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Why I joined the DaT Fast Stream program?

Ert Erol, Digital Data and Technology Fast Streamer standing in an office with a blurry background

Next in the series of blogs by current Digital and Technology Fast Streamers, Ert Erol writes about his journey onto the DaT Fast Stream program

My background before DaT

In 2013, I was working for a large media organisation and I was trying to finish my briefing about some high-profile political personalities on social media platforms and thinking “if only there was a way for me to automate some of my manual processing of different tweets and blog entries”. I was, at the same time, doing some work around knowing our audience and how to improve our customer offer.

Coincidentally, I was browsing the Internet for a more challenging role, which combined business development with creativity through the use of technology. I stumbled upon the Fast Stream, and more specifically the Digital and Technology (DaT) Scheme. Frankly speaking, I am not a techie person as I studied political science all my life.

As I read the entry requirements, I was surprised to see that I did not need an IT qualification to apply for DaT! All I needed was to show genuine interest in how technology and digital solutions can achieve better outcomes.  We all have those “Eureka” moments, and this was mine. I decided that the DaT Fast Stream offered what I was looking for.

My first DaT role

Once accepted on to the scheme, I was allocated my first role at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

My role was in service design.  I was part of a new team that looked after DWP IT capabilities (current and in-flight) on how they could be re-used across different programmes in the department.

I worked on flagship digital projects such as Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments, and Carer’s Allowance. This  was in terms of how they fitted the department’s future plans and how we could create a capability that can be used and re-used.

It was a bit like playing Ikea: how to create building blocks that you can use across many different sofas, wardrobes or any other furniture. Only, my wardrobe was our welfare system or my sofa was offering citizens the best possible service digitally so that they will self-serve whenever and wherever they wanted.

Making a positive impact

I now have the chance to make an impact on our society by enabling citizens interact with the government through digital channels primarily and exclusively built on their needs.

And I am learning how to build these new services in a quick, user-need-based method that delivers IT transformation in short periods of time. They call it “Agile”, it’s efficient, empowering, and most of all, fun!

So, in the end, I didn’t automate any social media tracking, but in DWP, I contributed to how the department builds its services so that we can use and re-use certain components, and while doing so, I also learnt the best business intelligence method: know your user and their needs, and build the right thing in the right way.

The Digital and Technology Fast Stream scheme is now open for applications for the 2016 intake. If you want to have an exciting role in government, transforming technology and building better digital services, apply now

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  1. Comment by Jonathan posted on

    Ert, if it makes you feel any better - I'm also in DWP at the moment, and I'm facing exactly that issue - automating social media tracking!

    So if you're really lucky, you'll face that problem before long! 😉

    • Replies to Jonathan>

      Comment by Ert posted on

      That sounds good Jonathan! I have very fond memories of DWP 🙂 would be good to hear more on how it's going on the social media analysis piece...

  2. Comment by Ross posted on

    For social media tracking and alerts etc. try IFTTT (If This Then That). It's awesome for Twitter and more services are getting added all the time.