Jonathan B.

Principal Software and Systems Engineer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Jonathan B.
Electronics
Electronic Engineering
Undergraduate
James
2005
United Kingdom

My employment

Principal Software and Systems Engineer
BT
United Kingdom

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A day in the life of a Principal Software and Systems Engineer in the United Kingdom

Working within Cyber Security, learning new things every day

How I looked for work

In today's world, you don't need to look for work as such. Get some skills, contribute to some open source projects or do some freelancing, create a LinkedIn profile and work will find you. The trick is to know what you want to do.

How I found out about the job

Recruitment agency

The recruitment process

I was contacted on LinkedIn. Had a chat with the recruitment agent. My CV was passed to the employer. The employer called me for a telephone interview. Then I had a face to face interview. Then I received a job offer.

My career goals when I graduated

I always wanted to become a Chartered Engineer. After a few years, I realised that in my line of work, it doesn't really add any value.
I wanted to work in an area which I could be proud of and wasn't purely about making money.

My career history

QinetiQ - did my final year student project here for 10 weeks. Received a job offer afterwards and worked there for two years upon graduating as a Real Time Systems Engineer developing firmware using VHDL.

Selex Galileo - Another defense related company. Worked here for three years doing software development in C++.

Goldman Sachs - Followed the money. Worked in a core team in GS using a proprietary functional programming language, C++ and C#. Mostly Windows front end projects. Excellent company and people to work with, but wasn't interested in finance.

BT - Started this year so new to the job. Senior position so shifted away from pure development to include a bit of management. Learning lots about cyber security and doing something that I feel matters.

My advice to students considering work

Do something that interests you and work hard in your first few years to get experience. As you get older, other things start to take a greater priority such as having a family, so use the first few years to put your heart and soul into your career.

My advice about working in my industry

Academic institutions are great and do very valuable work, but their focus is often different to companies out there trying to make money or do the minimum to solve a problem. Personally, I like that and it keeps us honest.

What I do

I'm a Principal Software and Systems Engineer at BT working within the Cyber Security area. My expertise are in software development but being a senior member of the team, I'm also involved in recruitment, retention, strategy, training and knowledge sharing.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Technology changes quickly and I learn new things every day. The main skill I use is general problem solving. You just have to be logical, persistent and patient and when that fails, ask for help.

I have experience of software development in C, C++, C#, Objective C, JavaScript. You can write good software or bad software in any language however. Most important is to understand how to write clear, maintainable software which efficiently solves the problem. I've developed my skills through practice and most recently through using Pluralsight.

What I like most

I enjoy working with clients because without their business needs and problems, I don't really find software development that interesting. It's a tool to solve problems, not a lifestyle.

What I like least

When you work in large corporations, there's a lot of bureaucracy and what should be quick jobs can drag on for months. There's always the balance to be struck between controlling costs and the overheads required to control them.

What surprised me most

Having good people skills is surprisingly valuable. If you have only great technical skills, or only great people skills, you are unlikely to progress as far and as quickly as someone who has a little of both.

Next steps...

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

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