What’s it like to work at The Oakland Group?

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Hey! My name is Kevin and I am a Data Scientist working at the Oakland Group in Leeds. Having recently joined the development team at the beginning of October, I am excited to share my experiences as a new member of the Oakland team.

Three facts about me: I have a PhD in Mathematics that includes a chapter on how quickly guppies swim along a stream, I run multiple 5Ks every week, and I can never turn down a slice of pizza.

 

How did my journey with Oakland begin?

Weeks before my start date, I was invited into the Oakland office to explore the office and meet the team. Andy Crossley, a partner at Oakland, gave the new recruits an overview of the company’s history and values, paying close attention to the niche that we excel at: the intersection of analytics, process, and governance. After this, we had introductions with the rest of the company. Working in a smaller company makes this very easy. You feel like a significant part of the team rather than a number in a database. The day ended with drinks in the pub to mark the end of the introductions and the beginning of my career at Oakland. I had never visited a company ahead of my start date before, but I am glad I did because it meant that I could hit the ground running on my first day.

The first week started with setting up my company laptop, signing up for various software accounts, and organising my desk. Once I was all settled, I started working using Databricks, a cloud computing platform. This was new software for me, so I spent some time working through tutorials and reading introduction articles. Alex Young, Head of Profession and another member of the development team, gave me some introductory tasks to work through in order to get used to working with Databricks while simultaneously building a better understanding of the data I will be working with.

Meetings in my second week with Richard Corderoy, the Managing Director, and Martin Pocock, the Delivery Lead, helped formulate the overall timeline for my project while also discussing small checkpoints along the way. I found these meetings informative because I can see exactly where we are going with the project and how I fit into the plan. We decided to use the AGILE methodology for our projects, which includes daily meetings with other members of the development team to discuss immediate goals and weekly meetings to agree on long-term goals with the wider project team.

 

By my third week, I was cruising. I knew exactly what I was doing, what was expected of me, and who I could go to for help. This week was also quite exciting because we had the opportunity to learn more about the company through a business operation meeting. The business operation meeting began with Richard highlighting the current successes of the company, the goals we’ve smashed, and the plans for the near and distant future. The meeting continued with short TED-style talks on different software being used by the company and different projects currently in the pipeline. Of course, all work and no play is no fun. At the end of the day, we had a pizza and drinks social. This was my first opportunity to meet the whole company in a social setting, which I really enjoyed. Socialising in a small company builds team chemistry and morale quickly. Also, like I said before, I can never turn down a slice of pizza!