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The people that make our digital vision possible: Meet our Head of Infrastructure, Chris Bevan

Technology is getting smarter by the second, which makes this a hugely important department but one which is also fun, friendly and relaxed. We believe that an informal, team-spirited environment where people pull together, especially in times of pressure, increases productivity.

We recently met up with Chris, our Head of Infrastructure, to find out more.

What do you do here at Admiral Tech?

Currently, I'm the Head of Infrastructure. My role entails leading the teams that are building out our Infrastructure platform. We are expanding our capabilities and growing our team to give us greater coverage across all areas of infrastructure. This is inclusive of, developing dedicated teams to provide infrastructure as a service, covering servers (both physical and virtual), networking, storage and our DBA technical function.

The role has the remit of ensuring we have the right skills to efficiently build, design, deploy and run the infrastructure to support Admiral's core business activities. As well as keeping the lights on - we are actively looking at ways to improve, buildout and enhance the core infrastructure.

What is your background?

In a previous life, I was a professional rugby player for 5 years playing for Pontypridd & Ebbw Vale. Unfortunately, an injury got the better of me, so I had to come to work for a living!

I started off within a service desk in the private sector. Following that, I worked my way up across various roles in both the private and public sector. In areas such as education, aviation, and latterly medical and food packaging. I've worked with some great leadership teams during my time and I’ve been lucky enough to have some inspiring leaders take me under their wing. This has influenced my direction for which I've been eternally grateful for.

What was it about Admiral Tech that made you want to join?

Admiral first and foremost is Wales' flagship company - being the only FTSE 100 company in the country. You just have to look at our marketing across TV and online to get an idea of how big and important Admiral is, not just in Wales but in the UK as well. Initially, from the interview, I was inspired by the vision for I.T. - The way the department was going, what Admiral Tech wanted to do and the challenges that they faced. It excited me to be able to have an input into the direction of that journey.

What's the most exciting change or project happening within Infrastructure and Admiral Tech?

From an Infrastructure perspective, we have several exciting projects underway. From starting out on our cloud journey with an internal team that’s completely focussed on that. We are also looking to transform our tech stack from top to toe, we’re looking at all things in the 'art of the possible' as we like to say here.  The business is starting on a digital transformation for which Admiral Tech will be a key enabler.

Are there opportunities to progress within Admiral Tech?

For sure! 18 months ago, I joined Admiral Tech initially as a team manager reporting to the Head of Business Service. Within 14 months an opportunity came up for the Head of Infrastructure for which I applied and was successful. There are lots of opportunities and not just within Admiral Tech but Admiral as a whole. At Admiral Tech we are always looking to bring in new talent, it's not just about 'putting people in holes' it's about ensuring we nurture the talent we have, upskilling and developing those in current positions and bringing in new talent to expand our knowledge and capabilities across the department.

What's your favourite thing about your role?

The variation! I get to interact with so many different people and fractions within Admiral Tech and the business. Fundamentally it's the people. The culture here is second to none. When you first start within the company you quickly realise it's the people that make the business.

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Admiral Life

A Day in the Life of a Data Warehouse Developer at Admiral

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Admiral Tech

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Meet Cara who has worked at Admiral for just under five years. Here she tells us about her role as a Data Warehouse Developer. What led you into a career in Technology and what has your journey been like so far?  I decided to do a degree in Mathematics at Swansea University because I had enjoyed maths throughout my education. This progressed to a master’s degree in Mathematics which further allowed me to pursue my love for maths. Alongside my studies I did a number of placements and internships with Swansea Hospital where I learnt about nanotechnology and the data that goes into it, and also with Morriston Hospital where I worked in laboratories and analysed the data behind them. This was the first time I had really looked into data and it helped me realise that I wanted to find a graduate scheme that involved data and also allowed for career progression in a good job that I would enjoy. I decided to apply for the Admiral Graduate Program. I went into the Data Warehouse function and have been there ever since. Although I felt as if I fell into Technology, my mother worked in IT and was a massive inspiration to me, meaning a career within Technology never felt out of reach. I am grateful for the flexible working options available at Admiral and I think that the company has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic well. Most employees are now working from home, but even before then I was part of a working from home pilot that meant I got to work from home three days a week. Core hours, that used to mean that you had to be present in the office 10am-4pm, have now been removed in IT, allowing a flexible way of working. What would a typical day in your role at Admiral look like?  Although life is very different right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like many employees at Admiral, I do not feel as if there is a real typical day working for Admiral. When we were in the office, the first thing we would do as a team is have a morning coffee together. I really value my teammates and a big part of the love I have for my job comes from the people that I work with. After this, I have a stand-up meeting with my team which is a run through of what each of us will be working on. I can then get on with my own tasks and normally, I will code all day. I enjoy the flexibility and freedom that my role provides. How does the work you do impact Admiral as a business and its customers? I work in Data Warehouse which is of critical importance at Admiral. Recently, I have been working on a report that shows how many cars, vans and houses we have on cover each day. This report is given to Senior Management each morning to give a clear picture of the company’s standing. Although most of our Technology roles are not directly customer-facing, our teams are central to facilitating our excellent customer service experience.  Do you have any advice for women that want to get into Technology but feel intimidated?  I have personally never felt intimidated being a woman working within Technology. When doing a maths degree, which was predominantly male, I never felt as if I didn’t belong or that I didn’t deserve to be there. The advice I have for any women that want to get into Technology is that they should not be scared or intimidated. Just under a year ago I attended and gave a speech at a conference in London where around nine-thousand people attended. After I had finished my speech, I was informed that only sixteen percent of the speakers were women. This incredibly low representation of female speakers shocked me. Unfortunately however, this does reflect the representation of women working within the Technology industry. After learning more about it, I realised how great it was to be one of the few representing women in T`1echnology and showing women that if I can do it, so can they! It is great to be part of a company that aligns with my morals and advocates for equal opportunities in Technology. 

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Kate  Williams

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How to: Answer frequently asked interview questions.

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"Tell us about yourself." Explain your previous roles, education, hobbies and interests and don’t forget to expand.  We want to know what these experiences have taught you. Elaborate on how you can use what you’ve learnt in the working environment. Be mindful not to overshare and keep it professional. "What are your weaknesses?"Pick a weakness relevant to the role you have applied for. Make sure to explain what you have done / are doing to improve in this area. Some people think picking a strength and spinning it to seem like a weakness will come across better, but it doesn’t feel honest and can insinuate you are not self-aware. It’s ok to be honest – none of us are the finished article. "What are your strengths?"Pick strengths that are relevant to the role and provide examples to support your answer.  Read the job advert beforehand and familiarise yourself with essential and desirable skills – this will help to ensure you’re showcasing the skills the recruiter is looking for. "What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?"If the interviewers don’t specifically ask for a ‘professional’ example, it’s OK to draw from personal experience, however, you should always make sure you’re able to relate it back to the role you are applying for.  The main thing to cover is why you are proud of this achievement, what it taught you and how it has prepared you for this role.  "Why do you want this job?"Show off your knowledge! The interviewer will want to know you’ve researched this role and the company.  You should know a fair bit about the role you’ve applied for – read the job advert, visit the career site and follow the company pages on social media platforms.  Explain what attracted you to this position.  You may wish to talk about the company benefits, the working environment, the opportunities and why you think you’ll be successful. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"Be honest and be realistic. If you want to progress that’s great, but suggesting you want to be the CEO within a few years might be unrealistic.  Think about the opportunities available to you in this role, not only will this show you’ve done your research, but it will also show that you are willing to work hard and are keen to progress.  If progression is not for you, that’s also fine.  You should explain how you plan to continue to do a great job and all the skills you have that will enable you to this. "Why do you want to leave your current job?"Be honest and be professional.  Be diplomatic in your answer and don’t forget you’re in an interview.  You may want to use this question as an opportunity to talk about the new role and why you are excited about the prospect of joining this company. "Why should we hire you?"This is your chance to set yourself apart from other applicants.   It’s tough to compare yourself to strangers but use this opportunity to talk about your strong work ethic, relevant skills and passion for the role.  Expand upon your answer and provide examples – this is usually one of the last questions in an interview and you don’t want to miss out on this last chance to impress the interviewers. "Do you have any questions?"Lots of people think they must ask a question at the end of an interview, but if the interviewers have been comprehensive in their explanation, then you might not have questions.  This is fine - don’t feel like you must think of something, but equally, make the most of this opportunity to discuss anything you’re unsure about. Here’s some of the questions we regularly get asked at the end of an interview:What do you like most about working for *insert company name here*?Would you like me to expand upon any of my answers or examples?Are there opportunities for training and development in this role/department?What would you say are the most challenging aspects of this role?What are the next steps of the process?

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