What’s it been like working at BT since the 80’s?
I believe I have been very privileged to have been able to work in one of the fastest moving and most exciting industries of the last 3 decades. We are constantly having to learn new skills to keep pace with technology and stay ahead of the competition. We have evolved from being a UK based fixed line telephone company to a digital communications service provider, operating in over 150 countries worldwide and serving customers both small and large in today’s always connected communications environment.
How was it when you first started as a Graduate with BT?
When I started in BT the internet had not been invented, there was no such thing as a mobile phone, and we could not exchange emails with external organisations! We were moving from the age of the mainframe to mid-range computers, memory and processing power were expensive so we learnt how to code efficiently to manage these scarce resources. The basic principles that I learnt developing software solutions then are still relevant today and I still use many of the skills and techniques that I learnt as a graduate in my role as an architect today.
How much did your Graduate role help you with what you do now?
I started out life in BT as a software programmer, developing and testing code for network management systems. I worked within small co-located teams, learning from and helping each other to ensure that our output was of the highest quality possible delivered on time, to specification and within budget – the basics of any good software engineering practice today.
What’s your day-to-day role like and how does it compare what you did when you started at BT?
I now have responsibility for BT’s Future IT Strategy, looking at what opportunities new technologies offer to BT, or how we need to restructure or redefine our systems architecture to deliver business value and transformation or meeting with suppliers and vendors to see how their products or services can be incorporated into our architecture to deliver new and innovative solutions.
What did you want to be when you were at school/growing up, did you see yourself doing what you do now?
I have always been a problem solver. At school I was interested in science and went to university to study IT. It was there that I was introduced to Computer Science and I quickly realised that I enjoyed programming and wanted to pursue a career in IT based around programming. In the late 80’s when I joined BT, we as a company were having to automate processes and tools to cope with, and exploit, the increasing complexity of telecommunications services we were delivering.
What was it like to receive a TM Forum Distinguished Fellowship award?
I was very honoured to receive the TM Forum Distinguished Fellowship award as it was recognition from outside of BT for my contribution to architecture within BT (as my work with the TM Forum is based on the work that we have already implemented within BT), but also to global industry standards around the practical implementation and adoption of architectural best practice. It re-affirms that BT’s work on systems architecture is world leading and something that the systems architects within BT should be very proud of.
What advice would give to someone wanting to start a graduate role or new role with BT?
BT is a fantastic company to work for, and there are many opportunities for you to develop a fantastic career as there are many opportunities within BT. I always say that I have changed jobs about 8 times within my career but always worked for the one company. The opportunities to develop skills and experience within BT are exceptional and excellent support is provided via BT Academy to allow you to plan a career is really only limited by your ambition.
Any final words of wisdom or inspiring final comments?
The services that we deliver within BT to our customers, such as broadband, access services, core networking, Wi-Fi, mobile and TV are essential for modern life. Everything that we do within BT is integral to modern life helps keep people connected be it with their family and friends or for essential business services and working for BT is a fantastic opportunity to use the power of communications to make a better world.