As winner of the Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) Graduate award in 2021, Hazel Erickson has excelled at learning complex technologies and development methods designed to shape future services and ways of working via the Computer Concepts Limited (CCL) Innovation Practice.
With a razor-sharp mind, Hazel has leveraged AWS Sagemaker to enhance machine learning building, training and deployment training models, helping Fulton Hogan revolutionise the way roads are inspected and maintained.
What inspired you to get into the IT industry?
I initially wanted to enter an industry that would allow me to make use of mathematics and problem-solving skills. The IT industry stood out to me due to the constant technological advances that play a crucial role in the world we live in. There are amazing innovations happening in IT and I wanted to play a part in that.
What courses or programs did you take and how did these impact your choices?
I was part of the University of Canterbury’s Emerging Leaders Development Programme, which developed my leadership skills and boosted my confidence. Attending the University of Canterbury was a big change for me from the small rural town I grew up in, and doing this program with so many talented individuals from different backgrounds helped influence me to think about the bigger picture – the idea of creating something that will have the potential to impact lives across the world.
Who or what has been the most influential driver?
It might sound like a cliché, but the most influential driver would be myself. We are all so unique it’s hard to compare your journey to someone else, but if you are doing better than the past version of you then you know you are on the right track – so that’s what I aim for.
What are some of your professional ambitions?
In the shorter term I am aiming to expand my cloud and DevOps skills, especially in the machine learning space. One day I would love to lead a team in a technical capacity, continuing my focus on artificial intelligence and computer vision.
What do you think could be done to further enhance the experience for graduates coming through to the IT sector?
It would be awesome to see more internship opportunities for students within IT. Not only does this give graduates a feel for what it really is like working within the industry, it also can provide clarity on where they want to specialise.
In terms of what would be beneficial within graduate roles, I think organisations should give graduates some freedom to make creative decisions and design solutions. In my current position, I am often involved in research and development within our projects, which is invaluable experience for me, and I can imagine it would be the same for other graduates.