Skip to the content

Graduate Profiles

Andrew Gibb , MSc Audio Acoustics, working at the BBC, UK

"I work for BBC Research and Innovation as a Trainee Technologist. In my job I get to do four six-month long placements in four different areas of research and technology within the BBC.

The main thing I would say about the trainee technologist role is that it is varied. I am in my second placement just now, and I've moved from Audio to 3DTV! Now, admittedly, they are both essentially signal processing, and so lots of knowledge carries over, but I still have to learn a huge amount. In future placements I have the opportunity to work on Radio Frequency engineering, metadata, human computer interaction, or on something completely different like project management or technology consultancy (A trainee colleague of mine is in the process of reviewing a £15M technology budget!)

In general the work here is fun and exciting. I have been lucky enough to have worked on two "blue sky" projects, where there was more emphasis on good (mad?) ideas than on deadlines. There are projects with deadlines too, though. Another colleague has spent his first placement writing an important piece of code that will form an interface between a server and a client in the next generation of free-to-air set top boxes. He said he found the work quite stimulating, and got finished well ahead of time.

Like all large organisations, the BBC is not without its problems. This came as something of a shock to me, having previously worked in a 20-man acoustic consultancy where, if you disagreed witha management decision, you could turn around in your chair and talk to the guy who'd made that decision. There's a lot of change going on at the BBC just now, but Research is held in favourable light by the management at the moment.

We are soon to move the department to White City which I think will improve our interaction with the people who use the tools and ideas we create.

There is a lot for someone with no experience of broadcasting to learn. I get the impression that in five years I will be a technologist (the grade to which one is promoted at the end of a traineeship), but will be looking for a promotion to senior technologist. I would expect to be a specialist and expert in one or a small number of fields. Then again, the BBC is also full of opportunities. I may have moved to a completely different role in program making or accounting(!) in one of the regions.

I may be on a placement with NHK in Japan. Or I might be in the consultancy team trying to get my head around my own set of multi-million pound budgets.

The BBC is an exciting place to work, full of opportunity for a varied and interesting career, whether you choose to specialise technologically, or generalise into consultancy (or fulfill your lifelong dream to be a childrens TV presenter by finding the right email address and doing some pestering)."