Thomas Dack

Scientific Computing Graduate

"STFC offers the chance to work at a world-leading research organisation with a range of great benefits."

What attracted you to STFC? 

When looking for potential jobs I ideally wanted to find one that would relate to both my Physics BSc and my Computer Science MSc. STFC's graduate scheme struck me as the perfect match for what I was looking for – not only could I find a job using the computer science skills I’d be working on, but it was one based on a world-leading research campus, with a wide range of exciting physics experiments. 

What are the most interesting aspects of your job?

I really enjoy the opportunity to work collaboratively within the field of Scientific computing, doing work which goes towards enabling the great science undertaken by STFC and its partners on site. Being able to start day one on a real project working towards developing the computer cluster infrastructure used the by the ISIS and Diamond experiments was an incredible opportunity, and meant that I really got involved in the work done by the department right from the start. 

What’s been the highlight of your time so far?

As part of my second graduate project, working with the European Indigo Data Cloud project, I was able to attend a project conference in Catania, Sicily. Being able to travel abroad and meet many people from a huge range of different research organisations – including the lead developers for the the software I had been working with – was an incredible experience. 

What is the best part of the STFC culture?

I feel the general community feel within the organisation is the best aspect of the STFC culture, and this is something you really get to experience as a member of the graduate scheme. The workplace has also always felt friendly and approachable, and is somewhere I feel very lucky to work. This, coupled with an excellent holiday allowance and flexible working hours, means that you can control your ideal workflow.

What learning and development opportunities are there for you as a graduate?

As a graduate, there are a huge range of learning opportunities available. Alongside the core CRISTAL training scheme (which includes the Skern residential week!) there will also be training opportunities relevant to your work open to you. Should you feel you need training in a specific area to improve your work, you can discuss this with your Line Manager and the chances are it will be organised for you. 

Tell us about your role in presenting the work STFC does to the general public? 

I have been heavily involved in a range of Public Engagement activities since starting at STFC. Recently I have been running an after-school club with another graduate at a local school, where we have been teaching children the basics of coding using Lego Mindstorms kits. This club will culminate with a “RAL Robot Challenge” day on the RAL campus where our school and others will come and compete in a set of challenges using the robot and the coding skills they have learnt.

What would you say to a potential applicant?

STFC offers the chance to work at a world-leading research organisation with a range of great benefits. It is a great working environment with an excellent graduate scheme. Working here is an opportunity I would wholeheartedly recommend.

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