In 2012, Ellen Lapham, Carol Muller, and Kathy Richardson set out to memorialize the spirit of inspiration that their close friend Anita Borg brought to their lives. The original project, a community blog known as Anita’s Quilt, showcased the array of people whose lives Anita influenced and energized. We continue to celebrate Systers—the online community that Anita Borg founded to support women in tech—by republishing some of our favorite Anita’s Quilt stories and adding new stories to the mix.
By Merlyn Mathew
As I look back on an almost two-decade journey in the IT industry, the only constant has been change. I have thrived by taking up a variety of roles at different points in my career.
Currently, I am Global Lead for Testing at HSBC Technology– and every experience – positive and negative from the past 20 years is helping me deliver the outcomes needed of the job.
Prior to joining HSBC, I worked for software services giants such as TCS, Cognizant and Accenture. Starting off as a fresh trainee engineer in the late 90’s, I had the opportunity to work across various technologies such as C++, Visual Basic, .NET, and various domains such as Banking, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Life Sciences. In the first six years of my career, I rose through the ranks rather quickly and was soon managing medium sized projects. Suddenly, I was put in charge of a project that I was not fully prepared for – motherhood!!
Coming back from my maternity break, I decided to take up a role in the quality group for a year. This was a surprise to many as it was a less “sought after” function, and I had been doing well both technically and as a project manager. However, this stint gave me a complete view of the process and how project management is complemented by strong quality processes.
10 years ago, Quality Assurance / Testing was an upcoming specialized career option. I had the opportunity to lead a QA team for a product re-development program which gave me a whole new perspective on product quality.
Then, along came baby #2 – and this time having been there and done that I was much better prepared for motherhood V2.0.
The turning point for me was 10 years into my career – setting up a large testing team offshore for a bank and bringing in as much automation as possible. Having established and run this program for 2 years, I was called upon to take up a transformation role which involved driving efficiencies across a large business unit. This assignment gave me the chance to work alongside one of the big four consultants. This exposure helped me present business values and outcomes which in turn helped me in my consulting role over the next 6 years. The consulting role took me to various continents, across industries, across various technology challenges and business problems.
Reflecting back I have come a full circle – development, testing, quality process management, consulting and driving transformational change across organizations. Some of my assignments have been more successful than others. But every assignment has prepared my better for the next role.
My teams have been a big part of my journey. While tools, technology, and process are integral to any program – it is people who make the difference. Taking the time to invest in creating the right support structure at home and at work, to develop the team, to develop great working relationships with partners and vendors is what has helped deliver large and complex programs.
I see myself working in the area of change, transformation, and automation in the near future – until the next big change in my own career!
If there is a one thing I have learnt is that there is no set path to the summit – it is about first defining your own summit and then charting your own path to the top!
About the author
Merlyn Mathew works with HSBC and leads the testing practice. She has over 20 years of experience in developing software, managing large programs, setting up QA function and running large scale consulting assignments. She has worked across industries and technologies. She is passionate about diversity and champions the cause at her organization. Merlyn continues to learn a great deal from her 2 teenagers and is a recently converted fitness enthusiast.
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