Miriam and Mili are both 2nd year fast streamers on the Digital, Data and Technology Fast Stream. We sat down with them to do some myth busting around the scheme and to hear about their experiences in the Fast Stream so far.
What made you want to join the Digital Data and Technology Fast Stream?
Mili: I was drawn to the Digital, Data and Technology Fast Stream because it seemed like an exciting opportunity to pursue a less traditional career within the Civil Service. With government's digital transformation and the power of new technologies to rapidly change the way we work and deliver public services, the DDaT stream offered work that looked much more fun, interesting, cutting edge and focussed on delivery rather than policy. It would also involve a lot of learning and the development of new skills.
Miriam: I have always enjoyed using technology, and when I was introduced to the CodeFirst Girls coding courses in my final year of university I soon found myself much more interested in coding homework than studying for my degree. I was unsure of what career path to take, but knew that I wanted to work with technology and help people. I found the DDaT scheme online and loved the variety of postings offered and the opportunity to improve the UK’s experience interacting with government.
Did you have any tech experience before you joined?
Mili: I did a Classics degree so had no real tech experience before I applied to the scheme! I learned how to code while studying through CodeFirst: Girls’s courses which I really enjoyed. This wasn't necessary in order to successfully gain a place on the scheme but it helped me realise that working in Tech was a possibility for me. Alongside some formal training, most of my experience has been gained through learning on job!
Miriam: As my degree was in French and Spanish, the only tech experience I had prior to joining the fast stream were the short coding courses I took 2 years ago. I often hear people saying that they didn’t apply to the DDaT scheme because they didn’t have any experience studying or working in tech, but in my experience an eagerness to learn, understand user needs and to make life easier for people is far more important.
What postings have you had so far?
Mili: In my first posting I led on a technology transformation project and was a User Experience Researcher for a digital service for diplomats in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I was then a Service Designer for the new welfare service in the Department for Work and Pensions. I'm currently the Architecture Strategy lead in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, looking at how we can we use innovative new technologies to achieve the department’s policy and business objectives.
Miriam: For my first posting I worked at the Department for Education in Sheffield as an IT Service Manager. It was a great opportunity to understand the processes behind the technology which supports all departments and government services. I was subsequently a User Researcher for the Department of International Trade, building an internal system to track investment coming to the UK. I am now on secondment at an ‘EdTech’ startup called TeachPitch, where I’m working as a Product Manager, leading the delivery of the company’s digital platforms.
Mili and Miriam: If you don’t have any tech experience, but you like problem-solving, working in a collaborative environment and want to deliver services that citizens and civil servants will use, then apply for the DDaT scheme. It’s a great route into an exciting, varied career in the Civil Service.