Aliya Paracha, Insight Controller at Sky Media and Women in Tech Excellence Awards finalist reflects on what brought her to a technology career and the importance of self belief.
Aliya has over 15 years of data and insight experience across multiple sectors. Aliya joined Sky Media in 2013 as a Lead Analyst with the objective to help improve the measurement effectiveness capabilities Sky offers. Following various promotions, Aliya is now an Insight Controller leading a large team of analysts and focusing on supporting growth in advertising within Sky's Insight & Measurement function.
Beyond her day-to-day role, Aliya is also dedicated to the well-being of Sky Media's people as a contributor to multiple internal support networks such as ICAN (Internal Cultural Awareness Network) and Balance and Wellbeing (Internal Sky initiatives.)
Why do you support Computing's Women in Tech Excellence Campaign?
It is important to me to be part of such an inspirational campaign that empowers women by celebrating their success. Women in Tech Excellence helps women remove their fears and be seen as champions in the IT industry.
How did you get into the IT industry?
I come from a third-world male-dominated country but lucky to have had a good, privileged education. Traditionally, education here leads to careers in medicine or teaching, however, I particularly enjoyed maths and wanted to pursue this further. This led me to a computer science degree which I achieved with distinction. I then went on and completed my Master's in Intelligent Systems from UCL.
After graduating, I worked for Citibank as a Data Analyst for a few months before moving to the UK where I joined First Choice, now known as TUI (travel Industry) as a Data Analyst. I then joined Sky as a Senior Lead and am now working as an Insight Controller within the Insight & Measurement department of Sky Media.
What do you think is the main reason why the IT Industry is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?
I believe there is a lack of self-confidence women can suffer from when applying for more technical or senior roles, which as a negative result has made the Tech industry more male-dominated. Women can naturally hesitate and over question their ability before applying for promotion whereas their male counterparts apply more confidently and are less focused on whether they have not fully met the job specification criteria. It would be great to see more support and sponsorship in this space.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
Staying authentic and not being afraid of asking. It is okay to not know everything even if you are considered an expert - you can always learn as long you have trust in your abilities.
What are your three top tips for women looking to start a career in IT? / What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?
- Believe in yourself & celebrate your achievements
- Don't be afraid to ask questions
- Have a mentor that can help and guide you
I would say my top tip is to keep believing in yourself and be passionate. The Tech industry is very dynamic and changes at a very fast pace, so it is very difficult to keep up with it. However, believing in yourself and knowing that you can do it can help you succeed even if you don't know the technology or don't have all the skills needed. Once you start believing you can look beyond and find ways and people who can help and make your career a success. Remember there are no limits except the ones that we impose upon ourselves.