My first year at Heywood has been incredibly varied. I spent my first few months working with the Operations Director on a number of projects before settling in my current role in the Migration Team, where I have been for six months. Here’s a selection of the roles I have undertaken…
- Building up a working knowledge of the heywood product altair
- Learning the AXISe to altair conversion process (old product to new product)
- Development of budget tracking tools to montior the altair migration process
- Project-managing aspects of the QAT process for altair release
- Leading work on SQL Server to Oracle migrations (the underlying databases of altair)
- Managing Data Protection issues in the Public Sector unit
- Leading work on Disaster Recovery testing
- Delivering internal training and external training courses
- Studying for PMI exams
So after all that, a day is never really ‘typical’ but this is a snapshot of what a day might look like:
A day in the life of an implementation consultant
09.00-09.15 Check emails and review tasks for the day
With lots of projects on the go at the same time, I find it useful to recap what’s going on at the beginning of the day. This keeps me organised and helps me make sure all my deadlines are met.
09.15-11.00 Prepare for client visit (training course)
Part of my role in the migration team has evolved to include visiting clients before they are due to go live on their new altair system and to train them how to use it. This is both something I enjoy, and useful to me in my job as I find out more about how different clients use the system, and requirements they might have in the future. In any business it’s important to ‘understand’ your client base and this is a great way to get to know the users.
11.00-12.45 Work on upcoming database migration
The product altair currently uses one of two database platforms. The company is moving to only support one of these, and I am working on completing the database migrations for the clients that use the ‘old’ one. I found this a bit of a challenge to start with, as, although my background is in Maths and I would consider myself a ‘technical’ person, I had little experience with the tools that I was going to need. On the consultancy side, I have been testing the migration technique (developed by Heywood) on our internal accounts, and have progressed to on-site test and live migrations. I have also produced documentation about the procedure. This has turned into large project and it’s exciting to be involved throughout the planning and implementation stages. It’s also an example of how Heywood is willing to challenge it’s employees whilst providing the support needed to succeed.
The heywood offices are in a nice town with a variety of shops so I usually pop out for a walk or go to the gym. Friday’s are pub lunch day with a group of colleagues in the excellent pub across the road.
13.45-15.00 Produce plan for Data Protection
As for any business that has the need to deal with sensitive client data, Data Protection is a high priority at Heywood. We have to ensure that, where it is essential that we use genuine client data, it is held securely and in line with Data Protection requirements. Everyone in the company shares this responsibility, but I have been particularly involved with directing actions within the team that I work. This is an interesting project as it requires me to meet with people from around the company that I wouldn’t otherwise work with, and develop procedures together.
15.00-17.30 Software testing
Pensions is a constantly changing marketplace, and altair is a relatively new and evolving product. As such new releases of altair are delivered periodically to heywood clients. With each new release comes the requirement for thorough testing to ensure high quality and client satisfaction. Consultant testing comes towards the end of the development and testing process, and is particularly important to ensure correct functionality before delivery to clients. This is good chance to see and use new developments in the product, and to contribute to discussions on possible improvements.
Working at Heywood
I took a slightly roundabout route to my position at Heywood…
I completed a Masters degree in Maths at Oxford followed by two years of teaching secondary school Maths (including one as Head of GCSE Maths) as part of Teach First. Various other roles I have done include working at the Financial Services Authority, an actuarial firm, and studying Business at the Tanaka Business School, London. I’m also currently creating and marketing an educational website.
After deciding that I wanted a career change, I was looking for a demanding and varied role that would keep me interested and develop my skills. I wanted the chance to study further qualifications, work with intelligent people and feel that my career was important to the organisation I chose to work for.
I have found that Heywood offers all of these things. It’s a medium-sized firm of around 100 employees which offers the flexibility of different job roles, but small enough to feel that your work is important and gets recognised. The opportunities are there for you to direct your career as you want – for example, my teaching background has led me into client training.
On beginning work at Heywood, I was assigned a mentor – a direct point of contact for all those questions that come up when you’re new to a company. In fact, my mentor has been a continuous point of contact even after those first months. I also had monthly appraisals (now six-monthly) designed to give me positive feedback on my progress and set goals to achieve.
I have enjoyed my first year at Heywood, learned a lot and feel that my career is progressing well.