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Case Study: Gary Clark

Personal details
Degree:MSc Information Technology Profile picture
School(s): School of Computer Science
Year of Graduation:Nov-2011
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Royal Bank of Scotland
Job title: IT Support Co-ordinator
Occupational Sector: IT/Computer Programming
What has been your route to getting your current position?
After completing my undergraduate degree, before moving to St Andrews to start my Masters, I did work experience for an IT company (m3 Networks) and a production company (mostly in graphic design). While undertaking my dissertation, I was offered a part time job m3 which I took.

After completing my MSc, I put my CV on a couple of websites, and was contacted by a number of recruiting agencies for several different roles. After interviewing for five roles (being offered four), I took a position with RBS as an IT & Operations Senior Analyst for RBS. After 12 months in that position, I then moved to my current job.
What does your job involve ?
Most of my time is spent in project planning and execution, providing SME (subject matter expert, much of which came from university) support to the business, and working with other IT departments and teams throughout RBS.

Day to day, the job is different depending on what projects I am working on and their various states. In some projects, I am responsible for creating documentation, taking minutes, and developing the project plan. In others, I have a more hands on role, especially those with a more technical angle, such as undertaking SQL database development, writing queries and XML reports, or developing intranet pages.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Getting to work with lots of different people all across the world - in the morning, I speak to people in Asia Pacific, and in the afternoon, people in the Americas.

While I haven't been able to work on the technology side of my skill set as I would otherwise have been, with the size of the company I have also been able to develop my skills in other, more business oriented areas.

The international travel is also nice!
Why were you successful?
I had a number of previous jobs, part-time or work experience, which meant I had both a diverse skill set and showed that I was able to apply myself to learning new things quickly.

Work experience with m3 was also very helpful, as due to the size of the company, I was working in a role that would, according to Microsoft, require seven years of experience to obtain!

From what I was told by a number of my interviewers, my CV was well presented and written. Communication is vital - learning to write essays and reports becomes a very useful skill to both get you into an interview, and when in the role. I have consistently been commended for my communication and presentation styles, much of which was learned from subjects I studied.

Research is also critical when going for an interview - it pays to learn everything you can about the company, the role and any skills they are looking for. Even if you're not an expert, being able to talk a little about what they want is very useful.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
In my current role, I use a number of different skills from my degree at St Andrews, primarily databases, digital media and web technologies, though all of the subjects have helped in one way or another.

From my undergraduate degree, my MS Project course has proved vital, along with the more technical skills that i learned.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Getting to where I am today has been interesting to say the least! I've been at a number of different institutions (four in total), and worked in a variety of jobs in different areas.

Currently I'm working on a software deployment project, running a number of areas (configuration, testing and implementation) across 22 countries and 650 users. This is quite close to launch so is taking up the majority of my work time.

I currently work 35 hours a week, with quite a good commute (only 30 minutes including walking time), and work with a great team of people. We don't go out as often as I did with smaller companies, but part of that is due to people having families, but there is still a social element and we usually do something every month.