‘Optimist’, the word friends and families use to describe Aisyah Abu Bakar, 30 who is known to always ‘seize the moment’.
She studied in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Rahman Putra, and then UiTM. Aisyah later pursued Master’s in Kings College London and is now working in a world renowned technology company in the United Kingdom (UK).
She is currently serving the role of technical advisory consultant at Avanade, a company founded by Accenture and Microsoft that specialises in digital transformation using the latter’s ecosystem.
With over five years of working experience at reputable global companies such as Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), she constantly pushes her limits and maximises every opportunity given to her.
Aisyah attended UiTM Puncak Alam to pursue a year of foundation in science.
Apart from taking a tough course, she said that the biggest challenge transitioning from high school to pre-university was not being able to see her family as often as she used to.
Upon completing foundation, Aisyah continued her undergraduate studies at UiTM Shah Alam to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science as she has always been interested in technology.
In UiTM, Aisyah joined the Police Voluntary Corps (SUKSIS). Through the organisation, she was granted the rank of ‘inspector’.
She fondly reminiscence about her time attending early morning roll calls, marching, and joining camping trips.
Nurturing herself by graciously taking on every challenge
She started her career in Accenture as a server migration specialist. Despite being a fresh graduate, Aisyah said that she was given many heavy-duty tasks which accelerated her learning.
She also worked closely with migration engineers during on-site activities and interfaced directly with stakeholders to coordinate remediation activities.
“When facing any issues, I conduct my own research before going to my more experienced colleagues. If I still struggle to find the answers, only then would I seek help from them.”
Studying in London
Inspired by her siblings who studied abroad, Aisyah decided to take a career break to pursue a master’s in computer system engineering with management at King’s College London (KCL).
She described that her excitement outweighed her anxiety about the overall journey as this was an opportunity to ascend to the next level.
Aside from studying, Aisyah did other activities for a healthy study-life balance. Spending time with friends, going to the theatres and ice skating were among the things she loved doing in London.
Aisyah eventually graduated with a distinction for her master’s, the highest possible grade.
Returning to Accenture and taking the next step
Aisyah resumed her career in Accenture after graduation from KCL. However, it was not long until she decided to undertake a new challenge.
She made the move to PwC’s consulting arm specialising in digital transformation strategy.
As a PwC consultant, she had to advise clients on digital transformation which was different fom her previous role in Accenture, where she was the one implementing it.
Move to London
From PwC Malaysia, Aisyah then moved to London to fill the role of technical advisory consultant at Avanade, a company founded by Microsoft and Accenture that focuses on digital transformation.
Here she works on two projects simultaneously. The first project aims to improve business process systems while the second involves building an information architecture.
“Juggling between two projects daily is a good challenge to have. With guidance from my managers, I learn how to organise my time better. Having that transparency in communication is key.”
Difference in culture
Aisyah notices that in Malaysia, it is normal to work on weekends and organise meetings after office hours. In contrast, meetings are not scheduled later than 5 pm in her experience, working in the UK.
While it is understandable that Malaysia needs to work extra hard to make its mark in the world, it is also important to work smart.
To her, the ‘hustle’ culture is unsustainable and it is important for Malaysia to eventually practice work-life balance.
More than just coding
Beyond expertise in coding, Aisyah’s work requires exceptional project management and business analytical skills. The combined knowledge in computer science and business is essential to help the clients achieve their technical and commercial goals.
Reflecting on her experiences, Aisyah felt that working in multinational companies in Malaysia and the UK expose her to different work cultures and provide a global view of things.
It is evident that Aisyah’s remarkable drive and optimism have presented her with numerous opportunities and she continues to make the best out of each of them.