Women in IT: Claudia’s Story

Claudia Collins has risen quickly through the ranks at Six Degrees: in five short years she’s graduated from Project Administrator to being our Head of UC Service Implementation. Here she tells us her story.

“I started working in IT in January 2014. Six Degrees was my first IT-based company. Before Six Degrees I was working in the stock markets. I came across to Six Degrees via a Project Administrator role, so I didn’t really have too much of an idea of IT and what it involves, but I came in to do the team’s admin and then progressed my way up.”

“I worked as a Project Administrator for the first year. I basically assisted the Project Managers and the Team Manager with all the documentation for projects. I started ordering all the equipment, so I got familiar with the equipment and the products we sold, and then after that I became a Project Coordinator. I started out on small office moves, and then there were some changes in the team so I jumped straight into a Project Manager role. I qualified with PRINCE2, and then was promoted at the beginning of 2018 to Head of UC Service Implementation.”

Claudia has a number of management responsibilities; her role puts her in charge of both projects and the people that facilitate them.

“I’m the main Project Manager for UCaaS, so any UCaaS projects sit under me to project manage, and then alongside that I team manage the service implementation, which involves managing the forecast, the work in progress, all the financials, and then the terminations. I have to hit the quarterly targets that I’m given, so I manage that area as well as one-to-ones and escalations with the team, so it’s quite full on.”

Working in IT Management

“I enjoy the pace of IT. It’s not a boring job; there’s always new products to learn, or you can always learn a bit more. I’ve been doing UCaaS for four years, and I’m still learning… you’re exposed to a lot of new things continuously.”

“I have a team of three that report into me directly. Management’s good! It’s different – because I project manage, I also manage the engineers’ diaries, so I’ve always had to assist and be a people manager in that element. But being a manager is different, because you need to be available for when someone needs you; people have personal lives that they need to get some support from you for. But I really like it, and I think the team do really well; they’re very respectful, so when I have to put some pressure on them they understand the reasons why. We just work very well.”

Life at Six Degrees

“Six Degrees is very supportive. I’ve seen some people have personal struggles throughout the years, and they’ve been great. I had one in October, and I couldn’t have asked for a better company to support me. They’re very flexible, very caring, and I think that’s brilliant, because I think some companies can be very corporate, very bums on seats, but they do care here which is important.”

“The People Team are very approachable. If there’s an issue you can go and approach them. And even Senior Management – if there’s an issue you can go and approach them, which is the best way.”

Being a Woman in IT

As her responsibilities have become more technically-focused over time, Claudia has had to deal with often being the only woman in attendance at some meetings.

“IT is still very male dominated. When I go to client meetings I’m the only woman in the room most times. When I’m running a project and they’re bringing their IT managers or their engineers that they’ve got based there it’s all very male-based – I can literally be the only female. But I wouldn’t say that that affects what I do; if I have an idea it is listened to.”

Claudia has some words of encouragement for women considering a career in IT.

“Just be very headstrong; I think you’ve got to be confident. You have to have the confidence to stand up to be heard. If you’re going to go in with the attitude of ‘oh they won’t really listen to me, I won’t suggest this’ then they won’t, because you won’t be talking. So I think you’ve just got to go in open minded, be headstrong, be confident in your suggestions, and that’s it really! That’s all I do.”

Claudia has been nominated by Six Degrees for Rising Star of the Year at the Women in IT Awards, taking place in London on 30th January 2019.

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