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My job explained: IT service delivery manager

It service delivery manager deskSimon Tinckler talks about his role as an IT service delivery manager at a major bank and gives some valuable tips on getting noticed by future employers.

What attracted you to this type of work?

I liked the idea that this field would give me lots of great experience quickly, allowing me to develop transferable skills and learn more about new technologies. As well as being a good position in itself, it should help me advance my career in the future.

How long did it take to train and what did the training involve?

I took part in a two-year graduate scheme which involved moving between different roles within the bank every six months. This wasn’t a formal training period, it was more about learning on the job and finding out which departments suited me.

This structure provided a steep learning curve in IT operations, project delivery, people management and strategy.

During the two-year programme I was also given the opportunity to take part in off-site courses in things like presentation skills which proved useful and helped me to gain confidence.

Can you describe a typical working day?

My days can change depending on what is thrown at me! Some of the things I might have to deal with are: resolving customer queries, updating management on improvement plan progress, ‘fire-fighting’ any large IT outages, monitoring and management of outsourced IT suppliers to deliver against agreed contracts.

If a problem along any of these lines comes up, then I have to work it out. It involves both communication skills, patience and a degree of technical knowledge, so I’m definitely kept busy.

What's the best thing about your job?

The opportunity for career progression within the company as well as the experience it gives me for my own personal development.

Have there been any challenges in getting to where you are now?

Getting onto the graduate programme was hard work. I took a year out to apply to many schemes as it was too demanding to do so in my third year of university. I spent time studying library guides on numeracy and competency tests and assessment centre techniques and took a lot of care over application forms, getting family and friends to read and check over them.

Competition for the best placements was high; unfortunately much of it is down to who you know and how well you get on with people. It’s worth building up a track record of delivering things that people will recognise and make full use of any buddy/mentoring networks.

What qualities and skills do you think are important for your role?

  • Be easy to engage – energetic, friendly, but not a pushover.
  • Deliver tasks on time and keep promises.
  • Inspire confidence, even if you don’t feel it yourself, without being arrogant!
  • Basic IT knowledge is required, but no more than that.

What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

  • Apply to lots of companies.
  • Be prepared to fail sometimes – it’s all good experience.
  • Ask the people around you for help and advice and use libraries / career centres for support.
  • Always be energetic and friendly – motivation is your number one selling point at this stage.
  • Become a good listener; be confident but not arrogant.
  • Don’t burn out!

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