I'm Joining the Cabinet Office
It is with mixed emotions that I'm announcing that after a wonderful five years at Capital One, I'm leaving the Private Sector to join the Cabinet Office!
I'll be working as a Tech Lead in the Data Standards Authority (DSA) under the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), which is part of the Cabinet Office, and has been fairly recently spun out of the Government Digital Service (GDS).
I'm finding this a difficult post to write because I've had a really good time at Capital One and I'm leaving a lot of really great people behind, but after being here for just over five years (at the time I leave), it's the right time to move, and I'm really excited for this next step. Five years is a good milestone to have reached before moving on to my next step.
Although I've not been actively looking for jobs, as a friend of mine had been looking, I'd been keeping an eye out for anything interesting. When I saw this job posted by the wonderful Terence Eden in May, I was very intrigued. The role looked interesting, improving the ways that interconnected systems in the Government work, making developers' lives easier to integrate, building on standardisation and looking at how the Government can make sure that data is handled ethically.
With the overarching GDS Roadmap and the great things they are trying to do, getting involved in CDDO at this time was a really interesting opportunity I didn't want to miss.
Looking at this role made me reconsider what I wanted out of where I am currently, and what I wanted to progress next. Having a chance to be part of the team working with different agencies and departments to try and help build a more coherent set of Government APIs is really up my alley, and looking more at the developer experience appeals to me, especially after recently working on a number of shared libraries and tooling for improving developers' ease of delivery.
With a lot of friends who currently work for the Government, especially Anna's firsthand experience, I've got a good insight into what it's like and I'm excited to get involved that can impact so many lives.
I'm also looking forward to being able to do some more work in the open - I'm looking forward to being able to build solutions that are Open Sourced on AlphaGov, and to be able to contribute to a lot of other projects out there which the Government relies on. I'm also excited to be blogging officially on the Gov.UK tech blog, which is very cool - for those who aren't aware I'm very into blogging!
I'm looking forward to being more hands on - with a new tech stack to play around with, and a bit more out of my comfort zone than I have been the last couple of years - although I'm sure I'll regret saying that!
It's been a longer process than I'd expected (due to the background checks required for security clearance), but it's definitely been worth it - although trying to keep this secret has been very difficult! That being said, I've enjoyed hearing rumors about me moving - even before any of my colleagues were aware I was actually leaving 😅
Something I really liked about the process is that if you fulfill the requirements, but don't get offered the role - in my case, I was second choice - your application gets put on the system and you can be offered anything at that level, without interviewing again, for 12 months. Although I ended up being offered the job as the first choice declined the role, it was really nice to know that one interview could lead me to a lot of roles to choose from down the line. This definitely took a bit of the sting out of the fact that I wasn't as highly scoring as the first choice candidate, but was also nice that of the first interview I've done in 5 years for a new job, I managed to ace it on the first try!
It's going to be tough to leave Capital One, and I know I've not yet done everything I could have done, but I'm excited for the next steps in my career. Having only been at Capital One, I wanted to make sure that I'd experienced other roles, and seeing what other engineering practices, cultures and scaling problems were available - although I've had some comments about whether Government is a particularly different change of pace compared to a large Enterprise 😂
In my time at Capital One, I've worked on building a couple of platforms fresh on the Cloud, I've worked on improving developer experience with build/test/deploy pipelines, a fair bit of time improving the way that production systems are supported, reading through a lot of technical specifications (like OAuth2, OpenID Connect, Open Banking, and HTTP Signatures to name the big ones), and doing a lot of refinement and planning! I've worked in a large Enterprise with regulatory, internal audit and security requirements, and standardisation requirements.
I'm really happy with the range of projects, products and teams I've worked on, and wouldn't have changed the journey at all.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's taught me something new, colleagues who've been wonderful to work with, those who've challenged my assumptions and made me think better about the ways in which I communicate and share knowledge, those who've dealt with my heavy handed recommendations to read things on my blog - and all the opportunities I've had to write blog posts after learning new things, and in particular to Shama, James, Chris, and Jack, who've made a huge difference to the way I solve problems, communicate, and have grown as an engineer and a person.
I'll be sad to leave the Purple Pandas, and very sad to be losing Shama as a manager, but I'm looking forward to my next step.
You've all made the last few years really great - I hope to keep in touch, and work with many of you in the future again!
My last day will be the 12th October, and my first day will be the 18th October.