https://hmrcdigital.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/13/back-to-school/

Back to school

Ngou-Long Kam from HMRC digital teaching at Worthing collegeHi I’m Ngou-Long Kam, a Technical Tester based in Worthing Digital Delivery Centre.  Recently I was invited to Worthing College to run a Computer Science A-Level class and talk about what it's like working in HMRC Digital. The teacher had met us before at Big Bang, an event we'd attended to encourage and raise awareness in science, technology, engineering and maths careers for young people from local schools.

Student turned teacher

Initially, I felt a little nervous as this was my first time in a classroom as the ‘teacher’ not the student. So I had a short planning session with the teacher to organise the interactive activities for the lesson which definitely gave me a confidence boost, and because the activities were based on my personal experience and job role, I knew what I’d be talking about.

On the day of the class, I started off the lesson with a “guess my role” icebreaker, where the students had to ask me questions about my professional life to guess my job role. I included a slide describing my background and after a series of very sensible (and some not so sensible) questions from the group, they managed to work out what I do.

Once we’d all relaxed I moved onto my main presentation which was about digital transformation, how HMRC and digital are connected, and the types of roles we have in our agile teams in HMRC Digital. It was aimed at not just telling the students about HMRC Digital, but to also to illustrate how working in a government department can be exciting and enjoyable and has many interesting roles with something suitable for everybody.

Ngou-Long Kam from HMRC digital teaching at Worthing college

Testing task

As I’m a tester, I planned the lesson based on some testing related tasks for the students, where each group had to perform some exploratory testing and provide a test plan for the given technology. To make the lesson more interactive and entertaining, I brought in three pieces of technology to give the students an idea of the sort of software being developed by HMRC. This included:

  • G-Form: A form builder engine that can build digital forms easily using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)
  • A prototype app which allows users to verify their identity using a selfie
  • The HMRC Mobile App which lets customers view their credit payment, tax code, tax calculator, tracking forms and many other functionalities.

The students had a delightful time trying to “break” the software and produced some outstanding test plans.

Career entry options

To end the lesson, Alex Jackson, HMRC Business Operations Manager, and I spent some time with the students sharing our personal experiences of working in HMRC, as well as explaining some of the entry options we have available, such as graduate, industrial placement and apprenticeship opportunities.

A massive thanks to Worthing College for giving us the opportunity to take part in the lesson, and to the students for the fantastic experience. It is very gratifying to have the opportunity to educate the future generation about the reality and possibility of a technological career in HMRC.

Ngou-Long Kam, Technical Tester - Worthing Digital Delivery Centre

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