1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I have been involved in a number of projects, and have had many opportunities to try new try new roles in a variety of sectors. Currently my role is on a business intelligence project in the insurance sector, as a Test Co-ordinator. Day to day I have interactions with the client team to understand the solution and apply this to create test cases for the solution. I also manage User Acceptance Testing with the business users across the UK and Europe, which involves travelling to different client offices. I have also expanded my role to include more technical aspects, including helping to develop a test harness tool in VBA and helping the business users with SQL.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Throughout my roles, I have gained experience in many different areas and have had opportunities to increase my responsibilities. I have been able to move between projects and sectors, and through this I have identified that I would like to pursue a career in the Business Intelligence sector. I have also taken many skills from my other roles; I have learnt about time management and organisation from my PMO role, and gained experience in Business analysis and Data Architecture on my Enterprise Architecture role. I have also improved my people skills, working with different CGI teams and directly with the client teams, gaining good exposure and allowing me to build a strong client relationships.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have enjoyed the work side of the programme, as I have had good opportunities and increased my experience alongside my studies. The balance of university and work was sometimes a challenge, however I had the full support of my project and they were always mindful of my university work. The university course was a good mixture of technical and business skills needed to work in the IT industry, and I enjoyed university days with the other sponsored degree students and I have made many good friends.
4. How valued do you feel by CGI?
I feel I have been valued by CGI, as I have been a key part of my project teams and increased my responsibilities. I have had the opportunity to be promoted, and I have moved into the specialist business unit for BI & Analytics, which is a growing and innovative area of CGI's business. Working on client site full time can sometimes feel remote from the rest of the company, but I have a good people manager who supports me and I keep up to date with company emails and conference calls.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme was well organised, with one university day per week and the rest of the week spent at work on your project. The university day was well structured, but quite a long day especially with travel from Reading to Winchester and back. The support from the university was good with a leader for the year, and there was also a manager from the CGI side, however it would have been better to have a dedicated manager for each year so they would have more time to provide support and deal with any issues that arose.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We received good support from the University of Winchester, as we had the same lectures, facilities and support as the full time students. The lecturers were always available after lectures for any questions or issues. The support of the leader in the 3rd year was particularly good, and we also had a dissertation supervisor to help us with our final dissertation.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I received good support from my project team, and my manager was understanding of my university work. They also talked through my dissertation topic with me and contributed their experience. The management of the programme from CGI was good overall, although it would have been better to have individual leaders for each year that worked full time to support the students and deal with any issues.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The starting salary was fairly low however I was able to move out and rent a room in Reading in my first year. The increments per year were good, and the graduating salary was competitive with other graduate salary, plus extra for experience and performance. The benefits package is good with share and pension options and a yearly bonus.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There was a good social life outside of work, across the sponsored degree students and the graduates which included nights out and discounted events planned by the work sports and social club. We also had a bit of university life with our day on the business campus at Winchester. I lived with another sponsored degree student in my second year, as do many other of the students on the scheme.
9a. Would you recommend CGI to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
You can gain so much experience whilst studying, and apply the knowledge from your work to enhance you university work. You also have your university fees paid for an earn a salary. There is a really good support network and a great social life.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to CGI? *
Make sure you do some research about what CGI does and what projects they have - make sure this interests you and you are prepared to put the work in. You get out what you put in!
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