The Twenty-Something Series: I have a day job in IT, and here's what I actually do

To say that I work in IT can be pretty vague and get complicated pretty quickly - so in this post, I talk about what I actually do in my day job.

A big part of hitting your twenties and graduating, for many of us, is about getting a job. 

(I did try this before when I was straight out of uni, and it didn't work out, and now I have a much better job.)

For those of you who only know me as an author, I also have a full-time job, working in IT for an energy company.

To find out more about why I'm not a full-time writer, you can check out this post

When someone says to you that they 'work in IT', it can mean anything. A lot of the time, it conjures up images of the IT Crowd: someone sitting in a small office somewhere, fixing your computer when it's broken. ("Have you tried turning it on and off again?")

Plus, the whole 'get a job' thing seems kind of weird and daunting. What do people actually do, besides sit in an office forever trying to catch up on emails or going from one meeting to the next?

I've had quite a few people ask me what I actually do, so decided to make it one of my posts this year.

As I've mentioned a few times on my blog before, I joined the company I work for now on their graduate scheme, which was rotational - so I'll split my explanation into the different rotations I've worked through. And in case you hadn't already guessed, it's an office job.

That time I spent working in IT Architecture...

I spent my first six months in the Architecture team. IT Architecture mostly looks at the technical estate (what services and systems does the company have? How do they integrate?) so I worked on a project looking at some of these things. 

I ended up working from home a lot of the time in this placement because the team were split across different offices, and I was the only one based up in Durham after my manager for the role left about six weeks into me starting. (And, also, because I got snowed in almost all the time while I was in Durham!)

I also ended up doing a project in the German office looking at people development, which weirdly had a whole team of IT people on it. I mostly focused on creating an online learning plan for international IT employees who wanted to improve their English, so that was pretty cool.

...followed by working with contracts and KPI dashboards

After that, I did six months in the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) and Commercial team. SRM looked at contracts between suppliers and the business, how suppliers and their services were performing, things like that. I also did a project creating a key performance indicator dashboard for the Licence Management team within this area - which meant spending a few weeks bogged down in Excel coding, which I frickin' loved, quite frankly. 

I had a team around me for that placement, and had moved to Swindon for it. I ended up in the office most days (with the occasional Friday working from home) and preferred it by far: it was such a great environment to work in, having the team around like that.

Both of these placements and roles helped me learn a lot about working in IT and about the company (and truth be told: I really enjoyed them, too). There were meetings and workshops and projects to deliver, and both were a huge learning curve. I know I've not gone into too much detail on what I actually did, but hopefully it's enough to give you guys a little bit of a flavour of what I was up to before now.

And finally, moving on to working with Digital!

So that was my first year on the graduate scheme, and in September last year I moved on to start my next placement, working in Business Relationship Management. This is a role I heard about in my first few weeks and I was really keen on it. 

(Actually, just before Christmas, I put in an application for the role on a permanent basis, so I can roll off the grad scheme and do this more officially. Keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Basically, this role means I work as kind of an intermediary between the IT department and a couple of areas of the business - like Digital, who, obviously, because I'm me, I was very keen to work with. I gained a whole career from the internet, of course I want to work with the Digital team. 

I have to know what those areas I work with are doing, what they've got in the plan, what problems they've got, what they're trying to achieve. I have to look for opportunities where IT can help and support, and where they need to work with IT (maybe to deliver a new system). I also have to know what's going on on the IT side of things, to know where any issues are and take them back to the business areas and help to manage all of that.

I'm in the office most of the time (the office I work in now is near Birmingham, and usually dead on a Friday, so I usually work from home on Fridays) and because I work with a few different teams, I tend to hop around and sit in different areas of the office. After working with quite a fixed team, this was something I was nervous about initially but has turned out to be kind of nice.

This role is much less about me actually doing and delivering projects, like the other placements I did, and more about facilitating. Though saying that, I've still ended up with a few 'deliverables' (like working with the Architects and doing some analysis of the IT estate for the areas I support). 

To be honest: it's a lot of meetings, a lot of emails, and a lot of notes to keep track of everything that's going on. It's a lot of talking to people and making sure things are being done.

And I bloody love it.

Hence the application for a permanent position.

One of my favourite things about becoming an author was finding new ways to talk to my audience, and one of the things I love most about the IT industry is that it's so dynamic and presents so many opportunities. The role I'm doing now is a great blend of all these things, which is part of the reason I enjoy it so much.

It's also a huge challenge, but in the best kind of way. Dealing with lots of different ways of working and lots of different people? Definitely something that keeps me on my toes.

So there it is! That's what I do, in a nutshell.

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