Climbing the Tech Career Ladder at BT

Apr 23, 2024
hackajob Staff
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Ever wondered what it's like to climb the tech career ladder at a global tech-co giant like BT? Want to make a real impact in tech? Dive into an exciting chat with Natalie Hollywood, BT's Security Assurance Specialist. From her humble beginnings as an IT grad to her current role in the thrilling world of security, Natalie's had quite the journey with BT over the past nine years! She's juggled a variety of roles, balanced career and motherhood, and is now making waves in cyber security. Dive in!



Natalie Hollywood, Security Assurance Specialist


Can you tell us how you joined BT and your journey with the business so far?

About nine years ago, I joined BT as an IT graduate with a software engineering degree. The BT graduate scheme caught my attention because it offered a competitive salary in Belfast and allowed graduates to rotate roles to experience different areas of the business.

I started in the Managed Services team, specifically in the Tools & Configuration team. For two years, I configured customer monitoring and managed our ticketing system. Afterwards, I transitioned to a people manager role, overseeing the Belfast service desk for two and a half years. Next, I successfully applied for a Senior Incident & Assurance Manager role dedicated to a large retail client. I remained in this position for four years before moving to my current team, Security Assurance, as a Security Assurance Specialist.

What is your current role and how did you secure it without prior direct experience and whilst on maternity leave?

I currently work as a Security Assurance Specialist. My security interest encouraged me to keep in touch with my colleagues during my maternity leave, and when I learned about this job opening, I jumped at the chance. I might not have had any specific security accreditations, but I had spent years working in Managed Services, a sector heavily focused on security. Plus, I had technical and ITIL certifications to my name. 

Combining this with my transferable soft skills and a proactive approach to skill development, I applied for the role six months into my maternity leave. I informed the hiring manager about my maternity leave and my expected return to work date. They were understanding, and after a successful interview, they held the role for me until I returned, nine months after the birth of my son. They even facilitated a phased return to work, which was crucial for me as a mother with two children under three.

Can you tell us more about what a typical week or month looks like in your role?

In my role, I handle Security Assurance and Vulnerability Management for multiple clients. Monthly, I prepare personalized reports giving a detailed review of each client's security status. On the vulnerability front, I manage assessment, prioritisation, patch management, stakeholder communication, risk analysis, and vulnerability tracking. Most of my day-to-day tasks are all about Governance, Risk, and Compliance activities. 

And here's the fun part – because every customer contract is unique, there's always something different on my plate every day. It definitely keeps things exciting in my job!

What kind of impact do you get to make on customers or wider communities? What do you think is unique about the opportunity/impact of working at BT in your field?

Working in security assurance positively impacts our customers. We ensure their data is secure, their privacy is respected, and their organisation complies with regulatory standards. We play a crucial role in maintaining customer trust and confidence by ensuring the integrity of customer data. This isn't just for one sector - we're talking about finance, banking, healthcare, manufacturing - you name it.

Working for BT, a multinational telecommunications company with a significant global presence, exposes me to numerous resources, technologies, and training opportunities. With industry experts and advanced technology at our disposal, we can offer the best to our customers and make a meaningful impact in combating cybercrime.

What cybersecurity qualifications are you working towards at the moment? And how does BT support you with this?

I'm currently working towards MoR (Management of Risk) and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) qualifications. BT supports me by providing access to relevant resources, courses, and workshops, both in-house and from external providers. We are continuously encouraged to anticipate our training needs for budget allocation.

Last year, BT funded three of my certifications, including professional fees.  It's clear that they value a culture of continuous learning and they're supportive of me taking part in training activities.

Can you tell us more about your career progression at BT and how you feel valued at work?

I've been with BT for over nine years, and I've had the chance to wear a lot of hats, from management to technical positions. The variety of roles keeps my work exciting. The best part? BT doesn't box us in. They let us try different things and see what fits.

At BT, you’re made feel like you matter – they listen to what you have to say, they're always giving you feedback, and they're not shy about showing appreciation. They've got multiple programs to recognise our hard work.

Want to join BT?

If you’d like to join the team at BT, then create a profile on the hackajob platform, where they’re currently hiring for a variety of roles or log in to your profile here. Follow what they are up to on their hackajob profile.

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