Liam O.

Senior User Researcher
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Liam O.
Politics, Economics and Philosophy
Politics and Philosophy
United Kingdom

My employment

Senior User Researcher
Home Office
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Senior User Researcher in the United Kingdom

As a Senior User Researcher, I plan and lead user research activities in large teams and on complex services.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure. The Home Office has been at the front line of this effort since 1782. As such, we play a fundamental role in maintaining the security and economic prosperity of the UK.

The Home Office leads on immigration and passports, refugee protection, counter-terrorism, policing, fire services, and crime and drugs policy.

What do you do?

As a Senior User Researcher, I plan and lead user research activities in large teams and on complex services. I develop research strategy and test design, as well as leading on expansive discovery research and analysis within the broad problem space. I lead research using a range of methods, including usability testing, contextual interviews, pop-up testing, and will lead on rapid analysis that involves the wider team whenever possible.

I also carry out line management, mentoring, training and other activities designed to up-skill junior staff in primary research techniques, as well as recruitment activities to ensure that we continue to have the required skills within the organisation.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I wanted to work in government to do something that really matters. And I think technology offers some of the greatest opportunities to have a impact on the world. I'm fascinated by how people use technology and how we can exploit it to solve problems.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

A bit. I thought I'd be more likely in end up in a policy role given my educational background. I didn't realise I'd be able to get so close to the the UX design and software development process given my nontechnical background.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Representing the UK at a NATO task group in Rome was pretty cool!

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Digital teams in government are generally pretty fun and relaxed. We're very much a jeans and a t-shirt kind of place. There is lots of flexibility around remote working.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I was the YUSU Policy Coordinator and I was a YuCaller. I think these experiences gave me lots of transferable skills around organisation and people skills.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Do a lot of extra curricular activities at university. Most employers expect you to have a good degree, so these extra things will really be what makes you stand out.

Don't go into something to specific unless you know for sure it's what you want to do. Graduate schemes are difficult to get into but worth it because they often give you a broad range of experiences and an accelerated progression path.

Don't worry too much about finding the perfect job. You won't really know what a job is like until you start doing it, and then there is often lots of scope to find niche that really interests you while on the job.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I'd be happy to answer questions on the Civil Service Fast Stream (which I graduated from a few years ago), the Civil Service in general, HCI, User Research and Interaction Design, and Agile software development.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Liam’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Liam a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Liam to be your mentor.

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