Applying your skills to new challenges

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I’ve been at Capgemini for four years, and I’m currently working as a project manager. I came to Capgemini after seven years working in neuroscience, including three years as a post-doctorate.

It’s an absolutely fascinating area of study, exploring how the brain functions. Everything is new, very complicated, and technically difficult to investigate. It was a challenge I loved, and my science education gave me so many valuable skills, such as planning, influencing, research and analysis, as well as patience and discipline.

Neuroscience will always be my first passion, but working in science can be slow moving and often solitary. It’s necessarily a conservative culture, since everything needs to be carefully checked and monitored. So after seven years, I felt as though I needed a new environment to fire me with enthusiasm.

Get set for change

Life couldn’t be more different at Capgemini. Here, everything is constantly changing; projects change every six months or so and you need to adapt completely every few months. IT is also a much more results-driven environment. You have to be quick to acknowledge when something isn’t working, and make changes fast.

I was initially recruited to Capgemini as a data scientist, but changes in the Insights and Data team meant that I was diverted into cybersecurity, which my manager felt would be a good fit for me. Indeed, I found that cybersecurity had people with lots of different backgrounds, from traditional IT to law, chemistry, neurosciences, and many more. So, it seemed like the ideal place to apply my skills.

Join a fast-moving industry

In cybersecurity, I love the fact that each project has to cover so many areas. We need to understand the business drivers, the needs of stakeholders, and the risk appetite of the business. At the same time, we need to understand the systems used by the business and how they are all connected. There is then a very technical requirement to implement the necessary security systems based on both the business priorities and the system requirements.

Cybersecurity is changing quickly, from a classically IT-driven discipline to more of a business-driven function. It is the business, rather than the IT department, that needs to determine the risks faced by the business, and cybersecurity professionals need to develop solutions that address those business risks. It’s an exciting time to be involved.

Build your skills – and seek support

In such a fast-moving environment you quickly learn new skills. My analytical, methodical, science-based capabilities have been invaluable, but I’ve also developed my social and people-management skills, planning capabilities, financial understanding, and my ability to quickly understand new topics. A crucial lesson for me has been to know when I know enough, and when to ask others. In science, you never know enough; you are constantly striving to learn more and build your understanding. In a collaborative environment like Capgemini, there are so many other specialists working alongside you that it’s essential to know when to tap into their expertise.

When I started at Capgemini, I thought I would go back into science after maybe a year. But now I’ve been here for four years and I’m really enjoying it. I love the way of working, and I feel much more part of a network. I’m also learning all the time. On my first assignment as a solution designer, I was part of a scrum team tasked with designing and developing a security solution for a bank. The other members of the team had so much expertise outside my areas of understanding, and I quickly found that we could learn so much from each other. It was a wonderful assignment that really gave me an insight into the possibilities of working at Capgemini.

Learn from business leaders

After I’d been in the business for just over a year, I had the amazing opportunity to work as the project management officer (PMO) for the CEO of Cloud Infrastructure Services, Jean-Philippe Bol. It was extremely exciting to witness the way this huge organization employing thousands of people was managed at the top level. It gave me an incredible understanding of how the business is run, and an insight into what you can influence as an employee and what you can’t. This understanding has enabled me to help colleagues in subsequent roles to understand the thinking behind senior-level decisions, and how to communicate them within the business.

Seeing how people operate at the most senior level was very inspiring. I gained insight into how different people present information, whether good news or bad news, and how communication can be used most effectively. I also learned that there are leaders and there are managers, and the two are not always the same. It has a lot to do with different personality types; some people are better suited to management and others to leadership, and it’s about finding the right people for the right positions.

Embrace opportunities

When I think about my future career direction, my experience at Capgemini so far has taught me not to close any doors. You have to be open to opportunities. Right now, I’m really enjoying my role as a project manager, as well as being a talent reviewer helping young professionals and sharing my experiences to help guide them. I am looking forward to the future and confident I will be able to pick up new challenges within Capgemini.

Be the master of your own destiny

The Capgemini value I love the most is “freedom” – the freedom to be master of your own destiny. I’ve experienced for myself how the lessons you learn and the experiences you gain at Capgemini enable you to shape a career that suits you. Now, I love having the opportunity to help other people become masters of their own destiny at Capgemini.

 

To find out how your unique skills and experiences could set you on your career path at Capgemini, take a look at the opportunities available.

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