For our latest post, we hear from our friends over at DWP Digital, this time delving into the life of Lead Integration Architect, Dave Kibble. Get into his story below!
A 30-year-long tech career ... and my next challenge
I’ve recently moved into a new role as a Lead Integration Architect, my latest of many roles. My IT career spans 30 years which is something of a realisation. During that time, I’ve been lucky enough to work in some tremendously rewarding roles in enterprises big and small. IT was something of an accident as my career started as an electrical engineer working on refinery systems. I helped with the ‘computerisation’ of one such system, my boss told me “Hey you are quite good at this” and hey presto a career was born!
Fast forward 30 years and I found myself asking “What is the next big work adventure?”, I had already done a big commercial enterprise SOA transformation, and I’d done a very small development company cloud transformation, so what next? I knew I wanted to do something valuable – not just commercially, but ethically that helped real people.
So it was with interest that I read through the LinkedIn job advert for the Lead Integration Architect role at DWP Digital. Here was a massive organisation working for the benefit of real people in the UK and going through a genuine digital transformation from legacy to cloud. It seemed to tick all the boxes, but would I fit in?
Joining the team
The application process saw me contacting Jacqui Leggetter, who is now my boss, and other senior members of the DWP Digital team. Straight away something struck me about how genuine these people seemed. That sounds cheesy, but it is the only way I can describe the feeling. There was no bravado, ego or sense that you were going to be a small cog in a large machine. They made me feel at ease and seemed truly interested in my ideas and experience. Quite a departure from my previous experience of job application processes!
Having been successful in the application process, the first day rolled around. Even with all those years behind me, the butterflies were still there. New people, new faces, all those names to remember! I have an awful memory for names so tried to remember all my previous mental tactics to keep track of who’s who!
The working model is hybrid with 40% of our time in the office, so on my first day there were people around and again that sense of openness and honesty came alive. As I started to get to know my teammates, the depth of knowledge was striking, the complexity of what was being done was daunting, yet the support from Jacqui and the team was astonishing. Never have I felt so immediately comfortable and able to express my ideas, it’s really remarkable.
There is a terrific focus on well-being and unlike some other organisations, it’s not just words. We are all encouraged to use the fantastic flexible working which applies across the digital organisation. It enables us to work flexibly and also to build up time and take it later if we want an ad-hoc day without using leave. We can build up to 3 days a month which is fantastic and it’s so good to not feel uncomfortable about using it. Other great things here include lots of well-being focus groups, time out for mental health, time for doctors’ appointments if needed and a great discount scheme on all sorts of things from electrical goods to hotels and travel.
So, 3 months on I’m leading a great team of architects doing some fantastic work. Integrating the various systems around DWP and across the UK government using cutting-edge technology such as large-scale adoption of APIs, event-driven processing, containerised platforms, infrastructure as code and much more. Most of the new systems are cloud-based which brings with it integration challenges and always a tremendous focus on security. There is a lot to do and the journey to the digital vision will take some time. But that vision is clear and what is also clear is the positive impact we are having on real people. It’s a great feeling and a terrific organisation to be part of.