a computer with the words from digital novice to digital nerd on the screen

From a Digital Novice to a Digital Nerd

colour desk with stacked books, on the right there is bookshelf also with books, on the left there is a window with a vase of flowers

When I found out I’d be working in digital, I would be lying if I said I was confident I was going to enjoy it, because I had no real idea what it was going to involve. I’ve always been uncertain about what I’ve wanted to do. For A levels I was interested in Maths and Economics, then eventually studied Law at university, after changing my mind on what course I wanted to study several times. After that I did a bit of teaching Maths and English to vulnerable students, which was really rewarding. But, as you can see, there was no natural progression. 

I’m now, as you may have guessed, working in the Digital services across Sutton and Kingston, this was after gaining a place on the National Graduate Development Programme. The grad scheme appeared slightly ambiguous, your placement would be decided after getting the job, but this worked in my favour as it didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t have a particular service that I wanted to work in.

Joining Digital services I had a lot to learn and a fair amount to prove, which wasn’t always easy when your sole form of communication is virtual. Joining midway through an exciting project with no experience, into a team who were all amazing at what they did and had worked hard for it, I did feel the pressure. I also, however, felt incredibly supported and determined to prove myself. 

I’ve since discovered that digital services cover more than just creating a nice-looking website, which was a big learning point (showing myself up here, I know). 

illustration of different types of media and phones with fake websites.

Coincidentally this was actually the first project I was placed on, the transformation from what was a pretty poor functioning website to a much chicer, but equally more accessible new one. I was involved in user research and actually listening to what residents wanted, testing with them to help improve the site, an incredibly validating experience when the problems you find from speaking with users shift and solve the issues that could have otherwise gone unnoticed. 

I’ve since done a placement in delivery management in the transformation of the Garden Waste service, which was actually a lot more complicated than you’d expect and somehow, really interesting. I’m now starting my third placement as a product manager and it’s a whole different project and the team again, this time we’re looking at the Contact Centre and telephony systems. 

In just over 6 months and 3 projects, I’ve discovered the variation and relevance of digital and how much of the world it impacts, and that influence only seems to be getting bigger. I now love digital and how much there is to it and think it is probably where I want to get a job, although I’m still slightly scared to admit and commit to that. 

I’m starting to realise though, you never really know. But, when you find a job you enjoy, that excites you and challenges you, has endless prospects, combine that with friendly and supportive colleagues and community, it’s a pretty good place to start your career. It suits me because I know the opportunities are so varied and what you learn has transferable skills that make you desirable at almost every company. 

I never would’ve imagined that this would be me, even 6 months ago before I began. And though I’m sure my path will change quite a few more times, I hope that if this reaches anyone considering a job in digital, that this gives them encouragement that you can do it, it’s not only for crazy about computers people, there’s roles and projects out there for everyone and you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose in this digital world. 

Rachel B

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