How did FDM’s training prepare you for your career?
My training in Brighton prepared me well for placement in terms of the technical skills and the access to certain technologies. The FDM staff were also great in terms of the soft skills such as interview technique and advice; they gave me a lot of support. I remember it being a very close-knit community, you’d always be able to talk to everyone in the office. FDM always encouraged and gave the opportunity for independent study too, and it was great that as trainees, we were all in it together.
Tell us about your career from your first ever placement with FDM to now?
During training, the estate agents that were in the office next to us needed a new system, so myself and one other, as our first project, went there and helped build that. My first official placement however was at the RAC in Feltham, which was a Business Intelligence implementation. I was there for about six months before I moved to Allied Domecq for a year. Finally, I was placed at Southern Water. During my final placement, I interviewed for both Deloitte and PwC, and later joined PwC in 2001 doing Business Intelligence. PwC at the time were going through a huge period of change, so I found myself in a really small team at the start of a new chapter. It was a great experience to see the team grow and I stayed at PwC for around 13 years.
After 13 years and seeking a new challenge, I moved to Ernst & Young, where I am today as a Senior Manager. Initially I was in the data and analytics team for the advisory practice, where I managed a team of 40 people within the financial services. We were responsible for consulting banks, insurers and asset managers who were going through a technology change. Most recently, I have moved into tax, where there are lots of projects and initiatives regarding data.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into IT consultancy?
I would encourage anyone to go into IT, but the biggest piece of advice I would give is to pick a topic to learn and pursue it but also keep your eyes open as you go about your career. I started my career coding SQL in Oracle, then I joined a huge firm and I have travelled the world looking at various operations within lots of different types of business, some having nothing to do with technology and data. You pick up skills and experience along the way and most importantly, you have fun doing it. When I started my career as an Analyst Programmer, I could have simply focused on the programmer side, but I found the business analyst side just as interesting; finding out how the business works and how the technology supports them. If you can get your head around both aspects of IT, suddenly you become very valuable, because there are few people out there who understand both the technology and the business. The way things are going with developments such as automation and artificial intelligence, the more you can figure out how these technologies can be applied in a business sense, the more valuable you’ll be.
With that advice in mind, kick-start your career in technology today and launch your career just like David did. Apply for FDM’s Careers Programme.