From cutting code to managing projects

Linda Zeelie, one of the world’s ’25 influential project managers’, on her career

In her 21 years of experience in the IT industry, Adelaide-based EDS client delivery executive Linda Zeelie has come a long way from her roots as a junior programmer. Amongst other industry accolades, Zeelie was recently named one of the world's "25 influential project managers" by international project management magazine, PM Network.

Liz Tay speaks with Zeelie about her love for IT and her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated industry.

How did you first get started in the IT industry, and how did you end up at EDS?

I started my IT career in South Africa, and I migrated to Australia about nine years ago. My first job in IT was straight out of school, in the [South African Department of] Defence IT section. [I] didn't go to University first; I did a three month training course then went straight into my first job as a programmer.

I stayed there for probably about 13 years, and worked my way up; so junior programmer, programmer, senior programmer, then I went up through the systems analysis and design route -- so I became an architect of business applications, and then I went into project management.

So I worked my way up through IT, but to be honest, I haven't coded a program in close to a decade for sure.

What first sparked your interest in the industry?

My great aunt was an industrial psychologist, and she did a lot of psychometric testing when I was a kid. She always said, 'You'd be good for this new computer thing', and that's always just stuck in my head.

So going up through high school, I always just thought 'I'd be good at this computer thing', so that's the direction I chose and nothing else really sparked my interest more than the computer thing, and that's the way I went.

What aspects of technology interest you most?

That's a difficult question, because there are a lot of roles in IT, and I think that's half the problem - people think IT equals computers, technology, you know, geeky stuff. But things I like best would be the systems analysis and design for applications and project management. Those are the things that really excite me and that I really enjoy.

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