My name is Alicia Cahill, and I'm an Associate Infrastructure Engineer at BPDTS. Right now, I work on the desktop packaging team. We're the team responsible for packaging up the different types of software required by the business.
Our job is to get the new solution set up to meet the Department for Work and Pension's requirements. Our goal is to get the new software deployed to users as seamlessly as possible; sometimes, we need to work with several teams to ensure everyone's experience using the package is the best.
New job, new beginnings
I'm new on the desktop packaging team, and I'm still finding my feet. I moved into the new position from a previous role within the BPDTS end-user computing (EUC) team. I love my new job; not only am I learning about my new team and position, but I'll also have the chance to learn how to use and deploy new solutions – all the time.
Why engineering is perfect for me
Ever since I was a kid, I've enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. My mum would bring old computers home from work to satisfy my curiosity when her company moved to newer kit. I spent hours deconstructing and reconstructing redundant machines.
At school, I excelled at IT and continued studying it at university. One of the many things I love about being an engineer is the endless opportunities to learn. Everything changes as technology advances. It's the reason the new role suits me to a T.
Job-shadowing opened my eyes
Although my career at BPDTS started in EUC, I knew early on that I wanted to move into engineering. But I wasn't sure what part of engineering was right for me.
I met with Ann-Marie Goulden, a Digital Service Practice Manager (DSPM) in the Engineering practice. Anne-Marie suggested two ways to explore some of the engineering roles in more detail: job shadowing and mentoring.
With the help of Anne-Marie, I set up a 2-day job shadow experience with the packaging team in Manchester. I loved the experience and was instantly hooked. I hadn't considered going into packaging before my 2-day job shadowing excursion. As it turns out, it ticked all the right boxes. Now, I get to learn loads of different technologies, satisfying my ever-present curiosity.
Change is as good as a rest
Change can be difficult to accept. How you respond defines your experience. My mum and dad always worked hard, even under adverse conditions. When I was young, changes in circumstances meant we uprooted from southern England to the North. My parent's conviction to overcome adversity was an inspiration. Their actions helped shape the person I am today.
Trust in yourself, keep going
When I think about confidence and what that means, it comes down to trusting that you're making the right choices. Even if you get knocked back by not getting a job offer, or missing out on a promotion, you have to believe in yourself. For me, failure is a chance to get up and try again – not fold. My dad's attitude was to keep going. That's my motto now too.
How people show their confidence can vary greatly. When you put your ideas forward for other people to consider, expect different opinions. To survive and enjoy it, you need a certain degree of resilience – which is part of building confidence.
We've all been knocked back. I'm no different, and I've had to get back on my feet. Doing things multiple times has helped improve my confidence, making me more self-assured.
The adage about falling off horses is true. Don't be scared to give something a go the first time. And if you fall off that horse, stand up, dust yourself off, and get back in the saddle.
I try to live my life the way my parents would. They're the reason I am who I am, and I want them to be proud of me. I am lucky to have a supportive network of colleagues, family, and friends. They help to sustain my confidence to try new things, succeed and, yes, sometimes fail.
Learning and mobility are a team sport
There are many ways to progress your career. BPDTS fully supports a robust set of learning and development initiatives to suit your needs.
In previous roles, although the learning tools and resources were available, it wasn't easy to find the time to take advantage of them. At BPDTS, it's still your responsibility to take the time for professional development. What's different is the focus the management and leadership teams put on it. BPDTS is a strong advocate of continuous learning.
There is never enough learning we can do. If you make time, BPDTS will support your professional development through different mediums, including mentoring, courses on Udemy and Pluralsight, and job shadowing.
Proactively course correct
We all need to take an active role in shaping our careers. Knowing when to move on and try something new takes confidence. I've worked in other organisations that left me wanting. Rather than wait for something to change, I adopted a proactive approach.
Lots of places sell you a dream. Then, after you settle in, you realise it's just not true. BPDTS actively encourages you to become better. If you want to expand your horizons, there's plenty of scope to do it here.
Just do it
There's never been a more exciting time to work in the public sector. Joining BPDTS was a huge step forward for me personally and professionally. What I do day to day contributes to improving the lives of millions of citizens.
If you're wondering if it's the right move, just do it. Brilliant tools and exceptional people support our teams. You'll never get bored as there is a load of opportunity to develop yourself professionally.