The Big Picture
William started work as an IT Consultant at FDM in January 2021 following the completion of his MPhys in Physics at the University of Hull in 2020. He has been working remotely since he started the role due to the pandemic, his regular office is located in Leeds. The role involves him working on a cybersecurity project for the Department for Work and Pensions.
‘I love my job, considering it’s a job I didn’t think I wanted to do. I’ve been pleasantly surprised!’
The Application Process
The application process for William started in November 2019 as this is when the big graduate schemes open up for applicants. He was motivated mainly by location as he was keen to stay in the Yorkshire region, therefore he chose to target those graduate schemes based in the area. These included Nestle, Sky, BT, Costcutter and Yorkshire Water.
‘The whole process was quite daunting, particularly when you are still studying.’
He found the FDM graduate scheme advertised on Gradcracker and after some research into the programme and being impressed by the client list, he decided to apply. The assessment day (which took place in person pre-Covid) involved a number of tests including business scenarios, apptitude and maths and also interviews and talks from the FDM team. William felt it was both exciting but stressful at the same time.
William acknowledged that the application stage was ‘not a fun process’ and he was disappointed at times when companies didn’t provide any feedback on his applications. However he recognised that the rejection was not personal and that each application or interview was a learning opportunity.
‘Don’t stress as much as I did, it’s a cliche but it does all work out in the end. The application process can be unnerving but make sure you put aside time to apply for jobs and complete applications. Schedule in time as you would for your academic studies.’
Day to Day
The role involves working a pattern of 12 hours shifts, which start with a handover meeting with the previous team to highlight any ongoing alerts or long term issues. William’s responsibilities involve working through around 6-7 identified alerts per shift which may be connected to irregular or malicious business activity. His role is to monitor the data and identify whether these alerts and the behaviours associated with them are ‘true positives’ and need escalating further.
Teamwork or Solo
William works within a team of five and although the role is independent and they tackle issues and alerts individually when they reach the point that they need additional help, they then work as a team and other staff members will provide support and assistance.
The Physics Connection
When asked how much physics William used on a daily basis in his role, he said he didn’t actually use his subject knowledge. However, he did acknowledge that his physics degree had provided him with essential skills which he uses within his role. The planning and conducting of laboratory investigations have provided him with solid problem solving skills and experience which he uses when investigating the alerts within his role. Furthermore, physics has provided him with experience working within a team and practical project management.
‘I’ve always been into anything technology based, I’ve grown up alongside technological developments and advancements and it’s always been a hobby of mine. So I knew the sciences were something I wanted to go into. Physics is the top one, it provides you with transferable skills and experience.’
William’s degree also included a teacher training element and whilst he has made the decision not to take this up currently as a vocation, the experience within schools provided a steep learning curve where he developed presentation, public speaking and teamwork skills.
The Next Step
William’s role is initially a two year contract and whilst he questioned how long he could work the shift pattern for, he did feel he could see himself staying at the company after this period and said:
‘It’s a really relaxed atmosphere and there are perks from working shifts, I have 6 days off in a row! But I can see myself working in a more fast-paced environment in the longer term.’