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How the Digital and Technology Fast Stream has accelerated my career

Applications for the Digital and Technology (DaT) Fast Stream are open until 30 November 2016. Rachael Harvey, 2nd year DaT fast streamer tells how the Fast Stream has accelerated her career progression.

Rachael Harvey, Digital, Data and Technology Fast Streamer, smiling and talking to a colleague

The Fast Stream has provided me with opportunities to develop new skills, gain experience in my chosen field, and take ownership of projects. Each posting has been radically different in terms of the working environments, teams, and my responsibilities; but each have been equally valuable in terms of preparing me for my future career progression in the Civil Service.

My Fast Stream so far

During my first first year I worked as a Business Analyst for both postings, initially at High Speed Two, part of Department for Transport and then the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Despite sharing a job title, the roles themselves were very different.

My High Speed Two posting gave me my first experience of working in government and helped me to develop my own style when it comes to stakeholder management - something I was keen to work on as an introvert! I worked with teams from across the business to help them understand and document their user needs and system requirements, and supported them in the early stages of sourcing technical solutions.

During my time at DWP I was able to develop my understanding of Agile and was lucky enough to work with a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable team who showed me first hand that is possible to successfully deliver a major government IT project using Agile methods, without compromising too much.

Working in a multi-disciplinary scrum team really helped me to understand the role of each person and how they can support one another. I particularly enjoyed learning about the vital role user research and testing plays in user-centric design and how to apply best methods to improve.

What I’m doing now

I am currently on secondment in the private sector for 6 months working as a Digital Delivery Manager/Product Manager for an education technology startup in Hoxton. I have only been here for a few weeks, but I’m excited about what is to come. There’s a lot of scope for me to use the knowledge I have accumulated over the last year, so I will be able to influence future product developments and will hopefully be able to mature their delivery methods.

Right now however, I’m preparing to fly out to Albania to meet the startup’s all-female development team!

Alongside the day job

During our first week on the Fast Stream we were put into groups and set the task of championing a cause by raising money for a charity of our choice.

My team selected War Child as we wanted to raise money for a cause which benefitted children and young people (a sentiment echoed across many of the other teams). We planned a range of fundraising activities with the aim of raising £6,500 over 6 months.

As a Digital and Technology fast streamer, I wanted to come up with a way of using technology somehow so I suggested hosting a hackathon. The great thing about running a hack event was that we could raise money through sponsorship and ticket sales, but also use people from the digital and business community to come up with educational tech solutions War Child could develop for use in schools.

The fundraising was a success and we received awards for ‘Digital Delivery’ and ‘Creativity and Innovation’.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to take part in the challenge. It was an amazing experience and I’ll always be proud of what we achieved in just a few months.

Apply for the Digital and Technology Fast Stream if you want to have an exciting role in government, transforming technology and building better digital services. Applications are open until  30 November 2016.

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