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Hannah Reading – A Day in The Life

Hannah Reading – A Day in The Life

This week we are celebrating National Inclusion Week, an annual opportunity for employers around the world to raise awareness of inclusion in the workplace. FDM consultant Hannah Reading has Asperger’s syndrome and is currently working as an ABAP Developer at Shell. Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism where people see the world a bit differently from others and because of this, social and communication skills can be largely affected. Hannah told us about how she deals with her Asperger’s in the workplace and where she hopes to see herself at the end of her time with FDM.

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Since January 2018 I have been working as an ABAP Developer as well as leading the 3D print cycle as part of the Foundry Funnels initiative in Downstream IT. I am one of two developers based in the UK as most of my team are in Bangalore. Working in any corporate environment with Asperger’s can be a struggle but I have a few coping mechanisms that help me deal with the day to day working life if things start to get a bit too full on. I usually wear my ear defenders and earplugs whilst working to block out background noise as the levels can tend to get quite high around the office. By using the defenders I’m able to stay focused on my work, as my job requires a lot of thinking and problem-solving. When I’m in a quieter environment I find that I can focus better. I also have a fidget cube as well as putty and a squishy as ‘stim toys’ to help keep me on task and to keep me calm when I am anxious, stressed or unsure of what to do if I experience any issues whilst working. These have been very useful to me as they help me to feel more comfortable in my own environment.
Being a part of the Shell workforce has been a great step in my career as a developer.  I have been involved with different clubs and societies such as the Shell enABLE network, Energie Network and Toastmasters Club where I have presented three speeches as well as running recent meeting. I have also been involved in the Foundry funnels where I have participated in both ‘Internet of Things’ and Virtual Reality, I will also be leading the last one of the year which is 3D Print. My Asperger’s has slightly affected the way I work, but I have worked with the company to raise these issues and to find alternatives to help me complete my work tasks.

Complex coding is a topic I have found to be tough whilst on placement. I have worked on a few complex programs whilst training and the most challenging part for me was Module Pool Programming. Whenever I find that myself struggling with a task I turn to my colleagues and utilise YouTube tutorials to help me find the answer.

The last nine months at Shell have been fantastic and I’m really looking forward to seeing what I get up to with the company throughout the rest of placement as I am hoping to gain more experience and understanding of Agile-based practices and to hopefully become a Scrum master. My long-term career goal is to become an Application Delivery Lead for one of the Functional Towers in the Solution Build team and adopt a more managerial role.

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