Oracle Applications Consultant, Capgemini
Economics, University of Surrey
What made you choose this role with this organisation?
I chose to apply to Capgemini because it has a great reputation as a top SI consultancy and felt that it would give me the opportunity to build up both my technical and business skills on the graduate programme. As well as this, I was interested in Capgemini because it has a good reputation for marrying the development of your career with a healthy work-life balance and an active and supportive graduate community.
I chose to do this role because I was interested in middleware and analytics and wanted to also get more exposure to the underlying ERP systems – so that I had a rounded understanding of SI projects rather than purely from a BI and Analytics perspective. Prior to this role I worked for nearly fourteen months as an IBM Cognos BI analyst in-house which was a really good way to bring myself up to speed on technology, particularly given that I did a non-technical degree at university.
I was interested in working on Oracle products because of the diversity of product offerings and Oracle’s internationally stellar reputation as an IT vendor.
What is it like being a graduate within the Oracle sector?
Exciting! The pace of innovation is great to be involved in and with Oracle’s ever increasing portfolio of products there is ample opportunity to develop and extend your skill set. The rate of development and innovation in the technology sector is what initially attracted me to IT.
I’ve been particularly interested in following Oracle’s acquisition of Endeca and seeing how it has positioned OEID with the rest of the OBI stack as well as seeing how it is being applied to other areas, such as E-Business Suite, to really improve analytical and operational processes through ease of use and visualisation.
Another tool I have been interested to follow is Oracle has introduced Visual Analyzer into its BI Cloud product set – in the short time I have been working on Oracle products it is so exciting to see the pace at which Oracle has kept up with BI developments and positioned itself into a more competitive role in the Visualisation side of analytics, competing with the likes of Qlik and Tableau and not just the traditional BI vendors.
As well as the innovative environment in IT in general, it has been really exciting and interesting from the graduate program that I have been on. So far I have been involved in two client engagements and one internal assignment and each one has been delivering something innovative and different to the last and that has helped me pick up a variety of skills and an appreciation of how projects are managed.
Is the job what you thought it would be?
It’s hard to say so soon into the job but yes, so far it has been like I hoped it would be. The roles and projects vary a lot and there’s plenty of opportunity to get experience in areas and as long as you’re prepared to drive, and take ownership of, your career and development the opportunities are fantastic.
Along with building up your technical skills on the job the graduate programme helps you develop your soft and business skill set with several highly impactful communications courses which have been really helpful from a career development perspective.
The programme that I have been on so far has definitely helped me form a rounded skill set which will set me up well for wherever my career goes. As well as this you are encouraged to get involved in CR&S initiatives and opportunities to help with the development of your Delivery Unit.
Having been in your first job for a while, what have you learnt or benefitted from that you would like to pass on to others looking for a similar job/career?
I think one of the key things I have learnt in this role is the importance of commitment and flexibility.
If you commit to a deliverable it’s important to take a real ownership of this to make sure it’s delivered on time and to an acceptable standard. It’s easy to be side tracked by other tasks and commitments and part of taking ownership and responsibility of your commitments is prioritisation and communication.
Ultimately your work is your responsibility and you need to prioritise what deliverables you need to meet and by when. You also need to communicate to your team if you need help or advice, or if you need to re-structure how you address any of your commitments.
Flexibility is also key in this role. Part of taking ownership of your responsibilities is accepting and being willing to rise to the challenge in busy periods. Project work can be volatile and you will have weeks where you work flat out to meet a deliverable and weeks where your workload is much lower – and it’s important to be able strike a good work-life balance when your commitments are lower after a busy period.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would do differently?
Not necessarily, although the job has some relatively technical aspects and concepts I am still glad that I did a business oriented degree as I think it is important to take on the technical understanding and be able to put it into a business and end user context; in many ways it makes it easier to collaborate with clients and end users to get a better understanding of their reporting requirements.
I think a lot of graduates are put off of applying to positions in IT if they have not done a Computer Science or Engineering degree which is unfortunate because it’s definitely not the case.
How did you prepare for your job hunting?
Research, research, and more research. A friend once said to me that people don’t just hire you because you can do the job, but because you’re someone who can do the job and they would be happy to work with. This is particularly important at Capgemini because if you’re on a client site you’re likely to be staying in the same hotel as some of your team and spending a lot of time with them.
It’s very important to have a good foundational understanding of what the role is, how projects work and what the SDLC is, what the team you’re applying to delivers, as well as developments in the industry and where you would fit in. However, in my mind, it’s just as important to research the company culture, company history and lifestyle as you need to be happy in what you’re doing to be successful.
In your opinion, what could undergraduates be doing to better prepare themselves for IT roles?
Take an active interest in industry developments, if you’re really interested in and passionate about technology then this shouldn’t be taxing. Keep up to date with reports from sites like Gartner and CIO, keep up with the news and be aware of trends and acquisitions in the industry.
As well as this following market news on sites like the Financial Times and The Economist is good because it gives you an insight into the commercial fluctuations and developments in the industry as well as product and vendor developments.
And most importantly, don’t be afraid to reach out to your peer network for guidance. If you know someone in the IT industry already they may be able to give you a point of view on a topic you’ve read in the news which you haven’t already considered and this will help you to gather a holistic view of events and developments rather than a purely fact based view.
What advice would you give to graduate job seekers?
Be honest with yourself and be patient. It is tough to get a job as a graduate but don’t feel like you need to take a job just because you have been offered one, or just for the money. Make sure you’re genuinely passionate about the role you want to do and that the company you are applying to is one where you can see yourself progressing and, most importantly, being happy.
I think graduates often see their careers on a micro scale when they graduate, but it’s important to take a step back and realise that you will be working for the next forty or so years so it’s important to do something you’re passionate about.
If you’re looking at the consulting side of IT then take a think about and evaluate whether it’s something you can commit to long term, as it’s important to strike a good work-life balance and if you don’t get your priorities in order the travelling can be difficult and you run the risk of burning out pretty quickly.
However, if you embrace travel, want to meet new people, like to push yourself and want to work in a challenging and innovative environment then you’ll be a good fit to the industry.
What is your career plan?
That’s a tough question! Having been introduced to the industry over my first year you realise the enormous breadth of opportunities available to you – particularly at a consultancy as diverse as Capgemini.
As well as my usual responsibilities and client activities I’ve enjoyed getting involved with bid work when I’ve had the opportunity and likewise sitting in on solutions and data architecture workshops on my projects has been really interesting too, so in many ways it’s a case of watching this space.
This is where working at a consultancy, in my opinion, adds a lot of value because you get the opportunity to focus on developing more than just your technical skills and get a better view of the IT industry as a whole.
Capgemini has been a great place to start my career because they give you the opportunity to drive your own development, and if you want exposure to other areas of the business it’s entirely possible. Recently the graduate community has kicked off an optional rotations element to the programme which is great because if you want to try something new then you can try it for a few months rather than having to commit to a complete role change.
For the immediate future I want to continue to work towards becoming OBIEE certified and also start to complement this skillset with other areas of the Oracle BI space as well as getting a better understanding of underlying ERP systems and wider aspects of Project Lifecycles.
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