Lily Dobbs

Technology Graduate, BT

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You can follow whatever career path you set your mind to.

What do you do?

I am a Technology Graduate on the Technology Graduate scheme at BT (British Telecoms). I am currently on the first rotation of my graduate scheme, working in Network Operations as part of the Transformation Team. I work in BT's Network Operations Centre, from which much of the UK's critical broadband, Wifi and mobile network is monitored and managed. I work in the Transformation Team on a variety of projects with the aim to improve the processes and systems used to monitor the network. A lot of critical infrastructure relies on BT's network including the NHS, air traffic control and the emergency services so the centre is always running 24 hours 365 days a year. It is such an exciting, fast paced place to work I really enjoy it!

Why did you choose this field?

When I was younger I was always really curious and loved solving puzzles, my parents would give me puzzle adventure books to keep me busy on long journeys - I think that’s where it all started! I went on to study Physics at university; I always loved science and was inspired to pursue physics when I visited the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva. I was on a family holiday in France and we decided to take a trip there (it was very spur of the moment!) to see what there was you could see there! We went around the visitor centre and all the exhibits they have there and I found it absolutely fascinating – I was hooked! I was so intrigued by all the unanswered questions physics has to offer and I was inspired to study it further and try and learn as much as I could. As my degree was coming to an end I looked into a number of career options, I was interested in pursuing something related to new and innovative technology and I am really passionate about science communication. Before I joined BT, I worked as a science and maths facilitator at an Ed Tech company creating innovative educational resources for kids; I also worked as a physics and maths tutor. I found this work fun and really rewarding but I decided that I wanted to work in the Technology sector – that’s what I wanted to pursue looking forward! I wanted to learn all about the industry and work for a company at the forefront of technology, I was so happy when I was offered a place on the technology graduate scheme at BT!

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I think younger me would be so incredibly happy that I made it through my Physics degree. There were times when it was really challenging and I really doubted myself and my ability to make it to the end! But I worked so, so hard and managed to achieve a commendation in my final year project and a 2:1 overall – two things that I would not have thought possible! I loved studying physics at university; I learnt so much and developed so much as a person! I am also extremely proud that I was successful at getting onto the BT Technology Graduate Scheme. It is super competitive and I am so happy that I made it. I am having a really great experience so far, I have learnt so much in such a short space of time!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because I learn something new every single day! I love finding out how things work and learning about new technologies. I am passionate about developing my skills and always trying to improve my knowledge and skillset. I also really enjoy that projects I work on really matter and that the teams around me are doing such a crucial job, keeping people connected! I am also really lucky that as a part of my role I have had lots of opportunities to take part in careers events and an array of community outreach volunteering. I have coordinated the reorganisation of careers and recruitment events within Network Operations and have been part of the ongoing project to make some brilliant improvements to work experience placements. Getting involved with outreach and volunteering is so rewarding and I am really grateful I have the opportunity to do this at BT! I am really passionate about inspiring women into careers in tech and more generally in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths). Within work I am part of the Adastral Women in Tech group where I am involved in the creation and development of Women in Tech Insight Days. Our goal is these will be events where young women in secondary school will be able hear all about what women in tech working at Adastral Park do. Outside of work, earlier this year I created and co-founded www.2SistersInSTEM.com a blog I set up with my sister, Maisie (an engineer). We share our experiences and tips and tricks, with the aim to inspire more young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Best advice for next generation?

Do not ever let someone tell you can’t do something or that it is impossible! If you work really hard then you really, truly can achieve anything you want to! Pursuing a career that the people around you don’t know much about can seem really daunting, but if you put the research in and lots of hard work you can follow whatever career path you set your mind to.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.” – Marie Curie

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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