“Is there room for more career growth at Whitbread Tech?”
Chitra Madan – Technical Lead AEM
I’d say so – certainly when I came to this country and met with prospective employers, everyone talked a good game of development, and Whitbread were no different. But here, I’ve lived it. I’ve stayed for six years now, rising to Senior Lead Developer and now Tech Lead.
At home in India, I was mainly working in consultancies like Publicis Sapient and Tata Consultancy Services. While consultancy firms can offer valuable expertise and insights, they often have tight deadlines, and consultants are under pressure to meet them while maintaining the quality of their work. I wanted to go in-house and see life the other side of the table. When I joined my husband in the UK, I went out looking for a job and the role as Mid Lead Developer at Whitbread really appealed.
After all, Premier Inn is a brand most people in the UK use, and even if they don’t - they know it! That’s one of the highlights of working here - knowing that the work we do gets used by millions of people. What we build really matters for our guests.
We sit under Architecture and, as Tech Leads, we’re responsible for creating scalable and efficient architecture designs that align with business requirements and industry best practices. This role combines technical expertise with leadership skills to ensure the successful development and deployment of AEM solutions.
As you can imagine, it has high volumes of traffic – we ensure the solutions we design, can handle high traffic and are scalable and play a vital part in the success of the site which has around 60 million unique visitors a year.
Recently, we have also been working to use AEM as Headless Content Management System (CMS) to decouple content creation and management from the presentation layer, allowing content to be delivered to various front-end channels and devices through APIs. This approach is becoming increasingly popular as organizations seek to deliver content seamlessly across web, mobile, IoT devices, and more.
We’re a close-knit team, powered by a desire to look for best solutions. I’m the only female Tech Lead right now but I don’t feel out of place here – everyone’s friendly and welcoming. I think having role models helps as an enabler though, and I was fortunate that when I joined Whitbread Tech there were some very good females in positions of seniority that I could look up to and emulate.
I attended the ‘Women In Tech’ conference last year which I’ve found to be really useful. I’ve come away with more ideas and feeling more confident – I’d love to be up there as one of the speakers one day, that’s the aim!
It’s personal growth for me and I’m encouraged to attend by my managers. There needs to be a clear path and being supported to attend is part of the company investing in me, building me up for my next role.
That will hopefully be going into Architecture, as a Solution Architect. It’s where my interests lie. To give me that roadmap I met up with an Architecture Manager and she was so helpful. I got a much better understanding of the role, the team, the day-to-day demands and the options available to me here. If you’re looking to progress, Whitbread will certainly help you get there.