"My colleagues have become some of my closest friends"
Joseph Abram, Next Generation Modelling Systems (NGMS) Programme Scientific Software Engineer, shares his experience of joining the Met Office during lockdown, and why he’s always looking to the future.
My name is Joe, and I am a Scientific Software Engineer for the Met Office. I work in a team of amazing people collectively known as the ExCALIBUR Pool (yes we have a round table, no we’re not allowed a sword – I’ve checked). We’re part of the Next Generation Modelling Systems Programme (NGMS), which is helping to redesign the operational and production systems throughout the Met Office, fully exploiting the next generations of supercomputers for the benefit of society.
In all honesty, I never intended to come and work for the Met Office. Weather was just a thing that happened in the sky, and occasionally a really handy conversation starter when things were getting awkward. When I was about ten I wanted to be a vet, but that fell apart quickly when I realised I was allergic to anything with fur. So, I went on to study things which didn’t have fur - rocks. And to cut a long story short, a few exams, essays, and a lot of imposter syndrome later, I got invited to have a tour of the Met Office. A tour which eventually led to me being recruited as part of the NGMS programme.
I started working for the Met Office in May 2020 at a time which I shall always remember as ‘the height of lockdown’ and my first year was entirely remote. Working during the first COVID wave, for a completely new company, in a new city, with colleagues whose heads and shoulders I would only learn had knees and toes attached 12 months later, was a daunting prospect. I cannot stress enough how supportive, friendly and encouraging everyone I worked with was during that first year and has continued to be for my career so far. Two years into my role, and I keep having to pinch myself for how lucky I feel working for such a supportive, highly respected and world-leading organisation alongside colleagues who have become some of my closest friends.
The Met Office offers roles working at the cutting-edge of science, with people who are some of, if not the best in their field. However, you probably don’t need me to tell you that. The Met Office’s reputation and work in the public sector can speak for itself. What really makes working for the Met Office great is how well it treats its employees, and that is something that is hard to get across in a job description. Everything from promoting and providing support for mental wellbeing, celebrating minority groups, flexible working hours, hybrid working and allowing time for personal development as part of your work week all add up to it being such an amazing company to work for. Not to mention Devon is such a stunning and beautiful county, and I’m only a 10-minute train ride away from the sea!
In my role as part of NGMS, I’m always getting to explore new software, while also experimenting with ways to optimise and renew existing code. This means that there are always aspects of my work I’m very comfortable with, and areas where I get to learn and progress my skills. My team members have a wide variety of tech experience (remember my background is in rocks…). So if coding and software are part of your interests, even on a small scale, the NGMS programme could be for you. It’s all working towards the future, creating more accurate weather forecasts at faster speeds, helping you make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.
So, to finish, if there is any part of this that appeals to you, my advice would be to apply for a role here! We’re always looking for new and exciting minds to help drive us into the next generation of weather, climate and tech. And if you end up as part of the ExCALIBUR team, maybe we can have another go at getting a team sword.
To see the latest job opportunities at the Met Office, click here.