Starting to think about opportunities as a young professional after university? Michele Dawson from Australia and the UK's Lisa Latham share their experiences of taking on challenging and varied new roles in a leading international digital transformation consultancy, and how the experience and support of their new colleagues has made the experience enjoyable and rewarding and set them on an exciting career path.
Michele Dawson, Project Services
In the months prior to graduating university, I’d spent many hours researching my career options. With a background in law and psychology, I was unsure of the career paths that best suited my skill- set. After speaking with experienced professionals with similar educational backgrounds, who had pursued non-traditional careers, and by attending human-centred design events and workshops that sparked my interest – I decided to explore a career in user research.
Investigating companies that value human-centred roles, like user research, I was offered the chance to work with Informed Solutions, a digital transformation consultancy that works with public and private sector customers in Australia and the UK. The company provided me with an opportunity for an overseas secondment at its UK offices in Manchester, where I work as an interaction designer working with the Informed teams to transform the registration service for a high profile UK-wide public service.
Working with Informed colleagues and clients has helped me realise that no matter how much research and preparation you do for new roles, you can only truly get a feel for whether a job is right for you by learning whilst you do it. The opportunity to work with highly experienced professionals has allowed me to learn quickly and develop my skills and experience to the point where my work can make a real contribution – it’s a real motivator.
Informed Solutions has given me both the training and the opportunities to work in roles related to my interests and take up responsibilities in fields that might not first appear like they’re related to my academic background: In the past six months, I’ve developed skills in HTML, service design, interaction design and user research, where some of the learning and theory from my psychology degree has been especially useful.
I’ve also been encouraged to take part in regular company forums, called Communities of Practice, where teams learn about the fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS), business analysis (BA) and software development among other disciplines.
It has been Informed Solutions’ structured, yet flexible environment that has helped me realise the importance of not limiting oneself to a specific career path based on preconceptions. As a young professional I am encouraged to explore my career opportunities knowing that I’ll be in a better position to choose a career path based on my experiences of what I enjoy doing, what I’m good at, and how I am being helped and supported to develop new skills that will help advance my career.
Lisa Latham, Delivery Management team
On leaving University as an English language and linguistics graduate, I was keen to pursue a career that involved aspects of analysis and writing. After searching popular jobsites for attractive roles I applied for the position of bid coordinator at Informed Solutions, a digital transformation consultancy.
Working as a bid coordinator on major national infrastructure project proposals not only allowed me to take advantage of my passion for writing, but also let me gain a real appreciation for team work and the disciplines required for meeting project milestones. The first few months in the role gave me the chance to work with different project and service teams at Informed Solutions, crafting ideas and developing proposals that have secured new customers for the business – It’s been really rewarding to see the results of a team’s hard working coming to fruition.
Working on the bids gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for all of the roles involved within a project, some of which I never knew existed. Informed gave me the chance to explore a new role in user research where I could use my linguistics and analysis qualification to support the delivery management team’s efforts at Informed.
A quick and successful transition to this new team was helped enormously by the guidance and coaching from highly experienced colleagues. I’ve found a natural aptitude for user research, exploring and understanding the user needs and requirements that help inform business transformation, so that there’s effective collaboration between those designing and developing new solutions and services, and those who will ultimately use them.
I have learnt more in one year at Informed than I ever thought imaginable. The challenging nature of the work has tested me at times, but has given me the self-belief to experiment and try new things knowing that I have the support and guidance of my peers and senior consultants, which allowed me to learn fast and develop.
Now that I have a better understanding of the delivery management team’s role I can still take advantage of my passion for writing by helping the business craft even better bid proposals in the future. The variety of roles and responsibilities is really helping my all-round business understanding, which will stand me in good stead for my career at Informed.