Hannah Atherton

Business Information Technology BSc (Hons)

Hannah always had a keen interest in automation, and with the support of tutors at BCU, she used this passion to land a job at Pets at Home in their Robotic Process Automation Team. Now, she’s climbing the career ladder and is now a Delivery Lead with her own team.

“I always wanted to go to university, I just didn't know which one! It was when I attended a BCU Open Day though that my mind was made up. I spoke to a lecturer about the course and what career pathways it led to, and decided I would make the move from Manchester to Birmingham.

My dissertation was around automation as I had a natural interest, so I was able to finish this early with the support of my tutor, which allowed me to then go on to find a job. BCU was always supportive with my timelines and goals.

I worked as an intern at Pets at Home through the summer and winter holidays in various roles, trying to find the perfect role for myself, which led to me being offered a permanent position.

When I was about to graduate, I landed the role of an RPA analyst and developer for Pets at Home, and from there, I was able to progress to become the manager of the team.

My advice to current students would be to work as hard as you can and take a sandwich or placement year. I'm glad that I did work experience over summer, as I don't think I would be in the position now.

Nowadays, I’m a Delivery Lead for Pets At Home, within the Software Development team. I work on strategic programmes and look after multiple cross-functional teams ensuring business deadlines are met, barriers are removed to keep work progressing efficiently.

My favourite aspect of this role is simply working with the teams and getting the work done. Although I am managing their workloads, working with the teams in an open and honest environment always brings me such pride when work is delivered to the best possible standard.

Previously, I was the RPA Lead which managed the Robotic Process Automation Team, introducing automation across the business.

The most challenging thing about embarking on this career path has been trying to gain confidence with my developer skills, as when I first started, I had no developer skills within this industry. After having some time in the industry, my skills have progressed as I decided to push myself by taking on a senior development process.

Whilst at university, my proudest achievement was gaining a first-class degree and using my dissertation learnings in the role I'm in now. Since graduating, my proudest achievement has been my promotion after working hard towards it.

I have become much more adaptable. Growing up, I wasn't the best when it came to change, but since the pandemic and my new role, I have had to learn that this is always to be expected within IT and now I don't mind it at all.

My long-term career goals are to continue to progress in this role and then decide whether to progress into another position with more management responsibilities than I have now.

My advice to graduates starting out in their career would be to not rush. The job market is a very difficult place to be, and you have multiple people going for the same role. Try to find something that makes you stand out and do what is needed to prove yourself.

BCU has been at the heart of my journey, they have always been there to support and advise whenever needed. I AM BCU feels like a home away from home.”