We spoke to Hannah Anderson to uncover her career journey in our Security sector so far.
What is your role at BT and how long have you been working here?
I joined BT in September 2016 as a Business Management Graduate. Since then I have had numerous roles from Solutions Architecture and Design to Security Consulting and most recently my new role as Commercial Cyber Operations Manager.
What attracted you to apply to join BT?
I had not long completed a degree in Criminology and Sociology and I didn’t have a technical background, but a module in Cyber Crime sparked my interest in Security.
The number of diverse opportunities along with Security being at the centre of everything BT does, attracted me to apply to the BT Graduate Scheme.
BT has over 2,000 security professionals and security operations around the world, which really stood out to me. I also was keen to join an organisation that puts such an emphasis on the importance of entry level employees.
How have you been supported to develop your skills and progress your career?
From my very first day, I have had the opportunity for on the job learning and experiences, formal qualifications and access to mentors. The teams I worked with were keen to share their knowledge and improve my technical understanding, encouraging me to take apart servers to ensure I was equipped with the basics right away!
Using internal resources, I completed courses such as ‘Cyber Bootcamp’ and an Agile Product Owner course, attended knowledge shares, as well as completing formal Security qualifications (Security+ and CISMP).
I was also successful in gaining a place on the BT Tech Women scheme which has provided me with a range of resources, workshops and contacts to further develop myself and support me in my role.
What one key skill have you acquired as a result of being at BT?
Being curious! At first, I felt uncomfortable questioning why things were done the way they were, as I was new and had little experience. However, BT supported me in becoming confident to ask questions and think outside the box. Being innovative and questioning the status quo is key to everything BT does, especially in Security. It has opened doors to uncover new opportunities, as well as enabling me to learn about the wider business.
Do you work in a team and if so, how do you support each other?
Yes, I work in a team of approximately 30 people. Usually we are all based in a single location which makes it very easy to support each other. We do this by checking in to see if everyone is ok, giving updates on our priorities as well as sharing knowledge if we find more efficient ways of doing things. Currently, we are working in a more virtual environment, using team huddles and tools such as Teams to keep in touch throughout the day. Working in Operations sometimes means high pressure and high task load, but our team camaraderie and support means we all enjoy it!
Are you able to balance work with your personal life?
Absolutely! Throughout the last 4 years I’ve been able to have the best of both worlds. BT has enabled me to further my career without feeling like I am chained to my desk or neglecting my personal life. I’ve been given time to develop myself professionally which has made me more efficient in my role and motivated me to continue to succeed.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
Security is always changing and nothing stands still! There is always something new to explore and understand and a new technology to support, whilst upholding a high standard of service to our customers. However, this is the most satisfying and motivating part of my role too; we continue to protect customers and ensure they can continue to operate securely.
New technology, new customers and new processes are great achievements and a step toward evolving our security and service capabilities.
It sounds cliché, but we do make a difference and it’s great to be a part of an organisation that is integral to keeping customers secure globally.
What’s the one thing people wouldn’t know about working at BT until they join the company?
The vast amount of opportunities available! I have been able to get involved in so many things I wouldn’t have even considered before joining; it’s really opened my eyes to how much BT has to offer.
Some opportunities related directly to my role and others to my professional network. I’m most excited about my involvement in Professionals and Tech Women and where that will take me!
Were you worried that your lack of a technology background would make it difficult to work in a technology environment?
When I first joined BT, I used to box myself in as not being technical enough and worry about not fully understanding projects. However, this was never a problem and everyone I have worked with has been happy to explain any technical elements to me. I’ve also been able to undertake different technical courses so I have massively improved my technical understanding. You will become more aware of the technologies as you go, you’ll pick things up without even knowing and you’ll look back and wonder why you ever worried in the first place!