1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My current job role is a part of the innovation team in cyber risk and infrastructure security. My job is to build an application that can be used to further automatise and optimise the process we use to assign security officers to projects. My day to day life is reading about new software and practices relating to Microsoft PowerApps (the software I have chosen to develop with). I interact with security officers and project managers, trying to find out their day to day issues and annoyances.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learned how to use the following software, languages and practices.
Agile methodology PowerApps Flow Java
I have further developed my SharePoint and Excel skills
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the challenge of finding practical solutions to actual problems within a company, I have managed to get a good feel for the process around the business and the actual practices of security officers and project managers. It has helped me develop my theoretical learning with real life scenarios with the added bonus of making a difference.
The real life scenario is a bit of a double edged sword however, the office politics and bureaucracy has become apparent, and some of the projects that I have invested time and interest in become dissolved at the drop of a hat. The mismanagement of some areas (including our own programme) have begun to seep through, and I can see a clear difference in poor work and good work quality. A skill I am happy to develop but would prefer to do so from a distance, rather than observing it in my own learning.
4. How valued do you feel by SSE?
Within my rotation I feel valued, I am checked up on and given great autonomy on my work. I am learning a huge amount from my team but they are also learning from me. I intend to give a presentation to a head of department about the work ive been doing and how it can benefit the business. The work I have done has garnered the interest of other people in other departments who have begun to seek my help with their own projects.
However, I have noticed a recent decrease in our programme co-ordinators communication. The stress of miscommunication and a lack of communication has not helped issues with the university. However, recently the communication has improved.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the programme has some flaws. Whilst I originally thought that this would be a great learning experience all round I have found that the quality of our learning depends entirely on the team we are in. The structure of our education at work so far has been minimal on the part of our programme co-ordinators, with the extent of their interference being the decision on where we go and how long we stay there. The learning itself depends on the team who are not briefed about how to teach us and are instead sometimes reduced to giving us menial tasks or, in some cases, no work at all. This has typically been a result of how prepared the team is and what their workload is.
We have been promised an improvement on this, with a more structured plan, but so far it has been up to our managers (and to a certain extent our own autonomy) to structure our learning.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I have so far been lucky, in that my managers have been very involved in my learning. They have provided me with good training but have also had a very busy schedule so given me autonomy (but not without direction) when they were unavailable.
The programme co-ordinators have not been so involved, as per question 5.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
See questions 5 and 6a
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am able to break even fairly well but every so often, should large costs come up, I sometimes struggle to reach them. Living costs in the nearby area are fairly high but with frugal spending I can make do. A slight increase in pay would be greatly appreciated as it would alleviate the stress of spending and living.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
The university has a very lackluster collection of social clubs/societies. This has led our own classmates form making our own society which has yet to take off. However, fairly recently one of our lecturers has taken a personal interest in our out of class/work activities, this has led to an amazing opportunity with the MOD, in the form of a hackathon, and a visit to IBM as a result of the success at said hackathon.
This opportunity has been limited to a handful of us but is progress nonetheless.
9. Would you recommend SSE to a friend?
The company atmosphere is awesome, I dont know a single person who dislikes their job. The relaxed attitude is an awesome change from previous office jobs I have worked and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.
The department heads are approachable and friendly and there is no real pressure put on you. If you are ever in need of help with anything there's always people you can go to and managers are understanding and accommodating.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to SSE?
If you are applying for this programme and looking for a very social university style life prepare to be disappointed, but the tradeoff is easy access to a job network at a company that youd be happy to work at for the next ten years, a good living wage that dispels the fear of loans and tuition fees and a learning experience that accommodates those who learn through theory and those who learn through practice.The scheme turns you into a swiss army knife of the IT world, with experience in nearly every department you could ever want to work in.
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