Next week, She Does Digital and Hey! are collaborating to host She Does Hey!: ‘From to Digital’ at the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds. The event will be a live q&a and panel event which talks about the experiences of how five digital professionals did a u-turn in their career and ended up in the digital industry.
We’ll be hearing from a former musician, anthropologist, chef, photographer and aspiring midwife who are all now working in digital businesses across the city.
Epiphany’s Head of Project Management, Maddie Oliver will be one of the panelists. Ahead of the event we’re asking Maddie a few questions about her career and how to make the first steps towards a career in digital.
Don’t forget to catch Maddie at ‘She Does Hey!’ next thursday from 7pm at the Belgrave Music Hall if you’d like to find out more…
1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your previous experience before Epiphany?
I’ve worked in the project management team at Epiphany for just short of two and a half years now. I joined Epiphany soon after returning from a short sabbatical volunteering in Sri Lanka.
Previously, I’d held two digital marketing roles at another Leeds agency and within a digital team at a car insurance company.
2. Can you describe a typical day in your role at Epiphany?
A typical day at Epiphany can be so varied but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Part of what I love about project management is the variety of cool (and not so cool) work you get to get stuck into.
My current role is split between project managing web development builds for Epiphany clients and managing the team. I love both parts of my role and the balance between the two makes the job exactly how I like it - even if it does make me crazy busy on a day-to-day basis!
3. How did you get into digital? What experience did you have that helped to pave the way?
I fell into digital by complete chance. After my GCSE’s I studied health and social care because I’ve always wanted to be a midwife. Midwifery courses are extremely competitive (or this is what I tell myself anyway!) and when I applied at 18, I was rejected five times.
This left me not really sure what to do with myself and I quickly realised that working part-time in a restaurant wasn’t enough. I applied for an internship at a car insurance company near home with almost zero knowledge about digital.
I remember searching on Google, “what is digital marketing?” the night before my interview!
I was lucky enough to be given a chance and the rest was history. They offered me a full-time job in the team after my first week and I stayed there for just over two years before moving to Leeds.
The experience was great because I had the chance to work on a wide variety of projects which helped me to work out what part of digital I was most interested in.
4. Why did you decide to pursue a career in digital?
Again, it was the variety of cool stuff that I could work on. In my first role, I worked closely with a Leeds agency to deliver our new website and purchase journey.
From this, I had my heart set on moving to Leeds and working for an agency myself, as it seemed to be a lot of fun and a lot to learn. So that’s what I did!
5. What experience/ attitude /skills would you say is essential for a career in digital?
Experience wise, I don’t think you need any as long as you can find a way in. You need a can-do attitude and a desire to learn so you can pick up industry knowledge and learn new skills.
I’ve certainly found that the majority of your colleagues in a digital role will be passionate about what they do and keen to help you learn and improve as well as themselves. It’s a very friendly space and there’s no such thing as a stupid question.
6. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
This is cheesy but it would definitely be to live in the now rather than worry about the future. I spent so long worrying about not getting into University and that I’d regret not pursuing what I wanted to do.
Now, I just think if I decide later on in life I still want to do midwifery then I can go and do it, nothing is impossible once you set your mind to it.
7. What do you enjoy most about working in digital?
The people, the passion and the variety.
8. Can you tell us about the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
It was quite recently actually, I worked on an e-commerce website with a bespoke e-commerce system to go with it.
Working closely with the developers on this massively broadened my horizon and technical knowledge around development. I’ve worked on a lot of web dev builds before but found this particularly interesting (and very much challenging!).
9. What excites you the most about the future of digital?
Definitely the ever-changing landscape. There’s constantly newer technologies that the team are learning about or experimenting with, it’s an exciting industry to be part of!
To hear more from Maddie about her experience, please come along to She does Hey! on Thursday 22nd August.