What is your name and job title?
Megan Bell - Emerging Tech Manager, GSK R&D Tech
I am involved in discovering new and emerging technologies such as Cloud, AI/ML and Blockchain and imagining potential uses for them throughout GSK’s business.
How did you get into STEM and why does it interest you?
I think I was born an engineer! My parents tell me that as a young child I took a screwdriver and dismantled the door handles around the house to see how they worked. My father, who is an electrical engineer, worked in the early computer industry meaning I always had access to a computer growing up, and I would enjoy modifying game code to see what effect it had on the game. I also spent a lot of time building, fixing and upgrading radio-controlled cars – more time than I spent racing them! I was diagnosed with Dyslexia so written and English based subjects were difficult for me, but I always did well in maths and science and enjoyed them a lot. When choosing what to study at University, I was still unsure of what I wanted to do for a career, so decided to study Mechanical Engineering to give me broad applicable skills – which have worked well for me in IT.
What educational route did you take?
GCSEs, A-levels and then a 3-year BEng in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds. I worked solidly since finishing my degree with most of my tech skills being self-taught along with a couple of classroom-based training courses.
What is the best part about your job?
Working in Technology means that things are ALWAYS changing, and there are many new things to learn and understand. That’s what I enjoy the most, future possibilities.
As a member of GSKs LGBT network leadership team I get to be an out, open, and visible role model for anyone who may feel unable to be their authentic self in the workplace, or elsewhere in their lives.
What is one thing most people would not know about your job?
Working in software development typically requires far more time understanding problems and thinking of new solutions than writing code. Fundamentally its problem solving, and if you like puzzles, you’ll enjoy it.
What are you excited about for the future of your role?
The opportunity to change things for the better. That might be making just one person’s life a little easier or changing how the entire business operates, they are both worthy aims.
Are you an educator, interested in showing your students how their skills could lead them to a job like Megan's? She consulted on our Coding for health module, which shows young people how activity trackers are used by a healthcare company like GSK and gives them a chance to code their own using a micro:bit.