Our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini-interview below!

A bit about Julia

I’m the Design Innovation Lead for the Healthy Ageing Challenge and also the Lead for the Mindset XR Programme at innovateuk. My role in design is to ensure that technology doesn’t diverge from user case. My background is in fintech, I was the Vice President of Equities Technology & then Vice President of New Business at Credit Suisse Securities Ltd before moving to business start-up. I won a Graduate of Global distinction award in 2018 for contribution to humanitarian engineering and services for people with cognitive impairment through social enterprise. I’m a senior member of the IEEE.org and an associate tutor at the University of East Anglia. I recently wrote the foreword for the Alzheimer’s Society Co-Design Guide and my personal tech interest is in AI and ageist bias.

How did you start out in your tech career?

As a software engineer in investment banking – SQL and Sybase coding and database design.

What are the signs of success in your field?

To me, the signs of success are using your skills in a way that you find personally rewarding – and being able to guide other people on their design journeys.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

The best thing is having a ring-side seat on so many amazing innovation and technology projects. There isn’t a worst thing, other than controlling the desire to get inside everyone’s code.

What can you advise someone just starting out to be successful?

Follow your own technology interests – it’s easier to gain expertise where you are really interested in investing your time.

How do you switch off?

I love most sports and running and I’m a Norwich City Football Club supporter. I also like designing inclusive GUI using numpy and seaborn.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to worry so much and to appreciate that technology problems are opportunities to learn, not things to panic about.

What is next for you?

I’ve just finished an MSc in Computer Science & AI and I’m doing some really interesting work on public datasets and bias.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

I’d like to think I am doing what I choose to do. I think it is amazing that software is freely available for everyone now and that there is opportunity for everyone to design and innovate using technology.

What are your top 5 predictions in tech for the next 5 years?

I think immersive technology will be applied in more mainstream service provision. I think that the interfaces between machine learning and immersive technology will develop to become even more creative. I think also that a lot more human-centred and co-design influence will come into play to make AI solutions more useful and less technology driven.

Watch Julia’s session at the Data Science Festival here.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our Speaker Spotlight!

Want to become a DSF Speaker? Apply here!