Q&A: Phil Young, TfL

We speak to TfL's head of online services - and a member of the IT Pro Leaderboard - about usability, people skills and more.

I worked as a software product consultant for Capita Software Services a great introduction to commercial software.

You need great technical skills in whatever discipline you work in, but connecting this with an understanding of user needs will prevent you from creating things people hate to use.

How has the world of IT changed since you first started in the sector? 

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Cheap and available mobile internet devices have raised expectations for everyone. Customers and staff want to do everything on any device in any place and they want experiences as good as Amazon, Facebook and Google in everything not least at work.

What do you think are the most important skills people wanting to enter the IT job market should have nowadays? 

An ability to see the bigger picture, to ask why'. You need great technical skills in whatever discipline you work in, but connecting this with an understanding of user needs will prevent you from creating things people hate to use.

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the IT jobs market/your younger self? 

Be patient, willing to learn, really listen to your customers and stakeholders, be passionate about what you believe and don't be too risk averse. Work with people to make things better.

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What is the biggest challenge facing IT professionals at the moment? 

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People now expect product cycles to be in days and weeks not months and years. This is a challenge to IT which moves in cycles of months and years. Agility becomes the difference between success and failure in many cases.  Transforming our businesses to take advantage of digital is key.

What technologies/trends are you currently watching and why?

Anything which makes things better for people, or makes us better at delivering things which work. Responsive design, HTML5, mobile apps, new devices, social media trends, rapid iterative processes, user preferences and behaviours, digital security, open data, cloud, revenue generation and digital transformations are all areas of interest.

Conversely, what current technology/trend are you not interested in and why? 

E-readers I like a proper book.

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