Senior Platform Engineer, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
17 Jun 2022
Continuing our series spotlighting the roles and lives of our employees, Chris Wardell, a senior platform engineer based in our Leeds office, tells us about his typical working day...
I work from home most of the time but I normally log on by 8.30 every day, fresh from walking our Labrador, Maggie. This is obviously more pleasant in the summer than the winter, but either way it’s great to get out and enjoy some exercise before the working day starts afresh.
I enjoy working from home, but I also relish the chance to see colleagues in the flesh, particularly when it comes to team meetings. I normally go into the office one day a week and when we’re together we always make a point of going out to lunch or for a drink after work. I’ve only been in my current team for about five months so it’s great to see people in more social settings as it helps me get to know them better.
That’s not to say I’m a BAE newbie. I’ve been at the company for a little over three years and have worked on a number of different projects during that time. As an engineer, it’s been great to be able to do different things, spread my wings and pick up some new skills along the way. I always like finding new things to learn and that’s definitely been the case since I started work here.
Whether I’m at the office or at home, my day begins with a quick check of my emails – hopefully there are no nasty surprises lurking which cause me to spill my cup of tea. In essence, my role is to help our developers as they deploy our technology and applications. Sometimes they come up against bugs or other unforeseen difficulties and it’s my job, as a bit of a jack of all trades, to help them address and fix any problems on behalf of our clients.
I didn’t actually train to be an engineer – at least initially. I went to university to study mathematics in preparation for what I thought would be a career as a maths teacher. I did one year and went to cyber security summer school and this gave me the bug – when I was offered a cyber security apprenticeship at I jumped at it, and that’s how it all began.
Mornings tend to fly past in a blur of meetings and phone calls. A lot of it hinges on our morning stand up – that’s where, as a team, we discuss the latest priorities and challenges. It is then down to me to decide where to prioritise, depending on which issue is the most critical.
Sometimes, though, it comes down to being prepared for future issues. For example, just the other day I spent a chunk of time re-organising our support guides – so it really does vary hugely. There’s certainly no chance of me getting bored any time soon.
At lunchtime I try again to head out with Maggie – a great way to re-energise myself for the afternoon ahead – but if I’m in Leeds it’s great to head out. Our office is only a short drive to the centre of Leeds where there are lots of good places to eat and, after the lockdowns, it is really nice to have that ability to choose where to go and what to have, particularly as I’m not from Leeds originally.
I was born and raised in Kent in the south east of England but it’s great to be living in Leeds – it’s really a city on the up with lots of fresh investment and many a crane adorning the horizon. Plus, it’s on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales as well, so it’s a great location in many ways. When I went to university in Lancaster my mum gave me strict instructions not to meet a nice northern gal and settle down but my other half is from Yorkshire so I’ve been making it up to mum ever since!
My typical day normally continues in similar shape to the mornings. At the moment I’m often supporting our DevOps apprentices as they get to grips with our various platforms and services, ensuring they are learning new skills and supporting our clients as their own careers develop. I did this myself on my first role at BAE Systems and it’s nice to be able to help them in a similar fashion as they go about deploying and maintaining their dashboards as the metrics from our monitoring systems flood in.
I tend to log off between 5.30pm and 6pm but sometimes it’s earlier, sometimes it’s later – it really hinges on the volume of work. But I really value the flexibility and work life balance on offer at the company; it’s not about punching a clock, more the quality of the work – and that’s exactly how I like it.
About the author
Chris Wardell is a Senior Platform Engineer at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence