BT’s grad scheme has opened my eyes to a future beyond limits
Applications are now open for BT's 2020 Graduate Programme, with opportunities available in areas such as cyber security, digital experience, finance, networks, software and project management. Here, Marcus Van Sertima, technical delivery professional & continuity manager for BT Group Security, explains how the cyber security graduate scheme has given him fantastic experience, and why it's made him feel so optimistic about the future:
After experiencing university life and having worked tirelessly to secure that all important degree – deciding which path to take next can be difficult.
It certainly was for me. There are so many options available to graduates that it can be hard to choose which will be best for your future career. A number of UK firms offer graduate programmes, and I can honestly say the one I did here at BT offered me some fantastic training and opportunities.
From a young age I have had a passion for technology and a desire for a challenging and exciting career in the industry. After leaving university I realised that a career in cyber security was for me. I wanted to take on a role that not only I would love, but also one that would make a difference in the world and put me at the forefront of technology that people, and businesses rely on every day.
I joined the BT graduate scheme in 2017 after completing a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Essex. As part of my degree I also spent a year on a placement working for BAE Systems, which I really enjoyed. It was largely software engineering which was interesting, but I ideally wanted a role with more breadth.
After completing my studies, it was BT’s graduate scheme that really caught my eye. I wanted to get into cyber security and a lot of the programmes with other companies were quite specific, whereas BT offered lots of variation. This included opportunities to work in cyber space and undertake roles such as software engineering, network engineering and technical consultancy.
I started the programme in September 2017 on a good package and benefits, and based at Adastral Park near Ipswich, which is easily commutable from my home in Chelmsford. The park is BT’s tech hub, where most of our research and development work happens. It’s also home to over 130 different tech companies, so it really is a thriving innovation community.
When I first joined, I was tasked with programming work and then shortly after became solely responsible for designing the network infrastructure for a cyber security platform. Now, two years later and after completing the graduate programme, I’m a graduate/apprentice continuity manager and technical delivery professional responsible for managing nine graduates and five apprentices. The work my team covers includes software engineering, network engineering and technical consultancy. It is fantastic how far the BT graduate scheme has enabled me to come so early on in my career.
I love all areas of computer science and if I had to choose the best part of the programme, it would be the network engineering work that I have done. It was quite a steep learning curve for me, but I had good support from my peers and more senior engineers, who would often leave me to figure stuff out on my own or make mistakes through trial and error. This way of learning has given me so much confidence and I’m grateful for that level of trust.
I’d encourage any grads weighing up their next move to give BT’s scheme serious consideration. There are a lot of opportunities and the training is very broad and even covers areas not specific to your day-to-day job role. On my scheme we also had community days, where all the graduates in my department would be brought together to hear from members of the senior leadership team at BT. There are also networking events that take place with the wider graduate community in BT.
Working at BT has given me so much already and I’m excited about the future. It’s not just about being employed in a tech role, it’s also about getting opportunities to be among the next generation of people managers and future leaders of the organisation.
BT’s 2020 Graduate Programme is now open for applications including roles in security, engineering, research and innovation and finance. To find out more visit here