The value of work-life balance

Colin McDonald joined DWP Digital as an enterprise architect, having previously worked for a large global service provider.  

Enterprise architects are at the heart of DWP Digital’s IT infrastructure. They maintain our hardware, software and services. Our teams of enterprise architects make sure that our huge IT estate supports every part of our organisation. 

“As a father to three young boys, my world is a very busy one!” he explains. “Work-life balance is something that’s massively important to me and, if I’m going to be effective on either front, I need the two to work in harmony. 

“A career at DWP Digital offers me the security, stability and flexibility I need with a young family, coupled with enough challenges and excitement to keep me interested. 

“I’ve got the autonomy to effectively manage much of my workload, and I’m trusted to do my job, which I value enormously. The fact I can balance a busy work diary with various nursery runs, school runs and appointments is priceless and it’s such a massive help at the minute! 

 “It’s also reassuring working for an organisation that priorities health and wellbeing at such uncertain times. There are many resources and initiatives available to colleagues which enable people to get the support that they need, when they need it.”   

Modernising one of the UK’s biggest IT estates

Colin’s team have recently been working with domain and business architecture colleagues to deliver a modern architecture strategy that seeks to modernise DWP’s legacy tech.  

“The sheer size and scale of the work here provides me with the challenges that I seek in my career. Our new architecture strategy will form the backbone of moving our huge IT footprint from a suite of legacy and heritage monolithic IT systems, to a truly modernised estate of secure microservice-based IT applications. 

“Having such a large and diverse IT estate also means that I’m frequently able to get involved in different areas of technology or the business that I’m interested in. Architecture teams work together to accelerate business outcomes and drive seamless reuse of technologies.   

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed gaining an understanding of how some of our oldest Cobol systems were designed and operate, and how we can shift huge caseloads onto a modern API and Event driven digital estate. I’ve spent time immersed in the eye-opening world of Fraud and Cyber Security and frequently get the opportunity to grow my understanding of micro-services, APIs, Eventing, UI Composition and cloud hosting environments. 

“But the genuinely exciting part of my job is  rolling up my sleeves, diving deep into a given problem space and helping shape the answers that will allow us to continue driving forward IT solutions. There’s satisfaction in knowing you’re contributing to finding solutions that can help change the lives of millions of people across the UK.” 

Growing my career alongside growing my family 

“Being part of the DWP Digital Architecture community enables you to grow your career through being able to share and learn with like-minded colleagues within the organisation and beyond. As civil servants, we’re also entitled to five days of learning and development each year to help us perform better in our work. 

“I’m passionate about helping others to develop too, mentoring and coaching colleagues in what they can do to develop their careers, based on my own experiences on what I’ve found useful over the years. 

“I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of what it’s like being an architect with people who are interested in this career path and want to know more, as well as Masters and PHD students who want to understand how certain aspects of IT work within the Civil Service. 

“Enterprise Architecture within DWP Digital is an exciting and challenging world to be part of and has given me the flexibility to enjoy watching my young family grow.”  

Find your digital career in architecture at DWP Digital.