Sam Grill: working in Government

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For Sam Grill, working in government technology has given him the opportunity to join a department that is passionate about innovation, learning and development. An ambitious Spartan who wants to continue to adapt and improve his technical knowledge with Sparta Global, Sam has thrived in his assignment at The Home Office – joining a testing team that is making a real business impact. 

 

How did Sparta Global help you enter the technology industry?

I came across Sparta Global when I met and spoke to a member of their talent team at a careers evening with Queen Mary’s University, London. I was about to complete a Postgraduate degree in Theoretical Physics, a period of study that followed my Undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Southampton.

After finding out about Sparta Global, I joined their Richmond Academy in September 2018 and began studying on the Technical (Java SDET) stream. By December I had completed my training and was on my way!   

    

What did you enjoy most about training at our Academy?

It was great to meet and train alongside people who were in a similar boat - fresh out of University and with little-to-no industry experience. Working together to learn and get up to industry level - while being in an environment where you can share ideas and learn from the trainers - is really good.

I also really enjoyed the fast-paced and intensive learning environment – particularly how much quality content we were able to cover in such a short amount of time.

 

Which Sparta Global client were you assigned to when you graduated from our Academy?

I was assigned to the Home Office and started working there in January 2019 – very soon after the end of my training. I am a Test engineer (functional / integration testing in the pre-production team) and my day-to-day job covers a lot of ground. I can be automating existing regression tests for in pre-production (i.e production mimicking) environments or writing new tests to cover functionality introduced to applications. However, my main test responsibilities include testing the quality of search results based on different criteria (API and UI testing) and database testing for information management.

 

Can you see the impact your work is having at the Home Office?

Yes – and it’s great to have the opportunity to see this in the workplace! Working with the Home Office team, I can see how automation has improved the speed at which we can declare releases to production and how the testing team as a whole is continuing to improve the quality and stability of existing test code.

 

We can certainly see the impact of your hard work and recently named you one of our first Sparta Global Champions. How does it feel to be asked to mentor other Spartans?

I feel extremely privileged to have been named a Champion for the Home Office, particularly as there are other remarkable Spartans on-site doing some amazing things! However, I’ve been working with The Home Office for close to a year now and I look forward to sharing my experiences of onboarding, getting settled and finding a good work-life balance.

I want to make the transition from Academy life to on-site life as smooth as possible for Spartans and intend to create a Spartan 'community' atmosphere on-site that all new Spartans are aware of and feel comfortable using to reach out to with any questions. I also want there to be a thriving social aspect to help onsite Spartans wind down and relax!

 

What do you enjoy most about working in technology?

Writing code is fun! There’s no one way to do things and it’s a real challenge to write robust, reliable code. Constant change can be difficult to manage but it also teaches you to be adaptable, learn fast and ultimately gives you a greater breadth of knowledge. All these things make you a more well-rounded person in tech.

 

Do you enjoy your work at the Home Office?

I’ve been part of a team at The Home Office that has drastically improved productivity for our end-user. It’s very rewarding to build something or write something that you can see having a real-life impact, but there are plenty of other reasons why I also enjoy working in the Government department:

- Exposure to cutting edge technology: The Home Office uses AWS infrastructure, so I have had the opportunity to learn some of the basics of cloud-based servers and how to read and write to Amazon S3 services.

- Learning new things: I've had experience using all kinds of new tools.

- Constant feedback from the business on how much they are utilising the new applications I am working on.

 

Why would you encourage other young people to consider a career in the public sector?

The Home Office is working incredibly hard to provide the best opportunities for learning and development. It wants to become a tech a leader and this makes it a great environment for ambitious young people.

They're an organisation interested in your personal health and well-being too. In addition to career opportunities, they offer flexible working hours and the option to work from home so you can maintain a good work-life balance.