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How to have the tech career you want

  • Posted on June 15, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

By challenging herself and asking for the role she wanted, Suzanne van Trigt has made it into Avanade’s Data & AI Global Center of Excellence. Now she’s working to make sure other women have the same opportunities.

 

I grew up in a small village in the Netherlands before gaining a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration. After an internship with ecommerce giant bol.com (the Dutch Amazon), I decided to do a Master of Science, Business Information Management. 

Initially, I found it odd that companies needed people to be a bridge between business and technology. “Why can’t people just talk to each other?” I wondered. But then I started seeing the value of what I was learning. At bol.com, I realized techies don’t always like the business side of their products. Meanwhile, business people aren’t always interested in how their products work at the backend. You need someone who can speak the language on both sides of the equation. 

I had always wanted to work in Asia, and Singapore was the perfect starting point. I chose Avanade because I thought it was the perfect combination: big enough to have a support network, but with a smaller company feel, where you can be more entrepreneurial.

 

I started off in the digital studio team in July 2019. But I figured if I was going to work for a technical consultancy, I should get more tech skills. So I asked to move to the Analytics team and spent two years building business intelligence solutions, implementing AI use cases or working on proof-of-concepts.

 

It was cool to learn the tech side – but not where I wanted to stay. What I really wanted was to work on the bridge between tech, business and people in the Data & AI Global Center of Excellence. So I deliberately built my network. I got into volunteering and reached out and expressed my interest to the global team. Eventually, I was doing regular calls with one of the leaders. 

 

Finally, last September, a role in the global center freed up and they decided to give it to me in Singapore! Today, my job is to take innovation – wherever we develop it in the world – and develop it into go-to-market offering for other regions.  

 

One of the things I did to prepare for the role was to learn about design thinking. With Avanade’s support, I’ve become a certified practitioner and facilitator of human-centered design. 

 

I admit, because my background is in strategic thinking, I was sceptical about the chaos of design thinking. But now I understand its power. If you think about it, everything we do is for a human being. But when you’re working on a big scale, it’s easy to forget the person at 10 p.m. using our application and just needing it to work

 

Design thinking puts you in a place where you can’t escape the right way to do things for humans. I use it regularly for my clients and in internal work and have become a co-instructor, teaching classes to Avanade people. I think everyone – techies and business people – should do this course!

 

My other big passion at the moment helping other women advance. I’m a committee member for Avanade’s SEA Women’s Circle. This initiative focuses on removing the hurdles to women advancing as leaders, using training and get togethers to both raise awareness and address issues like how to build a personal brand, overcome imposter syndrome or negotiating for a promotion or a pay rise. 

 

It’s great to connect with other women in tech, understand what people are struggling with and give them new tools and strategies. Closing the gap is really dear to my heart, and it’s good to see Avanade investing in this initiative.

 

I have two pieces of advice for other women in tech:

  1. Take advantage of every learning opportunity, and don’t be afraid to initiate these for yourself. Avanade offers a huge amount of free training, especially if you’re going down the technical path. 
  2. If you’re not happy in your role, don’t be afraid to reach out to the communities in your business where you’d like to work. If you show an interest and actively acquire the skills you need, people will always be keen to hear from you.

Marie-Claire Latour

Suzanne thxs for sharing your story - we are so glad you decided to make GMs /SGP your home for now. Look forward to meeting in person when I next visit. 

June 29, 2022

Andrea Chagas

Suzanne, thank you so much for sharing your story and advice. I was reading and feeling the connection as I was thinking about exactly that. How can I build my IT career doing something I enjoy. So, you talk about Design Thinking, and I love it. I've participated in some events, courses on this and each time I see myself integrated, doing something with Design Thinking.
This reading was inspiring. Thanks!

June 29, 2022

Libby Santilli

What a great story about your career so far at Avanade. It's amazing to see what you've accomplished in three years and such a motivation and inspiration for others. I wholeheartedly agree with your pieces of advice, especially number two: if you're not happy in a role, you're not stuck in it. I think that's what makes Avanade a great place to work because of the opportunities and supporters. Thank you for sharing your story!

June 29, 2022

Simon Thomas

Suzanne, what a wonderful story and journey!  So very glad to have you in our Data & AI COE. 

I love you advise around constantly making sure you’re in the right role.  Too many people go through their work day doing something that is simply “work” and not truly enjoying what they do, or being challenged with work.  I completely agree with you about taking charge of our careers and going after what truly inspires and challenges each of us.   Reaching out… something that more of us need to do, more of the time!

June 22, 2022

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