After gaining my Computer Science degree, I wasn’t motivated by money, so didn’t join my friends in applying to join big corporate organisations. Instead, I wanted to do something that I felt would challenge me and feed my passion for technology. So, when I saw MI6 was recruiting software programmers to help contribute to national security, I decided to give it a go. I thought it might be too posh for me, but after four months of interviews, assessment centres and security checks, I was in.
When I walked through the door on my first day, I was surprised at how friendly and down to earth everyone was. And the people I met during my introduction to the Service are still good friends today.
In my first job I had a steep learning curve to understand the technology and how the organisation worked. The training really helped and no matter how stupid my questions sounded, people always took the time to explain why we used technology in a different way. Although I’d learnt the theory at university, it wasn't until I started using my coding skills that I really understood how to put a system together. My mentor helped me to design a personal training programme and I completed courses in Exchange 2010 and Windows Server 2012 which led to me becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional. I've also qualified as a VMWare Certified Professional and developed my C# and C++ skills.
What’s really satisfying is solving technical problems and know you’ve helped to save lives. One time after seeing a major, international event on the news, I was asked to design a specialised report for a small number of key customers to a tight deadline. Working in a team I captured the requirements and designed a prototype which we developed and tested successfully. It was pretty tiring, but we got the job done.
In the future I hope to continue expanding my software development skills. But with so many opportunities, I might decide to move into technical security or even operational work. That’s the advantage of working here – you define your own career.