“I’m not interested in coding – but I‘m so excited about the possibilities of great tech”

8th March 2021

Gaby Sebire

Gaby Sebire
Product Owner, Nominet Cyber

I joined Nominet in 2019 as a Business Analyst and have recently become a Product Owner in the Nominet Cyber team, which is a role I love because it has given me the opportunity to learn more and challenge myself – I don’t like to sit still. A lot of my time is spent with developers and engineers discussing complex details that I don’t always understand in any great depth, but I relish that chance to ask questions and build on my insights into the process to enable me to prioritise effectively and make key decisions. My role is to guide the strategic development of the product itself, sort of a middleman between the technical people and the customer – what do our clients and stakeholders need and how can we constantly improve and refine the product to make their lives easier?

I’ve been driven since my teens to be independent, right from passing my driving test within weeks of turning 17 and working from aged 12 doing the invoices for my parents’ companies. I was keen to jump into the world of work full time as soon as I could, so no university for me – but not having a degree hasn’t held me back in the least. After finishing school I secured a Customer Services apprenticeship with an energy company where I learnt so many different and useful skills, like how to present with confidence, how to manage stakeholders and communicate clearly, as well as how to conduct myself in the workplace. It was there that I first worked as a Business Analyst and recognised the power of data to drive improvements and really make a difference.

Since that time, I’ve been more and more immersed in technology, fascinated by how much it can help businesses and society. I was thrilled to get the role with Nominet; despite having no regrets about not having been to university, I still worry that employers won’t take me seriously without a degree, but Nominet looks past that to the person’s professional attributes, their experience and their cultural fit.

My career so far has sadly involved ageism just as much as sexism – and often it was my female colleagues who made me feel uncomfortable, such as suggesting that I was promoted because of my youth and gender, or managers making throwaway statements like ‘you’re actually doing very well for your age’. It’s made me conceal my age when possible, but never stopped me enjoying my work and driving on to achieve my goals. It’s also never happened at Nominet, which is why I am so content. I’m ambitious and set high standards for myself, motivated to make myself proud and feel I’ve done the best I can. I also always want to be in a working environment where I can keep growing and moving forwards.

Each day at Nominet makes me love technology a little more – I work with very smart, approachable people, plus the work we do is so critical to the nation’s digital infrastructure. I wouldn’t change industries now and am delighted to have found a role in the sector that suits me and my skills. I don’t want to learn coding or be a programmer; I like to work at the strategic level, identifying how we can drive continuous improvement and guiding the technical experts to help us make it happen. I know I can add value and that’s a great feeling.

Young people need to know there are jobs like this out there and that you can work in tech without having a strong technical academic background. My only ambition when I was young was to find a way to help people and drive improvement; initially I considered social work or psychology, but then life took me somewhere else. Never say never though – I have plenty of time to change careers if I want to, but for now I’m hugely fulfilled because I’ve discovered that tech is a powerful way to help many people at once and it’s a thrilling industry to be part of.

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