Meet Gurdeep, an everyday hero working as a Digital Enterprise Architect and Security Manager for the City of Wolverhampton.
Below, Gurdeep has shared his story to show what a career as a Digital Enterprise Architect and Security Manager is like.
Your role in a nutshell?
I am the Digital Enterprise Architect and Security Manager and I also deputise for the Head of Digital & IT. I am the Chair of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s (CWC) TDA (Technical Design Authority) board and sit on various other boards as a trusted adviser. I am accountable for the Councils Digital and IT strategy, enterprise architecture, and all IT solution designs. I currently manage a team of Cybersecurity, Infrastructure, Solutions, and Domain Architects. I review and facilitate the creation of value propositions, business canvas models, operating models, business capability maps, process maps, roadmaps, and solution designs across ICT and transformation teams and managed partners. I ensure our workforce is fully supported, and truly agile so employees can work from anywhere whilst being fully compliant with security measures. My primary goal is to make it easy for our residents to access our services online - on their phones and computers - at a time that best suits them.
Planned career or fell into?
Definitely planned as I’ve always been fascinated with computers. I was really into computer games and wanted to understand how the computer, mouse and keyboard all worked. I completed a Computer Programmer/Analyst Diploma from Georgian college, in Canada. This was followed by many MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certifications – The “architects” in the IT world, are like building architects, a strong foundation, good planning, robust, extensible and flexible design and safety are all essential.
I started my career in the private sector. My last role was with Siemens where I worked as an IT contractor as a server engineer, I originally joined CWC back in 2009 as a contractor and since secured a permanent role here.
Doer, manager or leader?
My leadership style is democratic – a ‘why not try this’ approach. I really try and set my team a good example by talking about the importance of mental health and wellbeing. This has helped develop motivated people who are passionate and want to achieve.
Love best, love least about your job?
I love that CWC have always been ahead of the market. We were the first Council to get financial and payroll services into the Azure Cloud; this has worked out to be so much more robust and cheaper than expensive server upgrades and migrations of data. Many other local authorities have followed our lead on this.
At the moment, we are working on developing artificial intelligence in the form of a “bot” that helps residents resolve queries and make bookings. A very robust and process driven bot is in the making soon, which will help our citizens with accessing services. It will be another first from CWC – So watch the space.
Council governance processes can sometimes get in the way of making rapid progress. It’s been interesting to see how the council has shifted thinking from being sceptical about being a market leader – it’s risky to be the first –to being more ‘pro IT’ investments as they’ve seen the benefits to residents. Certainly, the rapid shift to homeworking following the Covid pandemic was only possible due to us having the latest Microsoft O365 E5 License– which is excellent for cyber security too.
Qualifications? University or apprenticeship or special skills?
Technical qualifications are needed for this role, most people come from a background in and/or a degree in computer science or development and we do offer apprenticeships to learn on the job too.
I keep up with technical skills through annual ‘Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert’ qualifications.
The role is also about interpersonal, people and leadership skills too. In 2019, I secured a place on the Future Leaders Programme lead by Gatenby and Sanderson, it was excellent in helping me focus on how to help motivate others and learn different models.
Routine or variety?
Not much routine at all for me personally as I can be asked to deputise for the Head of Service, often at the last minute, so my own priorities have to take a backseat. For example, I might have to get quickly up to speed on a technical issue and brief a member of our Senior Leadership team and/or councillors.
We have regular and routine meetings for our teams with daily virtual morning stand-ups and bi-monthly virtual coffee sessions – it’s really important we keep up with each other and share what’s happening.
Pay check or calling?
Definitely a calling – opportunities have arisen in the private sector but I have remained in the public sector as I really want to be serving my local community.
I’ve always been motivated by doing good things locally. I’ve helped my local Sikh Gurdwaras to get services online and develop a Facebook following – we gave out 50,000 food parcels during the Covid pandemic and led the UKs first community led rapid Covid test centre. I’m also the Chair of Resources Committee - Governor at a local primary school
Development support or DIY?
I’m still learning all the time and currently in the process of completing a Masters in IT Strategy while I work – it’s perfect as the focus is all about how we best apply skills and resources to get services online and meet the needs and expectations of our increasingly IT savvy residents. My dissertation is on disaster recovery and business continuity – again very useful.
I am privileged to have the Deputy CEO as my mentor – I’m continually learning from him and can get that real life steer and feedback – it has been so helpful.
Staying put or moving on?
I’ve plenty of challenges to keep me motivated, but I’d want to progress to be a Head of Service and Director of IT transformation/strategy, ideally locally.
Life lesson or specific career advice?
You learn just as much from failure as success, perhaps more. My religion as a Sikh believes that everything happens for a reason so let’s learn from it. Keep faith in Waheguru.
If you want to work in IT then get yourself skilled up - there’s lots of free resources out there, such as on You Tube, then really get some practice in and make contact.
The best thing about working for the Council is…. working in a place I love. I’ve worked in many countries and just love Wolverhampton and want the City to excel. Punjabi is the second language here so I feel right at home.
Gurdeep, is an #EverydayHero, working to change and make better the lives of others and you can be an #EverydayHero too. Click here to find roles currently available within IT.
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