Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Helena Majury


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  • Name: Helena Majury

    Position: Senior Associate – Forensic Data Analytics, EY


    I’ve always enjoyed problem solving and challenging myself, so a degree in Mathematics seemed like a natural choice for me. I completed my MSci in Maths at Queen’s University Belfast and loved every minute of it. However, I felt I still had some questions that I wanted to answer, and so I decided to stay at Queen’s and commence a PhD in Quantum Physics, specializing in Quantum Computation. I graduated from my PhD studies in December 2018 and joined EY in February 2019.

    What does your typical day look like?

    I always like to start my morning by spending some time recapping the work I’ve done the previous day and ensuring I’m up to speed with where I left off. I find this time is the best way to set myself up for the work ahead. I have a daily call with my team at 9:30 in which we discuss the work we’ve done, our plans for moving forward and what we hope to achieve. This is always a great time to share ideas and ask questions.

    After the call I start work on my assigned tasks. I usually have multiple tasks to work on, but ideally I like to dedicate a couple of hours to each, to allow me to fully engross in each problem. Working on more than one task keeps things interesting, and ensures I don’t get bored!

    What are you currently working on?

    Currently I’m working on a project for a global company, developing different methods to detect fraudulent behavior. This is interesting because there are so many ways that people could be carrying out fraudulent activities, purposefully or not, and so it allows me to think outside of the box to solve problems. We need to find the optimum solution for each case, meaning my work is varied and that I get to develop different skills and think creatively, as one method does not ‘fit all’.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    EY is a company that has always been on my radar due to its position as one of the ‘Big 4’. However when I started to research companies I found out there were many more reasons that EY would be the ideal fit for me. EY is fully invested in being at the forefront of technological advancement.

    This was important to me as, coming from a research based background, I knew my strengths and interests lay in finding solutions and pushing boundaries. EY also prides itself on ‘Building a Better Working World’ for its clients and its employees. This was a massive factor for me because, as much as I love my job, I have many hobbies outside of work and it was important to me that I be able to maintain my work life balance.

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

    Honestly, not really. As many young people find, I was pushed heavily into pursuing a career in medicine and this had a massive impact on the subjects I chose at school. However as I got older I discovered my love of maths and my love of problem solving. I didn’t want to crunch numbers all day, which seems to be a common misconception of the jobs offered to STEM students.

    With a bit of research, I found there were many careers in which I could pursue my love of maths and problem solving in an innovative and diverse way. For me, working in tech was the best way to use my skillset and work with people who would push me to be the best I can be. It’s great to be at the forefront of technological development, something so crucial in our society.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I love the variation in my job. Most days I get to tackle something different and this challenges the way I think and my natural problem solving process. It allows me to develop many different skills while knowing the work that I’m doing will have a real-world impact. I also love having the freedom to think about and pursue new ideas.

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

    Technology is never going to go away, and it’s not going to stand still. Being able to be part of the development and be fully immersed in the industry gives you such a great foundation and variety of skills. The ever-changing landscape also means that you will be constantly challenged and encouraged to make a difference!

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    The exciting thing about technology is that it’s hard to know the impact that your work could have on society. Ten years ago we would not have been able to predict what technologies would be having the greatest effect on our lives. The applications of technology are widespread with new developments occurring daily.

    Each development opens up more possibilities and this makes it difficult to foresee what will happen. Currently, the technology that I am using is geared towards detecting fraudulent behaviour. However this is just one example in which this can be used, and I believe it will soon have implementations in other areas.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I’m not sure that there was one person who inspired me to work in this field, but my PhD supervisors Dr Alessandro Ferraro and Professor Mauro Paternostro inspired me to keep asking questions, keep pushing boundaries and not to stop until I’m satisfied. These are the qualities that then led me into a career in tech.

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

    I believe the constant developments within quantum computation will prove to be the most important. Not so long ago the idea of quantum computation was the stuff of sci-fi movies, however we’re now getting closer to using quantum technology to bolster our classical technology. As we reach the limits of classical computation, these developments and this research will only prove more significant in terms of security, growth, storage, communication and medicine and will open the door to computational possibilities that we’ve yet to comprehend.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    Unoriginally and unexcitedly, I would have to say my smart phone! However, anyone who’s ever travelled with me would probably say Google Maps!

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