It feels like I wrote my “12 months in” post yesterday, so writing this reflection on the past 6 months feels so strange. Time has definitely flown by so quickly! I’ve shared my graduate scheme experience with BT quite a bit on my blog, feel free to check out my other reflective posts here.
At the end of this week, I finished the third rotation of my graduate scheme. The graduate scheme is 2 years long, with rotations lasting 6 months each which means I’m now rolling into my fourth and final team for the next 6 months.
My third rotation was in the Platform Services team within BT Consumer’s Digital Engineering. Unlike my second rotation, I came into the Platform Services team with very little to no knowledge about how the team works, the details of the day-to-day and their tech stacks. I had some high level idea from my little exposure to the team during my first year, but no real idea to be honest.
It was huge difference compared to joining a development team where I could hit the ground running with my existing front-end knowledge; I actually felt like I sorta jumped into a challenging rotation head first without thinking and then spent the first few weeks drowning a bit.
Now that I’m moving to my next rotation, I’m so glad that I dove in despite it being completely out of my comfort zone. Turns out “just going for it” really gets you somewhere.
The Platform Services team was made of several DevOps Engineers, a Scrum Master, Team Lead/Manager and me – a graduate, trying my best to contribute. 😂 Unlike my previous team, this team was a lot smaller with most colleagues based in Leeds but some in Belarus, India and London too.
Although my first few weeks were very much me staring at error message after error message as I tried to set up the development environment on my machine, everyone in the team were incredibly patient with me. I have to say, although it was a rocky start, I felt very supported by everyone. I’ve never really believed it when people say, “there are no stupid questions” because I always end up feeling stupid after asking… But in this team, no one ever made me feel like my initial knowledge gap was a burden which is so rare.
Because Platform Services had so much going on, there was definitely a steep learning curve especially for someone who is completely new to the DevOps/Infrastructure space. It was one of those teams where you would go home and literally need to do nothing for an hour to rest your brain. 😂 I think the challenge, the pace of the team dynamics and workflow, the tech all really excited me so even though I would be exhausted after a day of learning, I was ready to go again the next day. 💪🏼
Looking back, I’ve picked up so much stuff! Here’s just a few of my learnings:
I always knew that the Platform Services team were doing some pretty important stuff, but I just didn’t know what exactly. So having the opportunity to spend 6 months with them, really opened my eyes to how vital the team is for the future of our digital platforms. We are the foundation of everything – the centre of what helps make the other teams be able to show off our products to our customers. Not only this but we also affect how we work internally to make sure that we are as lean and agile as we can be as a team (e.g. deploying us with the best tooling strategy to improve efficiency!) It was awesome to see both sides during the 6 months!
I also learned that nothing works first time, and hand-in-hand, there is always a reason why something isn’t working. The solutions isn’t always obvious, but that’s OK because no one knows everything – we’re all just trying our best. This is something that everyone has always said to me, but never really sunk in until I joined this team and experienced the responsibility of projects and high priority tasks from start-to-finish.
Writing down everything I was learning week-in, week-out was actually insane. It is a little overwhelming writing this all now, because I literally knew 0 on this list. But now, I know so much more than my brain can probably carry; I need to archive the excess away in da cloud (yo, S3 Glacier joke dab)
I wrote a bit more detail about my learnings of these technologies in a previous post – you can check that out here.
Thank you for having me on the 10 years of DevOps panel tonight @leedsDevops! As I said, it is more like 10 weeks of DevOps for me but it was a pleasure to be a part of and share my thoughts on all things DevOps. It was a lot of fun! 🙌🏼 #leedsdevops pic.twitter.com/YST0tHhWzi— Pauline P. Narvas ⚡️ pawlean.com (@paulienuh) November 20, 2019
I wouldn’t have been able to learn what I learnt and achieve what I achieved without the support from the team. Everyone had my best interest at heart!
Without the continuous support from day one, I don’t think I could’ve got as much out of every single day as I did. I suffered the most imposter syndrome I had ever had whilst in this team, so having my manager and the rest of the team remind me everyday that I’m moving in the right direction was what I really needed to truly thrive. (Thank you to the PS team!!)
Although there is still so much more to learn, I’m confident that I can do it – maybe not straight away, but I will find the solution eventually. 🙌🏻
Truly inspired by the fantastic work being done in Platform Services and in great timing, a shoot-off squad called the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Squad has formed and is where I’ll be going into for my final rotation.
It’s still a new space, and although I’m slightly nervous, I’m ridiculously more excited to not only develop my skillset but also help shape where this new team is going. I can’t wait. Let’s do this. 🤩