Emma Swift

Enterprise Data Architect, Royal Mail

What does your job mean?

My job entails looking at data from all aspects – looking at how you define it, how you store it, how you transfer it and how you manage it.

What do you like most about working with data?

I love the variety. As an Enterprise Data Architect no two days are the same – you can be helping write data policies, you could be trying to define how a message structure looks between two pieces of software, or a tangible business problem with several ways of tackling it. It’s hugely varied.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Use your enthusiasm. It was something that never occurred to me. I always knew I was enthusiastic about my role, but I never thought I could use that in a positive way. I’ve found that, later in my career, it’s a way of making people listen. If you’re completely enthusiastic in their faces 24/7 usually they pay attention!

Where do you find your confidence?

My confidence comes from within because if you rely on confidence building outside of you you’re always risking disappointment. So I try to really make sure that I’m my own best friend.

I try to really make sure that I’m my own best friend.
What significant object have you chosen?

The object I’ve chosen is the Superlambanana. This is a sculpture in Liverpool that appears around the town from place to place. The actual one itself is 15 feet high. The significance is that my career started in Liverpool and this is part of the culture there. There were 125 of them made for the Capital of Culture in 2008 and they were dotted all around the UK. It’s something that’s been ever present and this was a gift from someone when I left Liverpool. It’s very dear to my heart.

If you could talk to your teenage self now, what would you say?

I would tell her to stop being quite so studious actually! I worried an awful lot about insuring that I made the right grades. When you look back on that you realise that it’s good to get the grades, but they are merely stepping-stones to other things.