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"It is surprisingly creative work. I still like drawing and painting, but I also get to exercise my creativity everday in design meetings and thinking about various options and solutions to issues."

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Shelley Lambert

IBM Runtime Technologies Global Verification Lead

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What kind of work did you dream to do at high school? Were you thinking back then, that you would work in IT? 

I had many interests in high school, including both art and science.  These diverse interests made it difficult to imagine what type of  career I would like to pursue.  I did not have a plan for an IT career.  I enjoyed fixing mechanical devices, so I originally enrolled in mechanical engineering in university.  I transitioned into computer science after the first year, as it seemed slightly more welcoming environment as a female student.

How did you get into the world of technologies? Did you study IT or did life bring you there?

I (eventually) studied computer science and math and did an internship at a company where I later took a full-time offer as a software developer.

Did your family and friends support your decision to join the tech world? 

Yes.

Please tell us a little more about your work. (something cool for girls and young women considering working in IT). Why do you love it?

I lead the Quality Assurance efforts for the IBM Runtime Technologies team, which includes software verification of our commercial products and our open-source projects.  I also serve on the Technical Steering Committee at the AdoptOpenJDK project.  I get to develop tests, tools and strategies that help verify our products.  I get to prototype and experiment with latest cutting edge technologies when looking for ways to improve our verification strategy.

I really enjoy the types of problems we get to solve, as they are interesting and diverse.  In my role, I have to both broadly understand our products, and also very deeply investigate aspects and components to best verify their quality.  I get an opportunity to think about our products and business from many perspectives.

I am also a development manager and manage various teams.  In that role, I get to tap into my soft skills as a communicator and leader, as I need to ensure that they are able and motivated to do their best work and fulfill their highest creative potential.

What does your company do?

IBM is a very large global company, that sells hardware, software and services.  I work in the Cloud Software division, which creates and delivers cloud-based software solutions.

What do you like about working in IT?

It is surprisingly creative work.  I still like drawing and painting, but I also get to exercise my creativity everyday in design meetings and thinking about various options and solutions to issues.

What are the advantages from your point of view?

I like that there is fair amount of autonomy and flexibility in how and when our work gets done, which allows me more control to balance my work commitments with my other interests and hobbies, that include teaching yoga, planting food forests and teaching permaculture workshops.

The salary is also exceptionally good, which is a big advantage over other careers where you may work as hard, but the pay range is far lower.

What is the ratio of men vs women at your team? Would you change it?

In the team that I work in and manage, the ratio is good, 50% women.  This team is an anomaly, in our larger team in our building, the ratio is around 17%.  I would like to see that increase, as I enjoy working in a balanced and collaborative environment.

Have you ever experienced any prejudice towards you?

I have observed that the workplace has improved tremendously over the course of my career as a female software developer.  In the past, I have experienced prejudice and some unpleasant situations.  Nowadays, those experiences are far more subtle and rare.

Would you want more women in IT? Why?

The women I have worked with in IT have been highly competent and collaborative.  They tend not to bring technical ego into design discussions, and typically listen to all options before deciding on solutions.  This often leads to better solutions and to work environments where everybody contributes and feels valued.

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