Today we want to introduce you to Chiedza Muguti, Senior Business Analyst at Scope Group and experienced financial products and services professional with proven technical and commercial expertise in complex systems integration, payments processing engine development and innovative banking solution delivery. We spoke to Chiedza about the role of technology in her day to day life, and what skills women shoud have (or learn) to succeed in a technical job.
Please name three adjectives that come to mind when you hear the word technology?
What role does technology play in your everyday life?
Professional – I work in IT so it plays a big role in my day to day life as I spend a lot of my day thinking about how to design solutions based on client needs. It feels like solving a mathematics problem sometimes – there are many ways to solve what is put in front of you. The most important thing is that it makes sense for the user, it achieves their goals (number 1 priority) and then any supporting services.
Private life – I have family all over the world and technology does an amazing job keeping us connected. I am so thankful for video calling and messaging apps where we can share videos, photos etc. It also helps me when I need to get somewhere – where would I be without google maps and the transport apps in different cities? Probably lost in the middle of nowhere given my non-existent sense of direction! I have recently started running and it is so great being able to use a watch that is connected to my phone to track how far I have run, my pace etc.
I am not a digital native though – I am sure that I do not use every app or gadget I have to its full potential! I would say I am only partially immersed in tech. I have enough of it during my working day, so I like to take a breather when I am out of the office 😊
Tell us a bit about your journey? How did you get to where you are now?
IT was not the first thing that came to mind for a possible career. I didn’t know that much about it and I was leaning more towards becoming an Engineer or a Lawyer. I am also artistic, but I did not find something that would work. When I looked through the handbook for degrees, I came across Computer Science and thought that could be interesting. I struggled with the programming modules though and the lecturers suggested that I switch to Business and IT.
As part of the course, during my third year, we were encouraged to go out and work in the industry to get some experience. I worked for a clearing house during that time and I had a brilliant experience. I was really blessed to have two incredible mentors during my time there and that year really brought my course content to life and confirmed I was on the right track. I then started my career as a Product Manager, but I did not enjoy it as much and then when a vacancy for a Business Analyst came up, I applied for it and I got the job! I have not looked back since and I have been a Business Analyst for over ten years.
Please complete this sentence: I have failed in …. and these were my learnings…
I have failed several times to speak up for myself in different situations at work. I have been in meetings and wanted to say something because I knew the subject or application very well, but I was too scared to speak up. I put the onus on other people to create the space for me to speak instead of taking the leap and having the confidence to use my voice.
My learnings were that I am completely my own responsibility – if I wait for someone else to step up for me then I will be disappointed. I am finding my voice more and more with each day that passes although it feels like this process has taken a lot longer than it should have! But I do believe being ready will always happen at the right time, it is never late.
What skills do you feel women should have (or learn) if they want to be successful in a technical job?
The key is confidence. This is not just about confidence in the sense that you know everything but confidence that even when confronted with something you do not know, it does not crush you or make you feel like you have failed. You must master the art of being ok with not knowing. Have the confidence to speak up and tell your colleagues or clients that you do not know the answer, but you will go away and research and come back with one in due course (give them a reasonable timeframe and stick to it). In technical roles, you will be put on the spot very frequently and it is more harmful to jump to an answer in a panic than to push back politely and take the time to figure out the right answer.
The other skill is to be comfortable in yourself and whilst it is ok to take feedback and consider it, do not feel pressured to completely change yourself and become someone you are not. Reach out to a mentor and discuss any feedback you have received and how you think you can move forward in a positive way.
What has been a moment of fame this week?
A colleague was off sick, and I covered for him as we had some crucial meetings. He caught me off guard and thanked me in front of the whole team who started clapping. I felt quite teary, a bit shy but very special and appreciated.
Who’s your personal superhero aka ‘Shero‘?
- She taught us to be very independent from an early age. This has served me well in life as I survived boarding school and moving overseas (two different countries so far) thousands of miles away from my home country.
- She can stand up in front of thousands of people and speak – she is very eloquent, never looks flustered and keeps her audience captivated.
- She is a very generous person – she gives so much of her time and resources to people around her. She also tends to keep it very quiet and then people tell us what she has done for them. I was reading a book once and her name came up because she had helped someone who was in a tough situation. I asked her about it and she was surprised it had ended up being written in a book!
If you could go back in time or into the future, what advice would you give your 23-year-old self and what advice would you give your 75-year-old self?
23 year old self
Stop worrying so much about everything! You are still young – enjoy yourself and have faith everything will work out. Do not compare yourself to anyone else, love the skin you are in, look after yourself and prioritize your dreams and happiness.
75 year old self
Well done girl – now enjoy the twilight of your life and don’t obsess about tomorrow. You have made it to 75, worrying didn’t help before and it won’t help now. Be happy!
Chiedza Muguti is a Senior Business Analyst at Scope Group, European provider for credit ratings, fund analyses as well as bespoke solutions for assessing and monitoring risk. She is experienced financial products and services professional with proven technical and commercial expertise in complex systems integration, payments processing engine development and innovative banking solution delivery.