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REAL ROLE MODEL


Jemma Summerfield
Senior Product Manager
BBC
WHAT DO YOU DO?

I lead a multi-disciplinary team to design and build websites and apps. I prioritise and own my team's roadmap of work. I understand the needs of our audience and make sure we build valuable features for them.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU USE MOST IN YOUR JOB?
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Stakeholder management
  • Team leadership
  • Influencing and negotiating
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU'VE WORKED ON IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

BBC Bitesize - I led the team to design and build the very first Bitesize mobile app. It was an exciting project - we did loads of audience research and found out what our unique selling point could be. We designed a new learning format called 'flashcards' to deliver the content, and we build a solid foundation of an app that we continue to develop and improve.

WHAT'S YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?

One unusual thing about me is that I was a technophobe when I left school (a long time ago in 1999!). I did not own a computer and I had no interest in computers! I went to uni and studied politics (yawn!) and it just so happened that my university was not happy that I wanted to handwrite my essays! So in my first term, I took a computing course and from there my interest in making websites (I learned how to code HTML) took off. What learning HTML gave me was an outlet to unleash my creativity and problem solving skills! I finished my degree but realised it was pretty useless so I got a bank loan and signed up to do a Masters in IT (which covered various aspects of IT careers). I did have to do some programming (which I wasn't bad at) but most of my modules were about the business of IT and design.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO DIGITAL & TECH?

A bit geeky but I learned to love the power of technology and how it can change our lives for the better. I have worked in educational technology for most of my career and I enjoy the challenges and ever changing nature of what we can do with tech. I also find it extremely creative.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO GIRLS THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN DIGITAL AND TECH?

Don't be put off by tech stereotypes because they simply are not true. Working in digital doesn't mean you need to be a coding geek. There are so many varied and fulfilling roles to take on. Each individual can bring their own strengths and weaknesses to a role but building tech and web products is massively about teamwork. And a strong successful team is built by bringing together a range of individuals with many things to offer. That could be you. Tech and digital isn't going anywhere, it'll keep evolving and you could be one of the people who shape it for the future. It's an exciting career choice!


I AM...
POSITIVE
INSPIRING
LOUD!