Women In Tech: Interview With Director Of Technology, Naomi Lyons

Naomi Lyons discussing being a Director of Technology as part of VIQU's Women in Tech 2023 interview series

For the latest interview in my ‘Women in Tech’ series, I sat down with Naomi Lyons, who is just about to embark on her latest challenge as Director of Technology at Kaizen Gaming.

Keep reading to find out more about Naomi’s career path from Geography graduate, to Software Engineer, to Director of Technology, and her views on how we can encourage more women to consider careers in technology.

 

Could you tell us about your most recent role? What were your core responsibilities?

My most recent role was Director of Technology Delivery at UK Fuels Business. I covered delivery, software development, and the technical applications teams, supporting these products and applications. I will be starting my next role very shortly as Director of Technology for Kaizen Gaming.

What was a typical day like for you at UK Fuels Business?

My team was located throughout Europe and India, so a large part of my day-to-day was engagement, coordination, and providing support. There was a real focus on L&D. Our teams actively drove the continuous improvement and achievement of business goals.

You’ve worked within a variety of roles and industries – are there any particular sectors you prefer to work in?

I like to work in dynamic and fast-paced environments, where the focus is on growth and expansion. I particularly enjoy working in retail, e-commerce, digital and financial services. In my new role, I will be working in the gaming industry, which I am very excited about!

You studied Geography at university. How did you get started working in technology?

I studied GIS (Geographical Information Services) as my specialism, alongside my Geography degree. This enabled me to learn Python, MATLAB etc. Therefore, when I left university, I had the right development skills to become a Graduate Software Engineer in GIS.

Tell us about how your career in technology progressed from software engineering to Head of IT/Director of Technology Delivery

I’d been a Software Engineer for 10 years when I joined Specsavers. At that point, I had a background in operational development, robotics, and backend development. All of these skills enabled me to work with the organisation to develop their first website and support them in embarking on their e-commerce journey. My role and my team scaled to support this growth and I progressed into leadership and director of technology roles from there!

What makes you passionate about technology?

It’s always changing and enabling the simplification of business and human practices. Who knows what the next big development will be!

Do you notice a lack of women in technology?

I’m pleased to say that women working in technology are in abundance today – it’s very different from my early days working in the engineering space. However, there needs to be more innovative initiatives in place to attract diversity into the profession.

Has the fact you are a woman ever negatively impacted you in the workplace?

No, I’m lucky that I’ve always been fully accepted and appreciated for my knowledge and skills.

What do you think businesses should be doing to encourage more women to consider a career in technology?

I have always thought that the industry should be actively removing barriers to increase diversity and inclusion in technology. There should be more opportunities for apprenticeships, work experience, placements, secondments etc. within technology departments. This would give a taster and understanding of the roles and variety of areas that are available in the tech world.

I also believe there needs to be more technology leadership role models. When you think of technology leaders, your mind goes to Elon Musk, Bill Gates etc. There’s no representation for women. Change this and I think we will see more women considering technology as a career path.

How do you think the increase in women working in technology in recent years has impacted the industry?

Women bring passion and inclusivity into organisations and tech teams. If an organisation wants a balanced and representative culture, they should be actively encouraging more women to enter the industry and work with them. I thoroughly enjoy driving this culture and ethos within any business I work for, and hope we’ll only see the number of women entering the industry increase year-on-year.

Have there been any moments in your career that you are particularly proud of?

I’d say my best consistent career achievement is seeing past and present team members I have mentored and coached thrive as engineers. I love having a positive impact and making a difference to their careers.

What advice would you give your younger self about how to pursue a career in technology?

Firstly, identify the role/area you want to get involved in. Talk to people who are in your profession to understand what the role involves and what skills/experiences you’ll need to be a success in your career and go from there. If you don’t have any connections in IT, reach out to people on LinkedIn. Most people are pretty friendly and happy to share a few pearls of wisdom.

Most importantly, never give up! Keep going and you will be a success.

 

Thank you for checking out our latest interview in our Women in Tech series – you can access more interviews from the series here.

Please click here to get in touch if you are looking for talented individuals to join your tech team!

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