Starting as a functional tester on safety critical projects in an industrial placement, James enjoys to work more agile on his projects at Sogeti UK.
Describe yourself with 3 words?
Keen, excitable, sociable
Tell us a little bit about your background?
Originally from South Wales (with a laughably undetectable Welsh accent), I studied Computer Science at the University of Bath. I started my career with an industrial placement between my 2nd and 3rd years, working as a functional tester on a safety critical project for another company. I returned to this role after university, rotating through other roles in software development, test automation and infrastructure. I joined Sogeti after 3 ½ years in these roles, ready for a new challenge (specifically something not waterfall)!
What's your career been like so far at Sogeti?
I have been working at Sogeti a little over a year, working for some great clients and on a number of internal projects/bids. These roles have varied, starting off in testing, and then transitioning to a DevOps role. Working in DevOps, I started off as an engineer working with Docker, Kubernetes and Jenkins on a daily basis; more recently taking on more responsibility as team lead and scrum-master.
What are you most passionate about within your area of expertise?
Having come from a strict safety-critical waterfall background, working with Agile methodologies (DevOps specifically) has been a breath of fresh air. Some of the fundamental tenets of Agile & DevOps (visibility of work, continuous improvement, The Three Ways) align with my views on how work should be done, and how we can always do things better. Specifically I enjoy the cultural and process aspects of the work, as these facets are often overlooked by technologists, despite the business context technology inevitably exists in.
What does a regular day at work look like?
08:30-09:15 Arrive at work, grab coffee (Shower & eat breakfast on the 2-3 days a week I cycle in).
09:45 Lead team stand-up, ensuring that work on the board is representative, any blockers are identified and everyone is productive/has things to do.
10:00-12:30 Varied engineer/scrum master work – This can be anything from debugging our Jenkins pipelines and Kubernetes deployments to working on our backlog, ensuring there is work on our backlog, work is estimated and broken down appropriately, and liaising with external stakeholders adding to/prioritizing existing work in the backlog. I like to work using the Pomodoro technique (splitting time into 25 minute chunks), so try to get 2-3 uninterrupted Pomodoro’s in during this time when everyone’s still a bit sluggish!
12:30 Lunch – I like to bring my own lunch in, but I frequently succumb to attending Boxpark (I am weak to Katsu curry).
13:20 More coffee
13:30-17:15 More engineering/scrum-mastering. More Pomodoros! Everyone is a bit more talkative post-lunch, so I’m lucky if I get another 3-4 in!
1715-1730: Reflecting on/recording the day’s work and compiling a to-do list for the next day in my trusty notebook.
1730-1815: Home time! I typically stick around a bit later if I’m cycling home or if I’m playing badminton that evening.
Why do you work for Sogeti?
I really enjoy the small-company vibe that Sogeti has. Our head office only has ~40 employees present most of the time, so you get to know many of these people well, employees from engineers up to Vice Presidents and the UK CEO are all working in the same area. When I first joined the company I ended up sitting on a hot-desk with two Solution Directors and a Delivery Director, chatting, working (and sharing biscuits) with these guys day-to-day for a few weeks - one of these is now my people manager! Balanced against the small company feel, Sogeti is still part of the Capgemini Group, giving access to an extended network of employees and expertise. There are a large number of Capgemini employees on my current project, but there is no Sogeti/Cap distinction. My only complaint is my sister also works for Capgemini – so she’s able to harass me in work via the corporate IM system!
Name: James Dowdall
Title: Test Automation Engineer
Family: 1 sister
Hobbies: Badminton, skiing, cycling, board games