Meet The Role Models is a technology community series which highlights the stories of The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models. The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of technology professionals across Ireland and since September 2015, The Ada Lovelace Initiative voluntary speakers have reached over 5000 secondary school students between them.
Kicking off our 2021 instalment, today’s interview features Niamh Twomey, Lead Product Owner at TradeIX.
MEET NIAMH TWOMEY
Hi Niamh! How would you describe your current role?
I work as the Lead Product Owner for TradeIX and the Marco Polo Network – a Trade and Working Capital Finance Network. My role is really focused on coordinating between Product and Engineering to ensure everyone shares the same vision and priorities so that the Product we deliver can be successful and helps both the Customer and the Business meet their goals.
What attracted you to this type of career?
I was really drawn to how dynamic this type of work is. There is always something new to learn and every day is different to the one before.
What did you study in college?
I studied Business Information Systems, which entailed a mixture of Business, Coding and Technology subjects. IT is such a broad sector with so many different career options, the range of subjects was a great exposure and opportunity to figure out what path I wanted to follow.
What were your favourite subjects when you were in school?
I really enjoyed English, History and Math. English was my favourite of the three, I always loved to read and I really enjoyed creative writing assignments.
What were your favourite hobbies when you were in school?
Outside of school I could always be found either Reading, Drawing or Swimming.
What would you say is a common misconception about your role type?
There’s a big misconception that IT is really isolating – That we’re all sitting at our computers or we don’t interact with anyone else. It really couldn’t be further from the truth. IT is really collaborative, and everyone works as part of a team.
What would you say is the best part of your work?
Product is one of the rare roles where you get to interact with colleagues across nearly every department. I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and work with individuals from all over the world. It’s these people we interact with make the job so interesting.
What motivated you to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative?
I didn’t know what a career in IT would look like when I was looking at college options and filling out the CAO – Back then we didn’t have programs like the Ada Lovelace Initiative to highlight the options and opportunities that are out there.
I was lucky enough to find this for myself, and getting involved in initiatives like Ada Lovelace is a great way to pay that luck forward, debunk a few myths about IT and let others see just how many great opportunities there are for them in this space!
How important do you think it is for young girls to have the opportunity to meet female role models in the stem space?
It’s very important to have role models to guide us and provide support. I had the privilege in the early days of my career to work with some amazing women who showed me the kind of opportunities there were for me in IT. They opened my eyes to the importance of having a role model and being that role model for the generation coming behind you.
Who is a role model in history that you look up to, and why?
I would have to say Katherine Johnson or Grace Hopper – both were pioneers in their respective fields.
Who would you say is your own role model in your career today, and why?
I don’t think I could pick just one! In the early days, I had a few managers that really advocated for me and pushed me to chase all available opportunities. That support drove me to continually challenge myself. Since then, I have crossed paths with some amazing women, all of whom have been incredibly supportive.
What advice would you give to any young girls considering a tech / stem future?
There are so many different career options in this space and each one will suit different people with different skillsets – there really is a STEM career out there to suit everyone!
We would like to thank Niamh for getting involved and sharing her story. If you would like to learn more about The Ada Lovelace Initiative, please visit our A.L.I page.