Rama Varsani is a rising star at CA Technologies, a software company that helps customers to seize the opportunities of the application economy. A highly experienced and motivated technologist with more than 20 years’ experience, Rama is a Senior Business Technology Architect at the Company.
Rama, tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up in Kenya, was educated at Allidina Visram High School in Mombasa, and came to the UK in 1991 to study for a computing degree at the University of Westminster. I’m one of five siblings, all of whom are now dispersed around the world – so as you can imagine events like Christmas become a logistical nightmare!
I joined CA Technologies as a Presales Consultant in 1999. It was—and remains today – a great honour to be working in one of the world’s largest independent software companies. I took on my current role of Senior Business Technology Architect in 2013. What does that involve, you might be asking? I support the CA Account Directors in their sales role, surfacing and presenting to customers the business value of our software portfolio – whether it’s Agile Management, Security or Continuous Delivery. To do that successfully, you have to understand each customer’s business needs, the industry trends, and the product solution set inside out.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
Something I love about working at CA Technologies is the rich diversity. Every day is different. One day I’ll be travelling to a customer site in the UK; the next I’ll be on a WebEx call at our UK headquarters in Datchet; the next I’ll be at home either writing proposals or training. When I’m not working, I help at the local hospice, I do yoga three times a week; I also enjoy Pilates, swimming, and meditation.
In amongst all this, I could be working on a new customer and learning about their specific challenges. Or it might be an established client, where CA is a trusted partner advising the customer on how to get maximum value from our technology.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not formally. I have been very lucky throughout my career. When I was studying, I originally considered a career in medicine, but was really pleased I turned to technology. It underpins so much of our everyday lives, and working with our customers, I can see the difference our software is making in business, and society every day. That’s really rewarding.
What do you love about working for CA Technologies?
I could give you a laundry list of reasons why CA Technologies is such a great place to work! The company offers great career progression and training, and is consistently ranked number one for innovation, sustainability, employee happiness, and customer satisfaction. There is also a very strong diversity of thought, background, and experience – as well a highly inclusive workplace – at CA Technologies. That really helps drive employee success at every turn of the corner.
What I also like is the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ – to be involved in programmes at CA like Create Tomorrow, which is inspiring and influencing young people to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). In fact, I’m a STEM Ambassador and work with students across the UK to consider further study in STEM and potentially a career involving the subjects.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome these challenges?
The first challenge is the one many women reading this will be familiar with: the need to juggle bringing up a young family and a career. I have two children, now aged 19 and 16. It takes careful planning, a lot of support, and often long hours to manage the work/life balance, but the end result is worth it. Secondly, I’ve been working in IT for 28 years, and over that time many of the discriminatory barriers have disappeared. When I first came into the industry, there were very few women with a career in IT – and most of the time the conversations around the meeting table were about football and cars. I’m glad to say that has all changed now: more often, the talk today is about yoga or volunteering!
How have you benefited from coaching, mentoring or the sponsorship of others?
CA has a highly successful mentoring programme—and I have experienced both sides of it. On the one hand, I have benefited from a mentor who has advised me on many skills. I can bounce ideas off them about my career progression, learn new skills, and generally ensure I’m on track with my career. I have also mentored other people in the company, helping them navigate the best way through the company and achieve their ambitions. Best of all, it all takes place confidentially.
Do you believe in the power of networking? If so, where do you network?
Absolutely! I network regularly both inside and outside the company. I talk to as many people as possible at seminars, exhibitions, and industry events. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn new ideas, and potentially progress my career. As a STEM ambassador, I also use networking opportunities to help address the STEM skills gap and gender imbalance.
What advice would you give to those who aspire to a career in technology?
Do it. Technology pervades so much of our lives, and working in the industry means you can influence the future of industry, government and society. Here at CA Technologies, for example, our solutions are helping companies transform themselves in the application economy. We help companies innovate new ideas more quickly, make certain they are free from security threats and that they perform the way customers expect. We’re at the sharp end of change – I wouldn’t miss it for the world.