Mireille Helle, Operations Manager at Invotra, has had great opportunities and overcome many new challenges during her 6 years with the organisation. Her advice to anyone starting a career in tech is, “Never be afraid to ask questions …. Someone might even thank you for asking out loud what they were wondering about quietly!”
I joined Invotra in March 2016 as ‘Development Manager’, overseeing the Development and QA teams. I had graduated with an Engineer degree (the equivalent of Masters) from the ENAC Engineering school in France (French National Aviation School), majoring in IT and air traffic control management.
My degree naturally led me to spend my first few years as a developer on air traffic control systems in Thales ATM (it was the days of C++ and Ada). I then moved away from the air traffic management industry and joined CGI, working on more diverse projects within the IT services industry, where I held various roles as team leader, project manager and development manager.
I found my role at Invotra by the power of chance really! I was looking for a new role after some years abroad focusing on spending time with my young children. I was intent on minimising my commute and was focusing my job search around the Woking area. I was having lunch in a nearby restaurant when I noticed the Invotra logo on a building across the road. Having never heard of Invotra, I went to look up what this company did, and was surprised and excited when I saw that not only they were an IT company, but also had a vacancy for a role I could apply for ……
I sent my CV in straight away and the rest is history. Interestingly enough, I ended up joining for a completely different role than the one I had applied for. When I first joined Invotra, I was overseeing the QA and development teams. I was also asked to become Invotra Release Manager, which is a role I am still performing today.
The Release Management side of my role has stayed a constant since I joined, but other parts of my role have evolved over the years. From overseeing QA and Development teams, I went to actively managing the Development and QA Automation teams, then moved away from direct team management into Technical Quality and have now just started a new role as Operations Manager, as part of the Customer Success/Live Service team at Invotra. I’m still settling into my new ‘Operations Manager’ role, and progressing in the field to be able to help our teams deliver better and our operations run smoothly.
I have been lucky to have worked in great companies throughout my career, who look at what you do rather than who you are (in terms of gender, nationality, or other differences). Working in tech has provided me with some fantastic opportunities and I’ve enjoyed all of the new challenges each new role has presented.
For anyone joining the tech world, or considering it as a future career, my advice would be that you don’t need to have been programming since you’re 12 years old and spend every waking moment in front of a computer in order to have a successful career in tech. While it might help for some specific positions, there are tons of different roles available to suit a wide range of skills, interests and personalities