31 Mar 2022

Meet Alex Virley

Technology

Education

Alex did her GCSEs in science, maths, statistics, English and English literature. For her options, Alex chose subjects she really enjoyed, history and PE. At A-levels, Alex chose to do more science-based subjects. Looking back now, Alex wishes she had chosen other subjects she enjoyed more like English or History.  There are the things you need to do to get a career and then there are the things you enjoy…

“If I had enjoyed them a bit more I would have had more fun and still ended up in this career.” 

Alex then went on to her bachelor’s degree in International Relations

Career

Alex now works in sales as an Account Executive at Akamai. Akamai delivers 40% of all internet access every day! They provide a platform for media companies for faster and safer viewing. They work with all the big brands across the world. 

Whilst Sales roles are not traditionally thought of as STEM roles, people in sales roles are trained the same way as others doing tech roles at Akamai. 

As Alex works with a lot of people whose roles involve infrastructure and pure technology, she needs to understand the technology she is selling to her customers. Alex’s customers are mainly media companies. Akamai provides technology that allows us to watch things securely. They also provide tech that prevents cyber hacks when inputting your emails and password. 

Alex has to interact with customers a lot to figure out what they need and then talks to the internal team at Akamai to make sure the customer’s needs are met. Because Alex’s role is so front-facing, she has to fully understand all of Akamai’s technologies and algorithms. 

Alex loves solving problems and being part of the solution. Stuff goes wrong all the time with technology so there are always things to solve!

Barriers At Work

Alex says her biggest barrier at work is sometimes herself. As a woman in tech, it’s very male-dominated which can be quite intimidating. Alex built up some of her colleagues in her head, and it took dedication to build the confidence to believe that she was doing a good job just like them She discovered some great books for overcoming this imposter syndrome:

Alex says “If you’re in the room, it’s because you deserve to be in the room.”

Akamai Takeover IG Live Screenshot - Julia and Alex | Stemettes Zine 

Inspirations

Alex is inspired by leaders at Akamai. Alex’s manager has been very supportive.

Alex’s mum also inspires her as she was able to make Alex feel like she had the same opportunities as everyone else.

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister is also a huge inspiration for Alex. She takes charge, normalises breastfeeding and takes her toddler to meetings and has normalised being a working woman. 

Watch Alex on her IG Live as part of the Akamai Takeover from Easter Explore 2021 >>

Technology
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