Shajida Akhtar

Name Shajida Akhtar
Company Accenture
Last Known Job Role  Analyst

Shajida was raised on an East London council estate in one of the most deprived areas in the country where almost half of the borough’s children live in poverty. And yet just a stone’s throw away, she grew up in the shadows of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, a hub of banking, wealth and commerce. Growing up, she never visited the city, nor did she ever think that she would work the area.

Shajida is a second-generation immigrant, being raised in a conservative Bangladeshi family, she never imagined she would grow up to be an engineer.  Her family’s traditional attitude towards education and work meant that she felt restricted at times. Entering the male dominated world of technology was not her parent’s preference. However, she continued her pursuit eventually winning her parents over, she has inspired her younger sister who now attends after school code clubs.

Prior to MTW, she was unemployed and looking for a sense of direction and opportunities aside from university.  She became aware of the MTW programme through her local youth centre and was keen to gain some practical, real-world experience.

Having completed MtW, Shajida secured a full-time job at Accenture as a Software Engineer after the apprenticeship programme which made her the first in her family to get a degree and to work in the corporate world.

Following a successful placement Shajida was subsequently promoted from Apprentice to an Analyst while completing her degree in Technological and Digital Solutions. Over the last three years she has contributed to the delivery of large-scale technology projects and has worked as a project manager on key client projects. Shajida is responsible for overseeing the DevOps scope on projects – creating build pipelines, automating deployments, running workshops on DevOps, scripting and setting-up tools, managing deployments for large global client projects across different industries.

Over the years she has expanded her technical skills in areas such as project management, Scrum and DevOps and other new technologies. She has been responsible for managing external and Accenture teams as well as chairing team stand-ups.  She has excelled in building relationships across the organisation and has been involved in mentoring young people.

She remains one of the key ambassadors for the MTW and the Accenture apprenticeship scheme. Shajida has attended several career fairs, employability skills sessions and panels where she has enthusiastically shared her experiences with students and responded to their queries.

Shajida has been instrumental in motivating women to apply for our technology apprenticeship, an area where we have traditionally struggled to attract females.

Shahida  has seen many awards; since undertaking her MtW placement Shahida has been named Accenture Apprentice of the Year,  ‘Rate My Apprenticeship’s Most Outstanding Higher Apprentice’ and most recently she was named The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Apprentice Young Woman Engineer of the year’.

She is a valued member of her teamand has been credited with independently automating aspects of deployments and maintenance saving at least 0.5 FTE/month in effort reducing errors. Shajida joined with no background in Capital Markets or Calypso application but has picked up these skills and has learnt many aspects of the application like installation and maintenance of application on the job in less than 3 months and is now very much conversant in Capital Markets and calypso technologies.”

Describe in as much detail as possible, what you did on your work experience programme and what you learnt:

On the work experience programme, the first two weeks consisted of training in Java, UX and app-testing as well as  acquiring knowledge on how to behave in a workplace. We worked in groups and completed ‘Skills to Succeed’ training. The last two weeks entailed working in a small group of 4 to fix and test a rugby app (rotating roles and opting a new project manager every day) then presenting back to a group of Accenture employees.

How did the experience and staff help you?

The experience as a whole was beneficial because I’m able to apply some of the skills I acquired, in my current job role as well as Exams such as Java. The staff were very welcoming and supportive – still in touch with a couple.

What did you most enjoy about the programme?

Presenting to a group of people that I didn’t know and having the project management role for a day – Both were challenging, giving me a huge boost of confidence and making me come out of my comfort zone.

What are you doing now for work?

The Go Tech programme became the platform for me to apply for Accenture’s apprenticeship programme. I’m currently working for Accenture Digital ADLM. My role here is mainly focused on planning the development of an Eccomerce website with the team, maintaining servers in different countries, doing support work and providing any necessary training materials to others.

Describe in as much detail as possible, how the programme changed/affected your life:

The programme gave me the skills to apply for the apprenticeship. We received advice from Accenture’s recruitment team and undertook mock interviews with them, receiving useful feedback at the end. I also learnt to work well with people I had just met, which now benefits me as I’ve been on 3 different projects in 10 months so have met new people every step of the way.

In as much detail as possible, what are your plans for the future?

Finish the next two years of the apprenticeship programme, graduate and carry on at Accenture for a few years doing technical architecture. Would like to develop my own games app one day too or teach coding to others.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about trying the programme?

I would tell them to grab the opportunity by both hands because whether they’re not interested in technology or want to pursue a career in technology, the experience gained in the programme can be applied everywhere. It’s a great opportunity to test yourself and also meet people interested in the same field as you but from a completely different background.