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ACS-Women - Industry Insiders: Leeane Miller

Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014

Forward-thinking ICT superstar                                                  

Leeane Miller currently works as a Solutions Architect at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. She has been in the IT industry for 10 years and has acted in various roles including IT Support, Business Analyst, Project Lead and now as a Solutions Architect. 

As a Solutions Architect, Leeane is tasked with defining solution approaches whilst ensuring the approach is aligned with a major transformational change project currently underway at the University. Leeane has spent the majority of her career in the higher education sector.

Tell us a little bit about your career to date, how did you get into IT, how did you get to where you are now?

As a young teenager I always played around with computers and loved getting on the "net" before it was commonplace. The possibilities seemed endless and I could see that having information and people at your fingertips was going to be an exciting career to pursue. 

I remember going to a University Computer Science careers night when I was in Yr 12 and heard about the Business Analyst role. I knew that was for me as it combined the technical elements with the business elements without getting too much into programming. Knowing I wanted to pursue a Business Analyst career, I chose to do a double degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. After graduation I worked in a Graduate IT Business Analyst for a large Australian company. 

From having the Business Analyst career as my starting platform, I have been able to gain experience in other areas of IT - including Project Management, Solution Architecture and Enterprise Architecture. Along the way I have been fortunate to learn from some highly skilled colleagues in the field who have always been very open and willing to impart their knowledge and aid my career development.

Tell us a bit about where you work.

I currently work at Curtin University in Perth, in the IT department. Curtin has been a big part of my working life and it is where I have experienced the most in terms of career growth. I am currently working on a large transformation project which is providing significant opportunities to learn and develop my skill set. At times it is daunting due to the size of the projects and work ahead of us, but with the right support and planning I think we will deliver our goals.

What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love most about my job at Curtin is the diversity of projects to work on. I don't think there would be too many industries where I can be working on a document management software evaluation project one week, and then on researching cutting-edge visualisation hardware for an upcoming health sciences building the next. Being involved in IT at a University, the breadth of fields to work in is very appealing - from typical enterprise-focused enabling technologies, to specialised projects relating to a particular Faculty. 

What do you think are the best things about working in IT?

Being able to constantly learn new areas of IT is what makes things interesting for me. Not only are there so many areas of technology, but there are also a wide variety of roles and career development paths that can be taken. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The most rewarding aspect of my career would be the steady progression of my responsibilities and skill set, as well as the travel opportunities. A while back I was lucky enough to go to the annual Apple conference in San Francisco - which was a big highlight!

What top tips or advice would you tell young people about choosing a career in IT?

From my personal experience so far:

1) Have an idea of what career path you would like to take within the industry - but be open to change as you learn more about roles and emerging trends within the industry (e.g. mobile applications didn't exist when I started in IT, but being an early adopter of smartphone technology allowed me to work on related projects that formed a key stepping stone in my career development)

2) Challenge yourself - if you find yourself knowing how to do something inside out, its time to move on 

3) Find a mentor or mentor-like colleague to help advise on career development paths - sometimes a difference perspective helps to see things more clearly

4) Have confidence in your ability - but don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something or need help - its the only way to learn.

5) Work to live, don't live to work

What do you know about people’s perception of IT and why do you think that’s the case?

People don't mind IT....until something breaks! 

More seriously, I think with all of the websites and technology that are so embedded in our lives these days, that people's perspective of IT has changed dramatically. 

The understanding of how much can be involved is not always there, but I find the expectations of IT are increasing exponentially. 10 years ago a customer might have asked "Could you build a system that can capture these details and product a report?" - whereas these days it is "I need a system to identify an object from a photograph and find the cheapest price for that object from any internet web store - all within 3 seconds". Its no longer phrased as hopeful questions as what IT can deliver, it is expectations of anything being possible and just how much or long will it take

What would you say to a school aged girl who is considering a career in IT?

Go for it! I think being female in IT is an enabling attribute - I have not experienced any negatives with being female in the IT industry and if anything it has opened more doors for me. There is such a diversity of roles in IT that there is a role that will suit any interest or personality type - from development, business analysis, project management, architecture, infrastructure engineers and support staff. 

 


Leeane Miller GOOD

Leeane Miller currently works as a Solutions Architect at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. She has been in the IT industry for 10 years and has acted in various roles including IT Support, Business Analyst, Project Lead and now as a Solutions Architect. 

As a Solutions Architect, Leeane is tasked with defining solution approaches whilst ensuring the approach is aligned with a major transformational change project currently underway at the University. Leeane has spent the majority of her career in the higher education sector.

Tell us a little bit about your career to date, how did you get into IT, how did you get to where you are now?

As a young teenager I always played around with computers and loved getting on the "net" before it was commonplace. The possibilities seemed endless and I could see that having information and people at your fingertips was going to be an exciting career to pursue. 

I remember going to a University Computer Science careers night when I was in Yr 12 and heard about the Business Analyst role. I knew that was for me as it combined the technical elements with the business elements without getting too much into programming. Knowing I wanted to pursue a Business Analyst career, I chose to do a double degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. After graduation I worked in a Graduate IT Business Analyst for a large Australian company. 

From having the Business Analyst career as my starting platform, I have been able to gain experience in other areas of IT - including Project Management, Solution Architecture and Enterprise Architecture. Along the way I have been fortunate to learn from some highly skilled colleagues in the field who have always been very open and willing to impart their knowledge and aid my career development.

Tell us a bit about where you work.

I currently work at Curtin University in Perth, in the IT department. Curtin has been a big part of my working life and it is where I have experienced the most in terms of career growth. I am currently working on a large transformation project which is providing significant opportunities to learn and develop my skill set. At times it is daunting due to the size of the projects and work ahead of us, but with the right support and planning I think we will deliver our goals.

What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love most about my job at Curtin is the diversity of projects to work on. I don't think there would be too many industries where I can be working on a document management software evaluation project one week, and then on researching cutting-edge visualisation hardware for an upcoming health sciences building the next. Being involved in IT at a University, the breadth of fields to work in is very appealing - from typical enterprise-focused enabling technologies, to specialised projects relating to a particular Faculty. 

What do you think are the best things about working in IT?

Being able to constantly learn new areas of IT is what makes things interesting for me. Not only are there so many areas of technology, but there are also a wide variety of roles and career development paths that can be taken. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The most rewarding aspect of my career would be the steady progression of my responsibilities and skill set, as well as the travel opportunities. A while back I was lucky enough to go to the annual Apple conference in San Francisco - which was a big highlight!

What top tips or advice would you tell young people about choosing a career in IT?

From my personal experience so far:

1) Have an idea of what career path you would like to take within the industry - but be open to change as you learn more about roles and emerging trends within the industry (e.g. mobile applications didn't exist when I started in IT, but being an early adopter of smartphone technology allowed me to work on related projects that formed a key stepping stone in my career development)

2) Challenge yourself - if you find yourself knowing how to do something inside out, its time to move on 

3) Find a mentor or mentor-like colleague to help advise on career development paths - sometimes a difference perspective helps to see things more clearly

4) Have confidence in your ability - but don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something or need help - its the only way to learn.

5) Work to live, don't live to work

What do you know about people’s perception of IT and why do you think that’s the case?

People don't mind IT....until something breaks! 

More seriously, I think with all of the websites and technology that are so embedded in our lives these days, that people's perspective of IT has changed dramatically. 

The understanding of how much can be involved is not always there, but I find the expectations of IT are increasing exponentially. 10 years ago a customer might have asked "Could you build a system that can capture these details and product a report?" - whereas these days it is "I need a system to identify an object from a photograph and find the cheapest price for that object from any internet web store - all within 3 seconds". Its no longer phrased as hopeful questions as what IT can deliver, it is expectations of anything being possible and just how much or long will it take

What would you say to a school aged girl who is considering a career in IT?

Go for it! I think being female in IT is an enabling attribute - I have not experienced any negatives with being female in the IT industry and if anything it has opened more doors for me. There is such a diversity of roles in IT that there is a role that will suit any interest or personality type - from development, business analysis, project management, architecture, infrastructure engineers and support staff.