Interview: Marius Rubin, Technical Director at DMW Group
DESCRIBE YOUR JOB….
I am the technical director at DMW Group, a technology consulting firm based in London. We work with large public/private sector organisations to solve difficult technology challenges. I work as an advisor and solution architect for my clients. This can include everything from advising on strategies for making best use of public cloud, designing large systems, deciding what engineering approach teams will follow, hiring the right mix of people to deliver a solution, or even getting hands-on and writing code.
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I had an unusual path to a very technical job. I did languages, classics and chemistry for A level and then a degree in German and Linguistics. Messing around with and building computers was my hobby from a young age so I worked with Fujitsu during my degree’s year abroad and with Apple part time after that. Then after university I turned my hobby into my job and joined Accenture’s graduate programme as an analyst. I worked on different projects for different clients, building my technical skills (mostly in custom software), and then moved to DMW Group just over four years ago, where I have broadened and deepened my technical skills.
TALK US THROUGH A RECENT WORK DAY….
There’s often no such thing as a normal work day in consulting – the variety is a big part of what I enjoy about the job. Two days from a week ago give an idea of how varied it can be:
One day was very hands-on and technical with half the day working over a terminal to understand what was wrong with some IT systems and then to fix them in time for an audit (all without making things worse for other customers). The other half designing and writing automated tools to allow the client to install copies of a system in minutes rather than weeks.
The next day was spent travelling all over London, first to do an interview over coffee with a prospective hire, then to a workshop with a big high street chain to help them think about how they might use Big Data to predict the amount of product they need in their stores, then to a meeting with a prospective partner company.
WHAT DIGITAL SKILLS DO YOU USE ON A DAILY BASIS?
Firing off lots of emails (probably the least exciting!).
Researching solutions to technology problems (Google, Stack Overflow).
Keeping up to date with the latest technology developments (Ars Technica, The Inquirer, The Register, Twitter).
Putting together wiki pages and slides with system designs.
Working with spreadsheets.
Logging onto terminals to diagnose and fix issues.
WHAT DIGITAL SKILLS OR ATTRIBUTES WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE EDUCATORS TO SUPPORT YOUNG PEOPLE TO DEVELOP?
The ability to research answers using internet resources and apply them to the problem they are facing. In other words, to find examples of solutions that have worked for similar problems and adapt them to their exact problem.
Familiarity with how computers see the world ie code is either right or wrong, computers can’t work out what you mean, only what you say.
The ability to debug, and debug, and debug without getting frustrated ie to fix stuff that’s broken.
Comfort with continuously improving on a solution – making it tidier, faster, more elegant. Even if that means throwing the first solution away.
The ability to think about how someone else could use what you’ve done. That means writing code that is tidy and understandable, and leaving comments and documentation so that someone else could work on it without you being there.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG PERSON LOOKING TO ENTER THE DIGITAL SECTOR?
It’s a great place to make a career if you are interested in technology. You can get lots of variety and be really creative. Working on things that your friends, family, and the general public use day-to-day is exciting (and a bit daunting if it goes wrong!). There is huge demand for skilled people (far more than are available to hire), and anything you can do to build your skills and knowledge goes a long way. Above all, you need to stay up to date to keep up with new developments and trends – blogs, industry news websites and Twitter are great for this.