Meet Dipali Patel, IT Analyst at Eli Lilly and Company
Employer: Eli Lilly and Company
Job Title: IT Analyst
Degree Path: Biology and Computer Science
Hometown: Chicago, IL
City: Indianapolis, IN
What led you to your getting into tech and IT cybersecurity jobs? What was your first job in tech?
During the time I was completing my Bachelor’s degree in Biology I was required to take a “Windows to Computer Science” class. I thoroughly enjoyed that class and thought it would be cool to take some more Computer Science classes which eventually lead to a minor in CS. My first job in technology was actually at a small startup called Dialing Innovations. I was testing their virtual reality phone systems.
What has been your career path so far?
My career path so far has definitely been the road less traveled. Education wise, it was like that as well. However, my first actual step into my career was non-traditionally coming in as an Xtern through the TechPoint internship program at a pharmaceutical company. I never would have thought that I would want to work in the IT department at a pharmaceutical company but I really enjoy it.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
I would think of my job as mainly project management in a clinical space. My main responsibility is managing, streamlining, and verifying clinical data that is flowing through our hub. My role when it comes to projects include managing and making sure others (vendors we work with) are doing their tasks.
Help us picture your work environment.
Lilly is quite flexible in terms of how you work. With my role, I have the ability to work in the office or from anywhere else such as my home. I have a cubicle but I tend to stay in the open area and work because I love having the ability to meet and interact with people. An average day usually consists of quite a few back-to-back meetings before I head home. I have the ability to Skype call into meetings as well but I enjoy face-to-face interaction more.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love that I am making a difference and I am reminded every day by my company that I am. It is quite easy when working in technology to forget the end picture. However, Lilly constantly reminds us why it is we do the work that we do and that it is for the patients we are reaching globally.
Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy IT cybersecurity jobs?
You should always be open to learning. The technology space is a fast and developing area, so you should have the ability to learn and adapt quickly. I would also state that time management is quite important and the ability to have soft skills. Many people are misled that tech professionals are introverted. However, it is quite important that we have the ability to speak and convey our ideas to the business.
Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for IT cybersecurity jobs?
A person with my job should know how to use tools that deal with project management and automation. Information management is also equally vital.
Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for IT cybersecurity jobs?
Two soft skills that I see daily include teamwork and communication. In order to do your job well, you should have the ability to work together as one team and communicate effectively between team members when changes or problems arise.
From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning jobs in this occupation, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back? Please describe.
From observation, I would say the early career professionals that come in after graduating college are scared to move into a space that is uncomfortable. Many are quite happy in the space they are already in because they are comfortable. I think venturing out and taking risks is important because that is how you learn and have new experiences. Do not be afraid to welcome uncertainty.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in IT cybersecurity?
Technically I would say I learned the most on the job through various technology conferences, like the Indy Big Data Conference. In terms of soft skills, I would say there are quite a few trainings that you could look into that I have taken: Influencer, StrengthsFinder, Insights, etc.
What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering IT cybersecurity jobs or wanting to stand out amongst others?
Never be afraid to speak up and always be sure to network. That next thing you say or person you meet may very well be the stepping stone to success.