feel lucky to work with and learn from every day.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    I could never settle on one particular job I wanted to pursue when I was growing up. I considered architecture, engineering, finance, and teaching! The interesting thing is that, while you wouldn’t expect it, my current job allows me to do all those things. When I was choosing A Levels/going to university/finding a job, I just went with what felt right for me at the time: what's for you won't go by you.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I particularly enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my work, collaborating with colleagues and the satisfaction of building a logical data-driven solution. As cheesy as this sounds, when you work for EY there is a good chance you will work on something that makes a tangible positive difference to the real world.

    For example, I joined EY at the height of Covid-19 and my first project involved building an automated early alert and track and trace suite of dashboards that was used in hospitals across NI to quickly target, contain and investigate potential healthcare-acquired Covid-19 infections.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    If you are in any way curious about working in tech, I would advise you to scratch that itch. Initially, I was nervous that I wouldn't have the skills to keep up in the industry but you honestly don't need to be an expert at coding to get started in tech. The landscape changes so quickly that everyone is constantly learning anyway!

    Look into online courses, read articles and don't be afraid to reach out to people to get some guidance.

    How do you see technology impacting on our lives?

    Everything has its advantages and disadvantages but technology undoubtedly continues to make a lot of tasks in our lives increasingly easier, with online collaboration tools (that allow us to work from home) notably saving us a lot of time. It's up to us to make sure we use technology and the extra free time it grants us wisely.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    Artificial Intelligence. The recent hype around ChatGPT is fully deserved – no, it won't replace our jobs just yet but I think it is brilliant because it makes a powerful piece of tech available to everyone.

    It has been especially interesting to hear how different people have been applying it. If you rewind a few years, working in tech was very niche and there was a much smaller pool of visionaries and developers. Today, tools like ChatGPT are not only showing people from non-technical backgrounds what is possible, but also enabling anyone to become a developer.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    My phone AKA my music playing, instant messaging, streaming, memory storing, sport tracking, mobile banking, online shopping, et cetera gadget!

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