Welcome to our spotlight series “A Face In The Clouds.” This week we meet Mia Thomas, from our London Hub, who shares her experience working as an Associate Cloud Systems Developer. Mia gives us some pretty cool insights into what it’s like being a part of our Talent Academy!
Tell us a bit about your background – why did you join the Talent Academy?
MT: Before joining the Talent Academy I worked in a Housing Association in South Wales. My duties included administrative work, making phone calls to tenants and helping out the local community.
I was lucky to get this job after leaving school at 16 years old. I didn’t do great in school, and when it was time to leave I had no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I never knew technology was an option for me; I was always encouraged into the art subjects, and my chosen subjects were hairdressing and textiles.
It was during the pandemic lockdown that I really found my passion for Cloud and learning. I was scrolling through LinkedIn one day and a post from “Girls in Tech” came up. It really motivated me and made me realise that this is something I could do too! I did not know where to start, but soon after I came across the AWS ReStart Programme.
I knew this was something I was meant to do. However, the programme required a commitment every workday during regular work hours for 16 weeks, and at the time I could not give up my current job. I was disheartened – but I decided to “do” it anyway. I did as much research as I could and found out what the course entailed and how it was structured. I then woke up at 5:30 am everyday and studied until 9:00 am, then studied again at 5:00 pm when I finished work. I gained my AWS Cloud Practitioner certification in no time and moved on to learning Bash, playing around with Python and storing everything in GitHub.
I came across the Talent Academy on LinkedIn just a few days before applications closed. Since I did not have any of my new tech skills on my CV, I pulled an “all nighter” to get my application together and submit it. I knew this opportunity was a once in a lifetime for me, and I did not want to miss out.
Tell us a bit more about who you are
MT: I am part of the London Hub, but I am actually based in a small town in South Wales. I am a part of the first ever cohort of the Talent Academy and have been here for 18 months.
How would you describe an Associate Cloud Systems Developer to someone unfamiliar with this career?
MT: In simple terms, an Associate Cloud Systems Developer is like a tech-savvy builder who constructs and maintains important digital systems on the internet for companies to use.
What does your typical day as an Associate Cloud Systems Developer look like at the moment?
MT: I am currently soft-booked to move onto a customer engagement. At this time I am upskilling on the tools required for this specific project; for example, I am currently upskilling on Terraform & Ansible, as this will be my first time working on a customer project using these tools.
Typically when I am working on a customer engagement, I will be busy learning the new system, studying new technologies, asking questions and completing my assigned tasks each day. It is hard to describe what a typical day looks like as it varies from project to project, and day to day! There is always something new to explore!
When I am not on an engagement, I am studying towards gaining certifications and upskilling about the Cloud. My primary focus has been AWS, but recently I have been venturing into different CSPs.
What has been your proudest moment since joining so far?
MT: Since joining the Talent Academy I have gained all 3 AWS Associate Certifications. I am very proud of this accomplishment! My Proudest moments are every time I challenge myself out of my comfort zone – which I have done many times since joining Talent Academy. This is always encouraged and supported!
How has your role evolved since you joined?
MT: When I first joined Talent Academy I was in classroom training everyday with the 19 others in my cohort for 3 months straight. We learned an immense amount of information and formed great relationships with one another. Now, most of my training is done independently through upskilling and project work; however, what has not changed is the support I still get from my Talent Academy trainers and peers in my cohort.
At first the transition from classroom training to project work was intimidating, and I had a huge case of imposter syndrome. However, everybody on my project was so helpful and welcoming, and they encouraged me to believe in myself and my abilities!
What is a challenge you recently had to overcome in your role?
MT: The biggest challenge I have had to face in my role is imposter syndrome. I had a constant, nagging feeling that I got to my position through nothing more than good luck. I felt inferior to the people around me.
What really helped me at the time was having so many women around me I could talk to about this, including my mentor, women from my cohort, and women on my customer project. Seeing how many successful women there were around me helped me to stop questioning whether or not I belonged, and begin believing that I did.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is a quote I live by and preach. Each time you compare yourself to others, you’re likely to find something you may not have – and then comes self doubt. My best advice would be to reach out and talk to those around you about it, stop comparing yourself, and always question any negative thoughts you may have. Focus on your achievements and how far you have come instead!
What part about your role do you find most exciting?
MT: How everyday is different! It’s exciting learning new things – from meeting new people, to developing new solutions, to finally fixing that one bug that has been frustrating you.
What’s your favourite tech tool / software?
MT: I would say Terraform is my favourite tool. It allows me to describe and build my complete infrastructure in the form of code, and it saves so much time and work – especially on the bigger more complex projects.
How would you describe the Talent Academy in 3 words?
MT: Life-changing, Community, Unmatched
Why would you recommend Talent Academy or Eviden?
MT: I have loved how Eviden has been all about culture and community. There is always something to take part in and things to do outside of your role, whether that’s presenting at a town hall meeting, sharing conversation about pets, or simply chatting with my colleagues. Everyone is so welcoming and kind, and always willing to share knowledge and help better others. I have not met one person here unwilling to help.
If you could be stuck in an elevator with one person, who would it be and why?
MT: This question is often answered by naming famous or influential people, or historical figures, which are all great. However, I would have to choose my late Nana. She is the reason for my success and my drive, and I would not be where I am without her. So if I were trapped in an elevator, isolated from the world, I would just thank her for everything.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
MT: I love going for walks with my Golden Retriever puppy Belle, and I love travelling, so I love when I combine both and explore cute little towns with my little family.
What industry trends are you most excited about?
MT: AI. I believe AI will challenge current ways of working and change the ways people perceive most things. It can solve everyday problems and it can optimise processes and even automate them in a smart way.
What advice do you have for people hoping to pursue a career in Cloud?
MT: Find something you are passionate about and enjoy learning, and take it from there. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and share your achievements – even if you believe they are small. Take it one day at a time and believe in yourself!
What’s your TSR (ten-second-recommendation)?
MT: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I got this quote from a Cinderella movie when I was a child, but I just love it because of its truth. You are capable of more than your fear says you are, so always believe in yourself and be your own biggest fan.
If you’re looking for your next challenge, we are hiring globally! You can check out all of our opportunities here!