Kateryna Motriy

Jeopardy assurance engineer
Salford Quays


What does your job role involve?

I resolve faults for customers who have made a complaint to our CEO team or directly to one of the TalkTalk directors such as Tristia, Charles etc. This often involves liaising with Openreach and other internal resolver groups.

What made you choose a career in technology?

Family. I come from a line of engineers - my mum my dad, grandad and uncle. I grew up with my uncle poking around microchips, my grandad helped build a local telecoms building in his village and then was the head of it, when I was younger I used to play with old style switch boards. My background is in arts, however when a job came up at TalkTalk my mum has advised me to apply so I can build a career as I was getting nowhere within the art world (nonetheless, I still keep it up as a hobby). My grandad is super proud I made it into telecoms.

Did you study an IT or technology related subject at A-Level or University? If not, what did path did you take to get to where you are today, and what are your reflections on this?

No, I studied fine art at A-level and History of Art at the University. When I took up the service management role here they were looking mainly for customer service skills and the tech side has been taught to me over the last 5 and a bit years I have been here. I have learned about most residential products we offer, how to diagnose and fix any faults relating to these products. I enjoy helping people and knowing how to help them does the trick.

Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

None whatsoever.

Who are your female role models in Technology (ideally both internally at TalkTalk, or externally through previous jobs)?

Internally my role model is my mum – she works for Network Operating Centre team under IP Access Ops. She has worked on the FTTP project from its inception and I remember being in Mission Control when their first customer went live. It was an exciting time.  And externally, any woman that works for NASA.

Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

I think there is a bit of a stereotype – there is nothing physical about a career in tech therefore there should not be any disadvantages for women to want to join. It’s a matter of perception and education. Coming from an ex-USSR country myself where there are a lot of rules and restrictions it would be nice to see this barrier breaking and a shame to see that it actually exists. When my mum studied in the 1980’s there were 6 women on her course and 90 men, it wasn’t common for women to study tech but it wasn’t forbidden. In the modern day with inclusion we should be encouraging young women to explore their career options and not just opt for something that society pushes you to do.

"Start from the bottom, learn as many skills as you can, concentrate on the area you would like to succeed in, learn everything about it and keep climbing towards that goal. Study more if necessary."

What would entice women to study technology related courses?

The understanding of different roles within tech sector. Helping people, helping the world! If you’re a nurse or a doctor etc you are physically helping people. If you’re in tech you are helping to develop something that might help a person, make their life easier, and connect someone. I feel rewarded every time I help someone within my role, as much as I think we should not massively rely on technology unfortunately our current world relies on it. Knowing that they can make an impact on the world and how. Also being different – not following the crowd. Showing young women all this can empower them to make that choice.

Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

I found it that there was a bit of prejudice when I first started whenever I called some customers they would almost provide a sarcastic response when they heard a female voice as if to say “how is she going to know what to do with my fault”. Don’t get that these days but also am amazed at some of the stuff I can tell my customers. In the last few years I have seen SMC employ more women and it is nice to see. So personally I don’t think there are barriers any more, you just have to know your stuff! Education wise is the same – I don’t believe there are barriers you just have to get in, it may be harder to get in now, so the only barrier I can think of is financial.

How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

Share our experience, show our capabilities.

What more do you think we could do to level the playing field and improve gender balance?

Bring your daughter to work day. When interviewing allow an even 50/50 split of male and female applicants where possible. Spread awareness where possible. Tech fares, university career days.

What advice would you share with someone considering building a career in technology?

Start from the bottom, learn as many skills as you can, concentrate on the area you would like to succeed in, learn everything about it and keep climbing towards that goal. Study more if necessary.