IT Pro Live Q&A: Caroline Carruthers, chief executive of Carruthers and Jackson

One of our expert IT Pro Live speakers gives us a look inside her daily work and the future of tech

Our first ever virtual conference, IT Pro Live, runs from June 22-26, and is packed with insightful panel sessions and keynote speakers from across the tech industry. To give attendees a preview into what they can expect from the show, we spoke to Caroline Carruthers, data expert and one half of Carruthers and Jackson, about her background, her business, and what she’s looking forward to from the event.

What does Carruthers and Jackson do?

Carruthers and Jackson is a data consultancy firm helping organisations in the public, private and charity sectors. In short, what we do is encourage data literacy and help those organisations to improve their data maturity so that they ultimately get the most out of their data.

What’s your area of expertise?

This is a simple one: Data driven business transformations!

Can you describe the focus of your role in three words?

Data’s an asset!

What does an average day in your working life look like?

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to have an “average” day at work! I suppose structure-wise, I try to match my energy levels: That means loads of creative tasks and learning activities in the morning, with the more mundane paperwork stuff after four.

Why are you looking forward to IT Pro Live?

I absolutely love learning new things, so the opportunity to listen to a broad range of people who are experts in their field is perfect for me! Broadening my knowledge and being able to learn from those at the forefront of their respective sectors is definitely the biggest pull for me.

Why should people attend the conference?

In a couple of words? To learn and then to share. Knowledge is what drives us forwards and progresses us, especially in technology.

What can attendees expect from your session?

I’ll be talking about what data actually is and why it’s so important. I’ll also be giving some insight from my book, Data Driven Business Transformation, into how different elements of an organisation can work together to tackle barriers and gain more from a data strategy. Hopefully you’ll learn something, or confirm you’re on the right track (oh, and hopefully I’ll make you laugh a little, too!)

How has the COVID-19 outbreak impacted your work now and moving forward?

I think like everybody, work has become a lot more virtual. We recently ran a data workshop for an organisation in Africa using just voice comms, as they didn’t have the tech to allow a video call over something like Zoom. It’s fascinating to see how habits are changing right across the world, and I think we’re headed into a very different normal even after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

What gets you excited about IT?

It’s the possibilities! IT is full of possibility, so much so that none of us will ever fully understand every aspect of it. That for me is so exciting because you never know what it could lead you to!

What do you think has been the most significant innovation to affect your industry in the last five years?

I would actually say that Covid-19 has been the most significant innovation in my industry, and I suspect in quite a few industries. It might seem like a strange answer, but it has redefined how we approach challenges and has totally moved the goalposts when it comes to thinking about things in new and creative ways. It’s almost as if the term “impossible” has just gone away overnight.

What do you see as the next big innovation in your field?

It will almost certainly be in enabling IT to play a role in enabling a greater work/life balance. The past few months have been a bit of a test run, and I think the pressure is on to ensure people can maintain the healthier work and free time balance that they currently have post-lockdown.

If you could offer a college student with IT aspirations one piece of advice, what would it be?

Experience is totally invaluable! Ask to shadow someone in the industry, apply for work placements, try to get some time actually working in the IT industry to see all of the roles that are available. That’s the best way to get involved with a career in IT - basically by jumping in!

Catch Caroline's IT Pro Live keynote session, 'Data driven digital transformation, on Thursday 25 June at 1.30 PM BST (8.30 AM EDT). Register for your free ticket now.

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