1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I have worked in CGI in both a PMO and a software tester role during my 3 years here. In PMO it mainly involved administration work. In testing I have a more technical role which enables me to fully apply the skills I have acquired at University. On a day to day basis I communicate with the members of my test team and my manager. My direct test is a teleworking team and I see my manager a couple of times a year. I have a fair amount of responsibility in my role and I enjoy it, I work with two graduates.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have had the opportunity to undertake plenty of training. In my first role (which I was in for 18 months) I only did one training course in risk management; however, in my testing role I have been on a foundation level course already and hope to do my agile qualification later this year. I learnt a great amount through my university modules and find that they, especially the ones in third year, will help me with my future career.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am very happy that I made the choice to work and study at the same time and am grateful for having the opportunity here at CGI. Many of the people at the company are welcoming and great to work with and have a lot of interested in the programme. I also find that the culture is good to be a part of. For most projects there are flexible working arrangements and my current project is understanding about the fact that I am currently doing my dissertation. I have enjoyed the majority of the work that I have done here and have had the opportunity to develop my career.
4. How valued do you feel by CGI?
I do feel appreciated by my manager; however, I work in a team with a graduate who studied a computer science related degree at University and I feel as if I am at a disadvantage because I did not study a pure computer science degree and do not have as much technical knowledge as they do. This means that once I finish my degree, I am going to have to do additional studying in order to catch up with their knowledge to be able to perform greater technical tasks and get the same recognition that they do.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction that I had at CGI was very well structured, however; as I did not have a role when I first started I had to look for my own role. This was a bit stressful although I found a role within two weeks. There is a very good mentor/buddy system here and my mentor was incredibly helpful. I had a buddy myself and I was also a buddy for a person in the year below me. The degree programme is well structured, with only a few noticeable hiccups but they were mainly due to an external lecturer.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The lecturer's at university are very supportive and approachable, but they will not know to help you unless you ask for the help. I had a tough time during second year and I was given additional time from the university to complete my work. This really helped and I probably would not have done as well if I did not go and talk to the student services team at the university. As I mentioned earlier, my mentor was very helpful and was willing to answer any question I had or go over my university work with me.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager and other senior members of my project have always been supportive and they have been willing to talk to me about my career development. My mentor was also a great help throughout my first two years at CGI. I did have a career manager; however, once I changed roles they did not feel as if they were a suitable career manger anymore and I have not received another one since ever though I have raised it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary/package does meet my costs - I am able to afford my car and rent and still save some additional money each month. In the previous years, the salary did not meet my costs, it is only this year that it has started to meet them. I commute to London on a regular and this is covered by the company, if they did not cover them then I would have not been able to afford the travel. If you travel in the company then your expenses are covered (from base location to office of work).
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are regular events in a club called the Sports and Social club, I know many students in CGI who are members of this club, however; I decided not to join it. There are also plenty of volunteer initiatives, I took part in practice interviews with a local school were we interview the students so that they could gain interview experience. My project has also started doing some other events like team bowling and after work drinks.
9. Would you recommend CGI to a friend?
I would recommend CGI to a friend because of the culture and working environment. Also the opportunity to study a degree whilst working is great. There are also plenty of opportunities for training. I also like how we are in university one day a week, it means that I can interact with my classmates and discuss the modules with them.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to CGI?
My main tip would be that if you get to an assessment centre and you are in the waiting area, talk to the other candidates around you - say Hi and introduce yourself. I went to another assessment centre and it was me and another candidate, neither of use spoke to each other so when everyone else arrived we sat in silence. I went to my CGI assessment centre and the same candidate arrived second, I said hi that time and we chatted, everyone else came and we all spoke to each other. This made the atmosphere of the whole day much better.