Case study

Lead test consultant — Nathan Hosker

Nathan gets a buzz out of fixing issues and ensuring projects run smoothly in his IT consultancy job

How did you get your job?

Having researched the industry I came across my current employers, FDM Group, who take on graduates looking to forge a career in IT. The information provided by the company stated that the training would be free, but would require self-funding.

To support myself during my studies I worked initially as an assistant manager of a restaurant and later as a coder/assistant manager for UK Data Capture, who were in charge of the government census.

Following a full year of saving, I was ready to make the leap and be interviewed by FDM. I went through an assessment day and a face-to-face presentation interview, based on a topic of their choice that was pre-determined before the assessment day. I passed the interview and was appointed as a lead test consultant and now the company provides me with a number of blue-chip clients to work with.

The contacts you make and the different systems you get to work with mean that there is a lot of joy in making something new and exciting

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My business information systems and management degree gave me a solid foundation and understanding of how systems and people work in different businesses globally in order to aid and develop our social economy.

I used this experience as a platform to get to where I am now.

What are your main work activities?

My day begins with me writing down a list of priority tasks that will help aid the projects that I am working on. Currently I am working for Avios, a sub-division company who offer a number of reward points schemes and programmes to British Airways.

By 9:30am I am ready to hold my first meeting with the onshore team that I liaise with, we each individually go through any issues or concerns that we have about the current workload. Good communication is critical within IT and helps me deal with the tasks I have in hand.

Around 10am I will usually undertake an overseas conference call, with my colleagues in India. The next few hours allow me to handle project planning, resource planning, test scripting, and execution and defect management.

At 2pm I carry out the second conference call of the day; this time in a two-way conversation with colleagues in South Africa and Spain. Having such diversity in your workforce and client base enables you to expand your horizons and allows you to see things in your everyday life from a varied perspective.

What are your main career ambitions?

With three solid years' experience across a number of sectors such as banking and automobile, I now feel that I have grown enough into my role to be able to tell anyone about what I do for a living without having to second guess it.

My career aim now is to become a test manager and to oversee a number of projects in one go. I would like to undertake work placements/contracts across the globe. I enjoy travelling and would be willing to learn a number of languages if it means I get to explore the world.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the variation of being able to work both individually and within large teams. The different aspects of my day, such as the conference calls and finding issues within the work that I am given (and ensuring they are fixed), are the things that provide me with the buzz to continue doing what I do.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Ensuring that everything on the project is in order and that no key parts are missing, which could cause it to be delayed or fail. Sometimes internal issues arise, when different departments involved in a project have conflicting concerns or priorities, perhaps to do with work load or scheduling.

The biggest challenge is often demonstrating to the client that they are gaining something tangible from a project.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Be positive and don't ever give up. Be passionate about what you do and take pride in it. Like any other job you will have days that are just hard work, but the contacts you make and the different systems you get to work with mean that there is a lot of joy in making something new and exciting.

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