Emma Hammond, Fidelity International
Emma Hammond, Fidelity International. Image: Fidelity International

‘Every day, there is a new challenge as the tech ecosystem evolves around us’

4 Apr 2017

Do you have a dream job? Do you know how to get it? Sometimes, we all need a little guidance on our career path.

Here, Emma Hammond of Fidelity International talks us through her career, from her earliest interest in tech to her current role as associate director of PaaS (platform-as-a-service) and cloud operations at the investment solutions firm.

What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?

I was given a second-hand BBC Microcomputer in the early 1980s, on which I learned to play games and code very simple programs. Not long after that, I saw a large carousel robotic arm selecting storage tapes – it had automated manual tape drive management.

What steps led you to the role you now have?

When I was 15, I started working on a computerised switchboard during my school holidays, taking hundreds of customer calls per day.

Then, during every summer holiday up until I left university, I continued working in IT, from desktop services and service help desk to LAN and security admin.

Since then, I’ve had a number of jobs in a variety of different industries, but always focused on helping others to reach their potential, and challenging current working practices.

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path?

The biggest surprise for me was the reality of being able to return to work after a nine-year break – I didn’t have to give up my career in order to have a family.

While working full-time and having two beautiful, yet very demanding, children is always hectic, I know I can be a better mum and wife if I have the ability to use my brain and reach my potential at work.

Careful planning is needed. The ability to keep calm when things go wrong is definitely a skill my children would probably say I need to improve on.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

Yes. My first mentor was my aunt. She taught me love of good food, shopping and working hard, and to trust being myself. At the time, she was head of infrastructure services with a leading insurance company, having started as a programmer.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Interesting question. I make no secret of the fact that my job is only really done when I see someone else enjoy their day more. If I can be instrumental in enabling someone else to develop or have fun in their day, I feel better.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

I worry a lot – ask my husband – so I ask many questions and try to prepare for different outcomes. I like to have fun and always ask for honesty. I also have very high expectations of myself, and expect others to as well, which helps drive much of what we do as a team.

How did Fidelity International support you on your career path, if at all?

My first manager at Fidelity International took a chance on me, helping me come back to work six years ago. He was very supportive and, being a family man himself, understood the challenge.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?

I’ve had the privilege of working with some really interesting and clever people in IT from all walks of life. I’ve always found help when I needed it and, every day, there is a new challenge as our technological ecosystem continues to evolve around us. It’s a fun place to be.

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