TRAILBLAZING FROM THE LONG WHITE CLOUD - MEET ANGELA

To mark International Women’s Day we’ve asked Dynamics AX Software Developer Angela Buchanan to tell us her story and how she forged her career in IT. Angela lives in New Zealand close to the glorious Raglan Beach and, with the help of her husband Tim, juggles looking after a small holding of assorted farm life (95 acres of regenerating bush and a few goats, pigs, cows, chickens and sheep) with raising her young son and providing technical support through AgileCadence for some of the UK’s most high profile businesses.

 

So, meet Angela…

My love of all things computer related started early in life. It wasn’t common to have a personal computer at home in my day but my father worked in a electronics store and used to occasionally bring one home for us to play on for a bit – which was always a treat. When I finished high school I enrolled in a Computer Science degree and my career began.

D365 (Axapta, in those days) wasn’t terribly common in New Zealand, but I was lucky that my degree had a work placement programme which placed me with a local plastics manufacturer that were implementing the software. After graduation I stayed on and helped with Axapta, and then, as so many young kiwis do, I left for my travels. So Tim and I shipped off to England to travel, meet relatives, and earn some pounds. Having Axapta on the CV was really useful, there was always demand for those skills and it highlighted one of the big bonuses about working in the industry; the ability to find work all over the world.

 

How did you end up working for a UK based start-up all the way from New Zealand?

I met AgileCadence founder James Brentley working on a contract in London, initially we worked together on development for a subsection of the main project for Stemcor within Process Manufacturing. The assignment had some gnarly challenges, and I didn’t blame James in the least when he escaped by making himself indispensable heading up the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). The technical team on this project became fast friends, and we all kept in touch. Our paths crossed again soon, on a huge implementation for Dentsu Aegis Network by Hitachi Solutions that seemingly hired nearly every Dynamics AX consultant in the UK. When I moved home to live in New Zealand, James and I were still in touch and he encouraged me to let him know if ever I was after some dev work… and soon enough, I was. I’m now a Senior Technical Consultant for AgileCadence and working on some major projects and implementations.

 

How do you balance life as a new mum with work?

For the first week or so, getting back into work as a new mum, for me, was a real juggle. It can be stressful when you’re all set to crack on with a work task, but first baby needs his breakfast… then Dad has to quickly duck out for something important, plus in the back of your mind you’ve got that Plunket appointment after lunch (for which you’ll need to pack the change bag as well as the other 40 things a baby needs), when are you actually going to be able to log in? Not every day was complete chaos, but it felt like it at times!

But now we have settled into a good schedule. Tim keeps Ben occupied through the day and takes him for walks in a front pack when it’s nap time, and I just take breaks at nursing time. It works primarily because both Tim and I are able to be home, to work remotely while being there for Ben at the same time… and that the nice bunch at AgileCadence, and the work I do for them, is on such a flexible arrangement.

 

 

You’re in New Zealand, AgileCadence is in the UK, how does that work?

The time zones work out very nicely. Occasionally there’s a midnight or 5am meeting to co-ordinate with clients, but the rest of the time we all work off the back of each other: The UK team give us any news or work that needs done before they leave for the day… which coincides with us getting up for our day… and then before NZ signs off for the day we report to the guys in India who are just starting.

 

So what’s next?

Working with a really innovative company keeps things interesting and I enjoy getting to work on a range of exciting projects for all different types of clients. My relationship with AgileCadence gives me really great flexibility. Flexibility to be at home with my baby, and an income to help contribute to our family farm, next on the list is a new tractor! I love the diversity and freedom that my career in IT has given me, and it doesn’t matter where I am. The technology is all there and as long as you have a reliable internet connection you can be anywhere in the world and get things done – including on a small plot of land out in the sticks of NZ.

 

Due to the success of the New Zealand team, AgileCadence will be looking to open a permanent office in Auckland at the end of 2018 and the team are looking forward to a trip to Angela and Tim’s homestead!