Before joining the Home Office, I worked as a Business and Technology Reporter. Who knew I’d later work in tech myself? From there I became a Marketeer, focusing on events and design.
I’ve always been a curious person who enjoys learning; that is why I became a user researcher. Having previously worked in the private sector and realising that my values didn’t always align there, I decided to try the public sector. I attended a few open days for the Home Office Digital Development Programme and found that my potential colleagues were empathetic, intelligent and passionate about changing lives through their work.
I joined the Home Office by applying for a junior role under the Digital Development Programme. I was pleased to find that the benefits were better than those I had received working in the private sector. They included a higher salary, competitive pension, flexible working and training and development. These benefits allowed me to make the career change from Event Marketing to User Research whilst getting paid and receiving training.
I never had a mentor before but during the programme I had the opportunity to have three! It was also one of the few programmes I’d come across that offered training to people of all ages, not just early talent. This meant I could still afford the living expenses for my family and I. After 11 months in the programme, I secured a permanent role by using the experience I’d acquired to apply for my current role.
I enjoy my role and I hope to do this job for a long time. My day to day varies but it often involves lots of meetings with different areas of the business. As User Researchers our aim is to work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams. We have to understand the organisation’s objectives whilst grasping the perspective of the users in order to provide excellent services; such as the visa application process. I spend a lot of time talking to people to see if the systems our team designs are easy to use and/or how we can improve them. Part of my job is to also understand the needs and challenges of the users. The aim is to ensure that our services work well for internal colleagues and for the public.
What I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity to help solve complex problems. It’s never boring! I also enjoy learning about new services and problems directly from the public who we serve. I can see the direct impact of my work and that is rewarding.
As well as the benefits I’ve already listed, others I’d highlight include:
- the existence of support networks in the Civil Service such as the LBGT Network and Women in Tech, for example.
- flexibility, which has been great in my experience as a mother. This has allowed me to continue working full time without sacrificing time with my family.
- training and development opportunities and a DDaT community for support.
The Home Office invests in technology and the more colleagues we have from different walks of life the better we can represent the UK’s population. Join us today and help us transform government services.