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PA IN THE MEDIA

Tech Trailblazer: Beth Shannon

This article was first published in Sync NI

What does your typical day look like?

Each day can look very different! My day today started off with a coffee on the go, as I walked to the Belfast office. I usually like to go in a couple of days a week to enjoy the office atmosphere and see familiar faces – not over a screen – which is a nice break from working at home. In the morning I usually have a couple of calls with my project team. These are to discuss project deadlines as well as review current designs. I use the rest of my day to work on the UX and visual design for new mobile features. In the afternoon I have a daily catch up with my domain lead, he reviews my work and provides feedback. This is before I can present them to the wider team for sign off. At the moment we’re having regular calls for the whole office which helps us keep in touch while we are all working from home for a majority of the time.

What are you currently working on?

Life moves fast in the world of consultancy. A few weeks ago, I was working on a short healthcare proof of concept for a client, acting as the UX/UI designer on the project. Now I’m getting stuck into the world of corporate banking for a large global bank, as a UX/UI designer on a mobile app for their largest online commercial banking platform. It’s an interesting project to be a part of and a journey which provides me with the ability to constantly learn and interact with new people. 

What inspired you to join this company in particular?

I wanted to work across various projects and sectors with exciting new technologies and collaborate with a community of talented and supportive people. PA offers all of this and more.

When I joined, I wasn’t quite sure what discipline I wanted to pursue. I love to jump about and experience different areas of the tech industry, to keep learning and try my hand at new things. PA facilitated me in this, allowing me to dive into development, design and even business analyst work. The company culture was also a massive influence for me, the people are passionate in what they do and they’re what make PA. They promote important causes through committees and various initiatives which everyone gets involved in and each person wants to see each other grow and develop, personally and professionally.

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

I’ve always had a vague idea, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to focus on! I loved art & design and computers throughout high school and had a passion for working with people. So, I always knew I would end up doing something creative with people at the heart of it. When looking for courses at university I was stuck choosing between software development or art degrees. This was when I hadn’t heard of User Experience Design. Whilst researching I came across a Digital Interaction Design course which seemed to be the perfect combination of everything I loved. It blended UX/UI design, product design and computing and so it was the start of my journey to where I am today. Working in the tech industry is thrilling given the constantly evolving and changing nature of the work – it’s really exciting to be a part of.

What’s your favourite part about your work?

My favourite part about work are the people; they make my job so fun. I thrive through interacting and working with others and at PA, I love how diverse and unique everyone is in their own skills and talents. 

The great benefit of consultancy is that you get the opportunity to work with a wide range of different clients and constantly cross paths with new people. This is especially evident in design. I am lucky enough to interact and empathise first-hand with the users at the heart of my work, which makes the whole experience very rewarding.

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

I would say, 100% go for it. It is such a great industry to be in, with a wide range of technologies and disciplines. The beauty of the tech industry is that you don’t have to settle for one role – you will constantly be learning and evolving as new trends and technologies emerge. You can forge your own path and try your hand at new things and this is what makes the industry so flexible and interesting to work in.

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

Contactless mobile payments have changed the way we shop – I am not sure it’s the most important, but it’s certainly the one I use the most. It is amazing how seamless the interaction is, and how it keeps developing from passcodes to thumb prints and now the ease of facial recognition technology too.

What tech gadget could you not live without?

My iPhone – I know this is a very typical answer, but it really is amazing how much we can do with such a small device. 

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