Engineer engineering

Experiences as a Siemens IT graduate

Siemens IT graduate –  my career experiences so far…

On October 1st 2014 I embarked on the first step into my career in IT. After completing four years at the University of Lincoln and gaining a Masters degree I was lucky enough to be offered a place on Siemens IT Graduate Scheme. Congleton is the only Siemens site in the UK not to have an Atos controlled service desk. IT support is done internally by the IT team. Therefore, I am the only specific IT Graduate in the whole of Siemens UK. Little did I know the exposure to various IT systems that I would get within a month of starting!

The feeling of knowing that you have a position waiting for you does spur you on through the last few months of study. It also dawned on me then that I would be officially moving out of the family home and relocating to South Manchester. A few weeks of flat hunting and acquiring furniture wasn’t so bad.

The contracts finally came around mid June. It was becoming so much more real! I’d secured my flat and bought a bed so in my mind this was what ‘growing up’ was all about.

Then the day arrived that I was due to start work. It has to go down as one of the most nerve-racking days of my life. I remember walking into reception and the feeling of relief and drive came over me. The lady on reception already knew who I was – which I did find quite odd, and my ID badge was there waiting for me.

The first month went by so quickly. IT had had an office refit with posh new electronic desks and I’d begun to get to know people across the whole site and manufacturing areas.

My first main task was to do a massive data collection exercise to gather every item of software that was used across the Congleton site. The plan was to create a Service Catalogue of all the systems on site which IT didn’t currently have. Support, usage and a criticality level were all collected during this project. This ranged from Web Apps, Server Apps and Installed items. I also learnt a great deal more about the factory floor systems. All these systems have been developed internally over the years. Some are approaching 18 years old!

Not only did this project give me exposure to the site and its systems, it also allowed me to meet people. I visited every department and spoke to a few from each to collect the information that was needed.

As a part of the Graduate Programme, there are modules of work to be completed. We had an Orientation event at the end of October and then these modules kicked off in January. Each Graduate had to select dates for each of the 5 core modules – Project Management, Business Influencing, Customer Communications, Team Building and Career Planning.

These involved training courses which were set over a few days at other Siemens sites across the country. These modules are intended for us to understand the company and develop ourselves as young professionals. It was suggested that we kept a log book of these activities as well as reviewing each module with our line manager. I found the reviews really helpful as it enabled me to outline areas that I should work on in my day-to-day working.

It is now approaching 9 months since I started as a Siemens IT graduate in Congleton. I have completed one 6 month placement in Demand Management relating to applications and I am now working on the software roll-out of a specific data analytics software package with the Business Intelligence team. I have completed several items of work along the way: from becoming proficient in SharePoint development, using my previous knowledge of Agile to set up Sprint boards in the department and rolling out several items of software across site to improve communications.

I have almost completed a site wide cost saving exercise in fixed line telephony which has saved the site as a whole over £42,000 per year and I am due to start more cost saving initiatives in the coming months.

Even though I am very young in terms of career, I have achieved a lot since I have been here. I have also learnt that if you strive to develop yourself and search for opportunities that you will be looked after.

I’m part of the Strategy team promoting and ensuring our sustainability. I’m engaged in numerous school based activities promoting STEM subjects to Primary and soon in Secondary Schools. I’ve attended careers fairs across the country and even been back to my old University as a Siemens representative. It’s definitely been a great start to my Siemens journey.

So what’s next for me? I finish the first year of the graduate scheme in August, so I then have one year left. I am due to spend 4 months in Germany at a sister site early next year as well as participate and lead in a few new software projects in the various IT teams. 2016 is set to be an interesting year for me that’s for sure!

Zoe Redfern is an IT Graduate at the Siemens Digital Factory, Congleton, Cheshire.

Other posts in our women in tech week include:

Geeks do drink prosecco by Liz Fletcher
Network filter bypass solutions by Rhosyn Celyn
Network Automation by Leslie Parr
IX model defended by Valeria Rossi
Board level veteran sees progress by Lesley Hansen
Rural broadband solutions by Chris Conder

broadband End User Net social networking video

Broadband – A Student Perspective on an Essential Service

Broadband is a key service students need to navigate their time at university guest contributor Zoe Redfern recently completed a Masters in Computer Information Systems at the University of Lincoln and will relocate to Cheshire in the coming months to begin a graduate job with Siemens.

Having completed my Master’s Degree at the University of Lincoln not long ago, I am quite qualified to comment on the four years I had to put up with ‘Student Broadband Packages’.

At the time I moved into Courts (the on-campus accommodation) only an Ethernet connection was supplied, one to each bedroom. WiFI was installed soon after, though.  From that point students could actually connect their laptops to the Internet from their flat’s kitchen and living areas. This WiFi was great in the flat I inhabited at Courts during my first year. Although I was in the room furthest away from the wall mounted router I could still connect to it without any issues.

By the time I moved out of Courts the issue of Internet was very close to the top of my list, so I moved into an accommodation block that provided Internet as standard. The service started off at 8Mbps connection and went up by 2Mbps’s each of my three years there, and it suited me down to the ground. It was one less thing to worry about, and with me studying for an IT degree any problems would have fallen on me to sort out.  That, and chasing others for payments was something that I would have found to be really annoying.

To be honest, the Internet connection at my second accommodation — supplied by a company called Ask4 — was really good (and no websites were blocked by the Ask4 service, unlike the BT Broadband service I used whenever I went home) I was so pleased with the service, in fact, that I did on-site promotions for the company for two years after the landlord put my name forward. I was irritated and puzzled, though, that even though we had a standard connection we could pay extra to upgrade. For instance, we could spend £80 for the year to have a 30MB connection in one room only. My boyfriend was paying just a little more than that for a 100MB connection in his student house…a connection that that would’ve cost roughly £400 in my flat!

In the end, I paid for the 30MB connection for two years, using the money I earnt from Ask4 to do so (in essence, a win-win situation). I stuck with the flat rate this last year, though, and I must admit that other than it being a little bit slower for downloads it was just fine! And I honestly cannot say that I encountered any problems with the Ask4 Internet packages, etc., though it did become a bit tedious when the company would schedule maintenance to occur close to deadlines and throughout the night (times when most students were probably pulling an all-nighter).

I would say I used the Internet primarily for work during my last year (with the odd bit of procrastination here and there), and to keep in contact with family and friends as well. I also like to game when I have the chance, download TV shows and music, and stream football and other sports. Also, I found that I was using the Internet more to keep in contact with friends outside of Uni, too, as well as to arrange things with Uni friends. And I used Social Media to both keep in touch with people and to contact companies about graduate positions. Thus, with the Internet fulfilling so much of my contact needs, I discovered that even though I get unlimited texts each month on my phone contract, I was no longer sending as many texts as I once did!

Finally, the Internet connectivity around the University campus was always great! I used to take my laptop to the library to do work, making use of the Uni WiFi each time with no problem, and the speeds were more than sufficient for what I needed and wanted to do on the Internet.