Paula Clerkin | BAE Systems Digital Intelligence


As someone who enjoys working with people and solving problems, a varied career in IT was my future, and this is only just the start.

After endless hours of playing (and hacking) the Sims, I was enthralled by everything technology since childhood. Inspired by the TV show The Apprentice, I took part in Young Enterprise UK, combining my business acumen with my passion for technology, resulting in winning Croydon Young Achiever of the Year 2012. Sometime later, whilst at university studying Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence, I was acutely aware of the underrepresentation of female technologists. I struggled to understand where my studies could take me as I couldn't relate to the goals traditionally aspired for in the field. In the final year of my studies, I established and led the organisation of the first Women in Technology day at the University of Nottingham in 2014. InspireWIT was a technology conference for everyone to listen to fascinating talks by inspiring, industry-leading women, take part in valuable workshops and ask direct questions to individuals and company representatives. The day was a huge success with subsequent InspireWIT conferences organised by students and the Nottingham technology community. For this, I was awarded the University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor’s Medal.

I became a Computer Scientist in the defence sector, developing my technical and analytical skills in areas I can't talk about, working alongside technologists and scientists leading in their fields, solving real-world problems resulting in tangible security benefits for the country. Craving work I could talk about, I became a Software Developer and then a Senior Developer in the health sector, working with live, anonymous health data. Building websites and business solutions, I was exposed to the fascinating observational and interventional research being carried out including the future of generating synthetic data for research.

Acknowledging my skills in communication and passion for evaluating and delivering successful business solutions, I undertook a career change into Business Analysis, joining a global automotive manufacturer, building and enhancing business systems across the organisation. In November 2020, I joined BAE Digital Intelligence as a consultant, securing a role working for a client in a complex, cyber security environment, using my technical background to contribute to the future of cyber-physical infrastructure.

I share my passion and knowledge for personal development by mentoring and co-leading a buddy scheme for new joiners. I use my role in the D&I council to identify opportunities to accelerate and facilitate discussions that embrace diversity and foster environments for inclusion.