Guest post by Jack Harrison - one of Ordnance Survey’s new graduate intake
As I sit writing this post, I’ve just finished my third week working for the Ordnance Survey. My official role within the business is a bit of a mouthful, I’m a ‘Product Development/Data Engineer’. More importantly, though, I’m part of the Graduate programme intake that the Ordnance Survey has run this year for the first time in almost two decades. There are three other graduates on the programme, going into market analysis, government policy research and technical process improvement, but before we got stuck into our specialist roles we were scheduled for a two-week induction.
So, one sunny Monday morning in September saw four bleary-eyed ex-students (not accustomed to being awake at such an early hour) sat timidly in the reception of the impressive Explorer House building. The week’s events started enthusiastically with bacon rolls and orange juice, leading me to quickly make the assumption that this was how all working mornings began (wrong…), before we were swept up into a whirlwind of activities that barely stopped until Friday afternoon. By the end of the first week, my brain felt like it had been forcefully expanded several times to make room for the hundreds of new faces, departments and acronyms that we had been introduced to. It had been fun though, with only the barest minimum of PowerPoint slides and a good deal of post-it notes and Nerf guns. The biggest surprise from the first week was the absence of the characteristic tweed jackets and elbow pads that my parents had told me so much about and which I had expected to find, which was encouraging but also slightly disappointing (I’ve sadly had to return my new herringbone suit!).
In contrast to the whistle-stop pace of the first week, the second week saw us left largely to our own devices. We were given an exercise that involved tracing the data journey back from fulfilment (product delivery) to the initial capture of the data, requiring us to meet with people from almost every department in the business to piece together the story. On some subconscious level the events of the first week must have penetrated my memory, because the numerous and seemingly disparate departments slowly began to emerge as parts of a connected whole as we moved through our task. By the end of the week, I felt reasonably well-versed in the acronyms and jargon of the organisation, and felt well-prepared to move out on my own.
A week into my department and I’ve already had a chance to learn two new pieces of data manipulation software and use one of them as part of a live project. I’ve also had a chance to participate in several meetings looking at our ‘next big things’, giving me a taste for some of the innovative new products and services that we’re looking as part of our future development.