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Celebrating Home Office Women in Tech - Gaynor's journey

Software Engineer, Gaynor's story

What I do  

My name is Gaynor and I’m a Software Test Engineer working on two projects in the Home Office. My role is to oversee the automation requirements within two projects, part of which involves testing to ensure the Gov.UK websites run successfully. 

My career journey 

My career started some time ago. Before joining the Home Office, I worked as a Personal Assistant for several years. It was during this time that I became interested in a new computer at work and found myself fixing the PC’s I owned. This is when I realised I had caught ‘the bug’, which seems fitting now I’m in ‘testing’.  

I was then put forward for a role by an agency working with the Home Office. I chose to work in the department because I was impressed by the organisation’s core values, found the work rewarding and I felt appreciated. There is also a diverse range of talented people with a wide range of skills and experience who are always willing to help.   

I volunteered to help with on-boarding new joiners and security clearance applications, and found I enjoyed the challenge. I secured the role of Client Security Manager, where I was happy to stay for another few years.   

One day, a colleague told me about a job being advertised for a Rules Engineer and I applied, slightly reluctantly because I didn’t have technical experience. I was delighted then to be called for an interview and subsequently offered the role. I maximised the learning and development opportunities offered by the Home Office and went on to pass foundation and advanced level qualifications in Oracle Policy Automation (OPA).  

Once the Home Office stopped using OPA, I secured a role as a Test Engineer in the Quality, Assurance and Testing (QAT) department. I have been in QAT ever since!  

Impactful work  

I have worked on several projects that I feel have made a real impact. For example, Gov.UK websites and applications that have made a huge difference in people’s lives. One of them, for instance, was set up and turned around in record time, which allowed Ukraine nationals to apply for visas to settle in the UK.  

Moreover, I worked on a project around the Future Borders and Immigration System (FBIS) visa routes. There were routes for applicants including students, skilled workers and  more. I was part of a team of Test Engineers who set up test data, added new code, reviewed, tested, and merged code into the main repository, which now forms part of the live process. 

Benefits of working in the Home Office  

The Home Office offers good salaries and flexible working, which is important for people with younger children or caring responsibilities. I have met colleagues along the way who have been able to agree working patterns to fit in with their personal lives, which is perfect for this modern age.  

The Home Office offers hybrid working, with a minimum of 40% office attendance and the chance to work remotely for the rest of the time. Job share opportunities are also available. Annual leave starts at 25 days per year, increasing by 1 day per year, up to 30 days after 5 years.  

As you can see from my career journey, the opportunities for career progression speak for themselves. I don’t think I would’ve had the chance to get into tech if I hadn’t joined the Home Office. The Home Office also runs several wellbeing initiatives, and there are always new interest groups forming.   

The Home Office is a great place to enhance your skills. It’s also a good place to meet new people, and I’ve always found colleagues to be welcoming and supportive.  

I would encourage women to consider applying for a QAT role in the Home Office. QAT provides assurance that services are being delivered to meet business needs. The department has consistently received Test Maturity Model Integrated (TMMi) awards, which are a worldwide standard for test process improvement. We currently have TMMI5, which is the highest standard.   

The QAT community puts people at the heart of their business and gives their staff the chance to start out or continue their technical journey and learn new skills.

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What's NewFeatured stories and upcoming events with the Digital, Data and Technology Team at the Home OfficeRead our blog about how we are becoming more user-centred in our approach to the design and delivery of our products and services, whilst working alongside other technical professions, to build a complex data-driven product. To learn more about why it is our goal to find ways of embedding diversity and inclusion into our research and design practices, visit our blog page.To learn more about what it's like to work within the Delivery Profession inside the Home Office, visit our blog page. You can find more stories from the team and be the first to hear about upcoming events on our Digital Data and Technology LinkedIn Life and Home Office Careers pages. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You can read about the professions and roles on our careers website. Hear from the teamWatch the videos to hear from Software Engineers, Charlotte and Sulthan within the DDaT Engineering team about the projects their working on and how delivering public services at the Home Office can positively impact millions of lives every day.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Home OfficeThe Home Office is the lead government department for immigration and passports, drugs policy, crime, fire, counter-terrorism and policing every day, our work delivers outcomes for UK citizens, providing them with the means to travel the world, tackling illegal migration and removing foreign national offenders, disrupting terrorist attacks and organised criminal groups, stopping people from becoming victims of crime and supporting those who require asylum and safeguarding.To achieve all this, we rely on talented people with a wide range of skills. This includes digital, data and technology skills, where we are recruiting to our teams based in Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow and Croydon. Learn more about our work and organisation The DDaT Profession Career Framework features over 150 defined roles, grouped into 9 skills clusters – with staff often employed across fast-paced, multi-disciplinary teams: The 9 clusters are: ArchitectureCyber Security Data Engineering IT Operations Product Quality Assurance and TestingTechnology Delivery Management User Centred Design Why join Home Office Digital, Data and Technology?Home Office Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) designs, builds and develops services for the rest of the department and for government. Our role is to enable transformation through improved business efficiency. The DDaT function is made up of around 2,300 staff, augmented by a number of supplier partners. Every year our systems support up to 3 million visa applications, checks on 100 million border crossings, up to 8 million passport applications and delivers 140 million police checks on people, vehicles and property. The scale of our projects is matched only by the opportunities for our people.We are a friendly team who will support and challenge you to contribute. Our culture is inclusive, progressive and values the unique contributions everyone makes. Our tech strategy is also clear: we work in agile product- and user-centred teams, with cloud native and interdisciplinary working as the focus. Digital inclusion, accessibility and forming a technical community across departments are also key. Our main delivery centres are in Manchester Sheffield, Croydon, Glasgow, but we also have offices in Southport, Westminster, Liverpool, west London and north London. The team in Manchester is based in The Soapworks which is within the Media City boundary, 1½ miles from Manchester city centre, 2½ miles away from Manchester Piccadilly station and a 2-minute walk from the Exchange Quay tram stop.We offer a range of benefits for staff, including outstanding pensions schemes and a serious focus on continuous professional development. Learning and DevelopmentWe offer Learning and Development opportunities relevant to your role, which could include: AWS training and certification, Azure training and certification, O’Reilly Books as well as high quality management training, for example.In addition, we offer allocated study leave and support when studying for a relevant qualification or other accredited development. This may include BCS Membership, for example, or study towards a degree or masters qualification. Diversity & Inclusion We are committed to representing modern Britain in all its diversity, creating a welcoming, inclusive workforce where people can bring their whole selves to work. We’re proud to be one of the most ethnically diverse departments in the Civil Service, a Stonewall Top 100 Workplace Equality Employer and a Social Mobility Foundation Top 75 employer. We work to recruit and retain disabled staff and are a Disability Confident Leader. Our benefits Competitive starting salaries for your gradeAn additional allowance of up to £13,700 for candidates with exceptional skills and experienceA Civil Service pension with employer contribution rates of between 26.6% and 30.3%, depending on salary A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity Learning and development tailored to your roleAn environment with flexible working options25 days annual leave on appointment, rising to 30 days after 10 years' service, plus 8 days public holidays and 1 day additional privilege dayWe also offer:Season ticket loans and rental deposit loans Cycle to work and payroll givingEmployee discounts - including a huge number of retailers (via the Edenred platform), Microsoft Home Use programme and gym membership A variety of staff recognition schemes Health and wellbeing initiativesStaff support networksMaternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay, followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaidUp to 5 days paid leave for volunteeringStudy leave and support for studying for a qualification or other accredited development relevant to your roleJoin us and make a difference If you’re looking for a digital career where you can make an impact, using cutting edge tech and have the opportunity to build your CV with projects that will help you stand out from the crowd, see our current available roles on offer. You can also read our blog to learn more about our people and the brilliant work they do and follow us on LinkedIn and X.

Home Office Digital, Data and Technology

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