Current Role: Security Engineer
Location: Welwyn Garden City
Joined Tesco: 2020
How long have you been in Tesco Technology and what’s your background?
I've been in Tesco technology for 2 1/2 years now, I’ve just finished the graduate scheme in Cyber Security and secured my new role as a Security Engineer. Perhaps surprisingly, I studied chemistry at Cardiff university where I got a Masters, and in the final year I specialised in computational chemistry. It was really the first time I think I've ever been exposed to technology, and it gave me a glimpse into technology roles and how my skills might be transferrable. I started researching roles and I came across Cyber Security, and I just thought, yes – I can see myself doing this. My next hurdle was to try and build some contacts. Since I’m not from a technical background, I wasn’t well connected, so I had to find a way to build a network.
When I first saw the graduate scheme advertised at Tesco, in all honesty I didn’t think I had much of a chance. Sure, I had buckets of enthusiasm – but it really ended there! To my absolute delight, they took a chance on me, and I’m so glad they did!
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is at the forefront of our cyber defences, identifying, understanding and solving large-scale challenges to protect our customers, colleagues and the business. There’s a lot of problem-solving, and a chance to get stuck into detail – which I personally love and get lost in. There’s loads to learn, but we are given plenty of time for on the job learning and study time. We are then encouraged to share this back with the team, so the learning culture is fantastic.
Did anything surprise you about Tesco Technology?
There's two things I remember from my first two months. One evening on my second week I was still at my desk at 6pm. My manager approached me and in the nicest of ways, encouraged me to go home. I was under the impression that as a grad I’d really have to show my commitment by working really late – I couldn’t have been more misguided; it was a bit of a shock to me that a work-life balance is really encouraged.
"When I first saw the graduate scheme advertised at Tesco, in all honesty I didn’t think I had much of a chance. Sure, I had buckets of enthusiasm – but it really ended there! To my absolute delight, they took a chance on me, and I’m so glad they did!"
And then the other thing, I thought you'd have to be able to do everything and you'd have to be able to learn everything. Especially in technology, I feel like the more you know, the more you realise you don't know, and the world just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I realised that you can't be an expert in everything, and it’s ok and totally normal and expected to lean on others who are experts and who are open to helping you learn.
What support did you receive?
I’m really lucky as I have 2 great managers. I have my manager from the grad scheme who has been by my side for the last 2 years and then my current manager who leads the team I have just moved into permanently. It’s pretty incredible to have 2 people championing me and quite often believe in me more than I believe in myself. They have both helped me in 2 distinct areas, one with soft skills and confidence, and the other in technical skills to prepare me to go into my permanent role.
"Especially in technology, I feel like the more you know, the more you realise you don't know, and the world just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
What’s the work life balance like?
I actually took the decision to move closer to one of the campus’ which is based in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. I moved in with one of the other girls who was on the grad scheme, who is now one of my closest friends. We met on the induction – trust me, nothing bonds 2 people more than the 5am bakery shift out in store! Socially, it’s been great for me. There’s a great blend of working from home too, so I can head back to Bristol, see my boyfriend, and catch up with my family.
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