Growing up in China I was always told that engineering and technology was for boys and that girls should go into teaching or health care.

I never really had much of an interest in biology or art in school and wasn’t good enough at geography or history but what I really liked was maths and engineering. I loved knowing how things worked and how you could see the applications of it everywhere around me. This led to me studying for a degree in Telecommunications Engineering at the Communications University of China. As a woman I was in the minority on my course like most women in engineering and tech subjects. This didn’t hold me back though and I ended up graduating with one of the highest grades in my class.

Whilst studying I knew I wanted to learn more and that I also wanted to challenge myself by going to study for an MSc at UCL in the UK. Everyone I knew said that it was too hard to get into UCL and said that studying in the UK in English would be impossible for me. This just gave me a great desire to prove them wrong and prove to myself that I could do this. Learning English was really hard and meant that I often had to record the lectures and listen to them again and translate them afterwards. I basically spent most of that year in the library studying but it was all worth while to be able to graduate with my masters from UCL.

Though I studied a lot and I struggled with the language barrier it didn’t stop me from making friends whilst in London. This inspired me to want to live and work in the UK after I graduated. However, the only way I could stay was by finding a company who could sponsor my visa and that really meant the big 4 accountancy firms. Again I was told that I would be impossible for my to get a job with them given the language barriers but still I applied and was offered a graduate role in auditing at PwC.

PwC gave me a choice of where to live and of all the cities in the UK that I’d travelled to during my masters Liverpool was one of my favourites. So I’m September 2016 I moved on my own to Liverpool. This again became a new challenge for me. I had to balance working in a new field whilst also studying for the ACA qualification as well. This was by far the hardest challenge I faced but again I didn’t want to give up or let the difficulties stop me. I was able to pass the ACA and after the Liverpool office was closed relocated to PwC’s Manchester office.

Not long after moving to Manchester I was told about a new role opening up at PwC; the digital accelerators. This role was aimed at helping to drive forward PwC’s digital transformation. Given my background in engineering and love of technology I knew I had to apply for this as it would be a role that I could put my all into and make my own. I was fortunate enough to be selected for this role and this led to lots of opportunities for me to develop my skills and understanding with the new digital tools we were using at PwC. I was also able to upskill others through training workshops I ran and regular newsletters detailing the new tools or success teams had had with them.

The digital accelerator role was not only good for my skills but also gave me plenty of opportunities to meet people from across the firm and at higher levels as well. This is what put me on the radar of the DA3 (Digital Audit Advanced Analytics) team. This was a small but fast growing team led by Emma Neal that had big aims and the potential to reshape how most of the firm works. When I met Emma I was in awe of her and how she led and how direct she was and didn’t let anything get in her way. She really inspired me to join the team as I knew in her I’d have a role model I could look up to and who’d also support me as a woman in technology.

Since joining the DA3 team I’ve been promoted to Manager and am now leading a team of 10 people. I’ve been helping to push DA3 and the use of digital tools across the firm through regular events such as the digital digests, digital campfire and alteryx training workshops.