Kevin Young discusses his role as a director in the cloud and engineering team at Deloitte and the biggest challenges of working in automation.
Kevin Young is a director in the cloud and engineering team at Deloitte with responsibility for intelligent automation and quality engineering. Young has over 20 years of experience working on large digital transformation programmes. In that time, he has worked in start-up companies, finance, public service, publishing, utilities and management consulting. He joined Deloitte in 2015.
He first came across automation while working in the quality engineering and testing space. “New tools were emerging which mimicked human interactions with systems, and these were being used by teams to help complete large-scale and repetitive efforts.
“In the last five years, tools like UiPath, Blue Prism, NICE, Celonis, Automation Anywhere, Power Platform and others have matured to the point that almost every company we work with uses one or more of them.”
‘One of the biggest challenges working in automation is keeping up to date with new offerings and products from the main vendors’
What brought you to your current job?
I had been working on large software programmes for several years and Deloitte approached me to come and speak with them about working in their system integration practice. Eight years later I’m still here and enjoying the unique culture and people.
What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path in automation and how did you deal with them?
One of the biggest challenges working in automation is keeping up to date with new offerings and products from the main vendors. Thankfully, Deloitte has platinum partnerships with most of the vendors which means we get access to products and training first and this allows us to stay connected with innovation and offer these to our clients. One of the nice surprises of working in automation is the openness of clients to try these new technologies. We often deal with clients who have backlogs of work that are proving hard to clear, and automation can really support them to clear those backlogs which makes them very happy.
Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?
My dad was a very early mover on a lot of technology which I think influenced me – I still love trying new technology. I still have a lot of conversations with him about tech and decisions I have made in my career. My Deloitte career coach also helps me a lot when I am considering my career at Deloitte. We have a very strong coaching ethos here and that makes for good feedback and becoming more rounded and effective in your role.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
For me it’s twofold – the first part is about getting client projects over the line. There’s great satisfaction in delivering impactful projects. We hear about software projects that fail – this is not a Deloitte trait. We always deliver and are rightly proud of this. The second part is allowing my team to take on all the roles I do. Ultimately, it’s about empowering the people on the team to stretch themselves and allowing them to grow.
What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to automation?
I have two aspects that I see help my role day to day. The first is I see every problem as an interesting puzzle. The second is I’m happy to decide quickly. In automation, every client problem has multiple solutions. Keeping solutions simple and moving forward but checking in with the client for feedback means we can deliver fast but with high quality.
What can people expect from career progression in the automation industry?
Deloitte has a very defined career path within the cloud and engineering capability. Automation is a key part of our capability and so we make sure that everyone has quality career conversations with their coach. We facilitate everyone from those who want to go the deep technical architect route, to the project management route, the developer route or the business analysis route.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in automation, or just starting out in one?
Have a look at some of the training that the market leaders in automation provide (mostly for free). Power Automate now comes bundled with Windows. Automate a routine task like generating a bank statement or submitting an expense. Have a look at some of the next-generation technologies like natural language processing, ChatGPT, and intelligent document processing, and try to understand more about them. There are good pathways for a career in automation at Deloitte and elsewhere. Always remember to show enthusiasm and be interested in new developments in technology.
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