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Ben Miller: from sciences and cooking to Associate Delivery Lead

Social media handle(s): LinkedIn

A few words about me:

Headshot of Ben

I've grown up in a place called Bexley and is where I still currently live with my 4 year old daughter, my partner and perhaps least importantly my 2 cats.

I currently work as an associate delivery lead at dxw where my role is to support and push others in a multidisciplinary team to do their best work.

I work with teams to enable them to work at their best, remove disruptions and ensure stakeholders are involved and informed when needed.

Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?

I started my working life as a pot wash and waiter in a local pub while I was at school, then progressing to becoming a line cook in the same place. I enjoyed the fast paced working environment especially on a busy Sunday.

Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?

I'd say I do have a STEM background. Although I did not attend university, I did go to a University Technical College (UTC) called the Leigh UTC. I left my existing secondary school at age 14 and studied engineering where I used learnt how to use different types of industrial machines and learned where computer aided design is used to design different products.

I also studied product design looking at different art styles and how they are implemented into the architecture of buildings and the decor within.

In addition, I studied computer science and built an app in python that enabled you to view and book different computers in different blocks on a university campus. Finally, I also studied statistics, I've always thought that with numbers and the way we can represent data using different metrics just made sense to me.

Being able to have the experience above was only achievable because I decided to take the plunge and go to a UTC, a fairly new education concept compared to the norm.

Where did your professional journey start?

My professional journey began straight after my GCSEs when I joined the Fast Track apprenticeship scheme learning about business administration. My role within the civil service and specifically the Department for Education (DfE) was a project lead role. My responsibilities were to facilitate and progress schools who wanted to convert from local authority maintained schools to academies.

How did you get into tech and what motivated you?

After 2 years in that role, I chose to explore some different opportunities within the DfE where through speaking with a previous line manager I was introduced to the world of 'digital'. I wasn't too sure what it was and what the people there do. I shadowed a few projects for a while whilst in my current role, and was enjoying the role that delivery managers took, facilitating ceremonies, alleviating blockers for the team and regularly reflecting on ways of working to ensure teams are working efficiently.

Soon after, an Expression of Interest was published internally for a 3 month role as an associate delivery manager within the User Centred Design lab at the DfE, I applied and fortunately got it. 3 months turned into 6 and then I was permanently part of the UCD lab, helping senior delivery managers run teams and managing smaller project on my own.

After the craziness that was covid, I wanted to explore further, outside of the the DfE, other departments were not actively recruiting so I looked at taking the plunge into agency life. I came across dxw as an employee owned trust and liked the fact that their values and ethos aligned with my own personal views. It gave me motivation to join a company focused on doing good, for people.

Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?

I think I have. Being a young white male early in my career, I feel like I'm still perceived that, because of my gender or race opportunities are still awarded based upon those characteristics rather that the good work that I do.

In addition, a personal challenge maybe just for me, being a young person in a professional environment can be daunting, I sometimes feel out of my depth or under-qualified especially when surrounded by experienced and more inspiring individuals.

"... go and talk to people, be your own recruiter, build a network, don't be afraid to ask to shadow things or just ask 'so what do you do?'."

What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...

Don't be scared to take the jump, like I was. Tech's a welcoming world and with the correct company you'll be supported to develop even if you don't tick all the boxes.

What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?

I don't have a specific wow moment, but every time we delivery something, a service, a website or a product it gives me a great sense of achievement.

What do you like / not like about working in tech?

I love the people I work with, those internal to dxw but also those on the client side and other agencies, people from all different walks of life collaborating and working towards a target.

"Tech's a welcoming world and with the correct company you'll be supported to develop even if you don't tick all the boxes."

What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?

My favourite moments are when we're in person, team days are brilliant, a more relaxed environment where you can take time to get know people and really build a strong rapport.

And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?

Just go for it! As mentioned above, with the correct company, you can really tread your own path. Most importantly though go and talk to people, be your own recruiter, build a network, don't be afraid to ask to shadow things or just ask 'so what do you do?'.


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