We got to speak to Jose about what it means to be a Technologist at Ofcom, and his career journey from Graduate Technologist to Senior Technology Advisor so far.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came about Ofcom
I grew up in India, where I went to school and completed my undergraduate degree in Electronics & Communications Engineering. After my degree I got a job installing mobile base stations which exposed me to communications regulations and the impact they have on the day to day work of engineers. This made me realise that if I worked for a regulator I could have more of an impact on the industry as a whole, by being able to advise on the rules in place.
After working for a few months, I applied to do a Master’s in Communications Engineering at the University of York in the UK and whilst completing my thesis on spectrum allocation, I became aware of Ofcom and their work.
When I saw the graduate scheme being advertised, I realised it ticked a lot of boxes for me. It was aligned to my degree, with a regulator and was in line with the work I wanted to do.
How did you find the transition to working in the UK?
The university and workplace cultures are very different between India and the UK, and in particular, it was a challenge getting into work here. Despite this, Ofcom and their graduate scheme made it a very smooth transition for me, and I was given lots of support and time to get up and running and absorb the work culture. Ofcom even helped me during the visa application process making it as stress-free as possible.
How did the graduate scheme set you up to have a successful career?
As I mentioned, the format of the graduate scheme and the people at Ofcom ensure you have all the support you need to learn the job. We started with being allocated small tasks and then built up to larger tasks/projects over time, along with growing our skillsets and confidence at the same time.
I completed my four rotations with two each in the Spectrum and Technology teams respectively. This has been invaluable during the rest of my career with Ofcom so far, as it allowed me to gain the understanding of different teams and grow my own network across the organisation. By the end of the graduate scheme I was being set work at the same level as the senior associates!
Since coming off the graduate scheme, I have been given lots of opportunities to work on different projects and to keep my work interesting. Also, I have always been able to have open and positive discussions with my managers about where I want to develop or take my career and they have always taken this into account when assigning me to projects which has been brilliant.
What is the difference between the Spectrum and Technology teams?
I can see how this would be confusing to someone outside of Ofcom!
In short, Spectrum purely focus on anything related to spectrum. They are split by the Spectrum technology group who carry out work like technical, technical trials and simulations, and the Spectrum policy group who advise on any related regulations and policies. They are many other parts too that have specific remits such as space and satellites or business radio etc.
Technology has a wider remit, giving technical advice to policy makers on any other related communications technology that does not fall under spectrum, and carrying out research to understand emerging technology better and how it may impact the wider communications industry.
What do you enjoy most about your working for Ofcom?
I really enjoy the variety of work and the people I get to work with. I’ve never felt bored or like I am doing the same thing over and over again. The people in my team and the wider network I work with are also brilliant. Everyone trusts each to other to do their work and are really supportive if needed.
Finally, what advice would you give to applicants looking to start their career at Ofcom?
The main thing that candidates need to consider, is that at Ofcom you won’t be doing hands on coding/engineering like a traditional technology career. It is more about your understanding of different technologies and their impact on the wider world. You need to have a wide appreciation and interest in communications technologies and be able to display that throughout the application process. We look for individuals who can think holistically about the industry and make connections between communications technology and their implications on policy and regulations.
Interested in following Jose's footsteps? Find all opportunities with Ofcom here.