This year I celebrated my 40th anniversary of working in IT.
When I finished school, I looked for a job instead of going to university. Greenwich Council were getting a new 2MB computer and wanted Trainee Computer Programmers so I applied and got onto the course. Computing was a new career path at that time. In our induction week we visited a computer, quite an event back then as there weren’t that many around and they were so large they filled a room.
Back then they wrote code on coding sheets (like graph paper, allowing one character per box) which was typed into punch cards and fed into the card reader allowing the code to get into the computer. It was then compiled and any errors in the code had to be identified. To make changes you needed to log time on one of the 5 x CRT’s (Cathode Ray Tubes) to try and do this, it took ages.
Once I had completed the course, I decided I wanted to travel, took a one year contract role in the US, and ended up staying there for 35 years. I worked in a number of different roles whilst I was there, from a programmer, systems analyst, to a project manager and I stayed with the same company for 15 years. I then took a role with a start-up and got involved in QA work, found that I quite liked it, and spent the last 10-15 years in it.
Finally deciding to return home, I knew I didn’t want to work in London. The role at RDT was good, close to home, the culture seemed to be down to earth and welcoming. In the US, if you are a salaried employee there is a lot of expectation to work over your required hours. The work-life balance here is a lot better.
I am currently a QA member of the Release Team and am responsible for the quality of the product that goes out the door. We do manual and automated testing here and manage the overall regression suite of tests. We also oversee the work when teams merge their code in and assist them with their testing.
I really enjoy catching an issue that would have caused a problem before it goes out the door. It is really satisfying to get these issues resolved and know the client is getting good quality software.
There is a lot to learn at RDT, our policy administration system Landscape is tailored for each client, so the configurations which are available mean that it works in different ways depending on how the client operates. There is lots to learn, but we get the support and time that we need to do our jobs well.
I look forward to coming into work and really enjoy the camaraderie with my colleagues. I have the most fun when I am working. The people I sit with are interesting, smart and funny, we have a laugh together whilst making sure we get the job done. RDT is a good place to work, we have a lot of smart people here and the work provides the right level of challenge. They are an open-minded organisation which gives people opportunities.