I joined the Met Office on its IT trainee scheme 5 years ago.
After graduating with a Computer Science and Physical Education degree, I actually went and ran a pub for a couple of years. Eventually, I moved up to Edinburgh and started working as a field technician for a major retailer doing installation and maintenance of home PC’s, networks and laptops. However, I’d always had a real interest in software development and I was keen to move away from a basic technician role. So when I saw an advert to be an IT trainee for the Met Office, I thought “brilliant!” and applied. The great thing about the Met Office trainee scheme is that they take on people from such varied backgrounds. You could be aged 18 or 48, fresh out of education or just interested in IT with the right attitude and looking for a career change, it’s an excellent opportunity.
With 4 different placements each lasting 6 months, I was able to experience a wide variety of IT roles throughout the two years. My first placement was with the infrastructure and development team, which immediately exposed me to some software development and Windows Server training. My second placement was the very same team I work with now, I did more software development building rich internet applications using Flex and Flash. After two more stints in the database and networks teams, I knew where I wanted to be.
I’ve been working in software development for the web presentation team ever since. Part of the reason I chose this team is because I’m a creative person and here I get to create exciting things every day. The team are great, really approachable and friendly. There’s not that sit-and-hide culture that you find in some places, we all talk to each other and have built a strong social group. 5 years on and I’ve progressed to Senior Software Developer.
Probably the scope for progression; there are so many different routes you can take. I was promoted 6 months ago to Senior Software Developer, which has ticked off a career goal for me. There are still further progression opportunities, my current goal is to progress into an expert developer role. But if I wanted to, I could go down a technical lead route and have more management responsibilities. There’s also scope to experience different areas of the Met Office. So if you wanted to, say, go off for three months within a science team, you could. It all comes round to that collaborative way of working and promoting cross-team communication.
There is also a great social atmosphere at the Met Office, we have a sports day, sports and social clubs like running or singing. There is a Christmas Ball and team social events, a strong surfing scene and a flexible working environment. It’s a good place to work, with plenty of opportunities and variety.
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