Career Profile: Mercy Jeyanathan, Senior Technical Architect, Unified Communications
As a young student, Mercy Jeyanathan wasn’t overly enthusiastic about school – that is, until she was introduced to the world of programming and her curiosity was sparked. What followed was a trailblazing career in the field of information technology. Mercy is now a Senior Technical Architect at Bell, where she works with large organizations, planning and redesigning IT systems to ensure that customers have the best possible user experience.
What path did you follow in school to end up in a technical architect role at Bell?
MJ: I studied Information and Technology Management in school, with a concentration in telecommunications. Working for Bell was one of my goals, and it’s everything I dreamed of and more. I’ve been with the company now for 14 years.
What does your average day look like?
MJ: When I started this role, it was primarily project based, involving Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) installation and implementation. I was hands-on configuring digital phone systems for business customers. The technology has evolved to include calls, video, chat, instant messaging and more. Now, my role is to design, implement and train our business customers on VoIP based collaboration solutions. It’s become more strategic than tactical as the design aspect is focused on a long-term view of the technology we are using and how it best meets people’s needs.
As a technical architect, what types of projects do you work on?
MJ: I primarily work with financial institutions to design and implement Cisco Collaboration solutions, including phone and voicemail systems. I also implement instant messaging, contact centre solutions and remote worker collaboration tools like using your mobile phone or tablet. When creating and implementing a collaboration solution for our customers, we consider every aspect of how and where it’s used to ensure longevity.
What is the biggest driver for innovation in your field?
MJ: Market needs drive technology evolution. At Bell, people are dedicated to studying trends, determining needs and predicting what’s coming down the pipe. We are committed to working hard to be ready for the future with our technology and solutions and by being adaptable to consumer needs and the next generation of workers. Being socially and environmentally aware, using cloud-based solutions, and paying attention to ease of management and expansion are all key.
What skills have you acquired throughout your career that are the most useful to you in your current position?
MJ: Strengthening my interpersonal skills and working with others to deliver solutions for our customers has been the most helpful. Technical and soft skills work hand-in-hand to create the best results for our customers. I have to be able to present very technical solutions to business customers and explain complex structures accurately, in terms that are easy to understand.
How would you encourage more women to get involved in tech driven careers?
MJ: I had a conversation with one of my HR colleagues recently who told me that when women consider a new job, they typically only apply if they feel they meet 100% of the qualifications listed. Women in any field should feel confident knowing that even if they are missing a percentage of the job requirements, they have the aptitude to learn new skills. It’s important to have a support system, and it starts with stretching yourself at work, learning from colleagues and seeking out a mentor or peer to work through challenges.
Do you think the rapid pace of change will help attract more young women to technical fields?
MJ: Most definitely! I see it already in my daughter who is studying to be an engineer and in our newest graduates joining Bell.
What advice would you like to give to young people interested in pursuing a career in tech?
MJ: Recognize that a career in technology has many pathways. Once you’ve found you passion, keep at it.
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