Image for blog post: 'Settling into a new role, new city and a new tech scene' - Yanju from DWP Digital

'Settling into a new role, new city and a new tech scene' - Yanju from DWP Digital

Profile photo for Hannah Mitchell

Hannah Mitchell

Published on 22nd August, 2023

In this blog post we hear from DWP Digital's Yanju, who tells us all about settling into her new role as a Product Manager and what life is like at DWP Digital. She also talks about her journey into tech and her experience so far of the local tech scene in Birmingham.

I’m a product manager at DWP Digital.

DWP Digital is focused on digital transformation at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), we build and maintain user-friendly digital services that enable millions of people to access the help, advice, and financial support they need. We have millions of users, from people who need to claim benefit, get help finding a job, or understand their State Pension, we’re the team designing, developing, and delivering the services they need.

I work with the cross-cutting service design team in the service orchestration space.We are responsible for cross-cutting assumptions attached to the Health Transformation Programme (HTP). The Health Transformation Programme is one of the largest programmes in government, impacting an estimated 5.8 million people in 2025/26. The aim is to make the process for Personal Independent Payments (PIP) and the Health Assessment Service simpler, more user-friendly, easier to navigate and more joined-up for claimants. While delivering better value for money for taxpayers.

As a product manager I work with various stakeholders across strategic and operational areas to ensure alignment towards the HTP service vision. It is really motivating and fulfilling working on a programme of this size and scale. What I enjoy most is knowing that millions of people will be positively impacted by the work I’m doing.

My journey into tech

I started my career as a relationship manager in a leading financial services company where I was able transition into digital roles including product marketing, user experience and product management. I have since worked in several other organisations across various industries, before recently joining DWP Digital.

In my career journey so far, I’ve been able to do some amazing work in the tech industry and as a result I was endorsed as a UK global exceptional talent; one of the reasons I moved to the UK. I plan to continue driving digital transformation and making positive impact in my role at DWP Digital as it provides the opportunity to apply learnings and skills from my previous experiences over the years.

Joining DWP Digital

As an impact and purpose driven individual, I always want to do more and be more. So, when I was considering my next career move, I was looking for an organisation that had clear ambitions. I wanted a place where I could do my best work, be myself and make an impact. I also wanted somewhere that truly appreciates the power of diversity and the value that offers.

DWP Digital’s ‘Digital With Purpose’ message and what this meant resonated with me. I looked at DWP Digital’s LinkedIn and Careers Website and found that every interaction supported this message. I read blog posts and interviews from colleagues working on impactful initiatives and I was impressed by their personal experiences and thrilled by the opportunity to proffer solutions that make a positive difference to millions of citizens.

When I saw the role of product manager advertised within the health function located in the new Birmingham hub, I was happy to apply because my tech experience and health academic background was a perfect match for the job description.

Now, here I am a few months into the role. So far it has been interesting, and I feel like I’ve already started making significant difference with my involvement in such an important transformation programme. I can’t wait to see how things unfold in the near future.

Birmingham tech scene

I moved to Birmingham a little over a year ago because it has an exciting blend of everything. It’s a great place to live and work for young people, especially if you have a family. There’s a fine blend of buzz and serenity. It’s a diverse place with easy access to other cities, good schools, shopping, sports, fun activities and of course the tech scene.

The Birmingham tech scene is one of the fastest growing in the UK and is becoming more established every day. It’s the best place to be. I’m part of the UK global talent community, Female Techpreneur and other tech communities, and I often attend meet ups with other techies.

As part of DWP Digital’s partnership with Fusion, I recently attended their quarterly meetup on 13 July. This was a great opportunity for me to get involved more with the community. I love meeting people, learning from others, and building relationships, so I really enjoyed connecting to friendly likeminded people in a sociable and relaxed environment. A talk from Monzo on how they prepare for huge spikes in traffic and keeping operations running smoothly was particularly interesting.

Working in Birmingham

DWP Digital opened the Birmingham Hub just over a year ago. It’s exciting to be one of the pioneer members of the digital team in the Hub. When I saw the workspace, I was pleasantly surprised, the collaborative spaces, the level of detail, and accessibility considerations. It’s a perfect example of a modern digital workspace.

I’d call it a 5-star office, it even has a lovely view of the Birmingham library and environs. It is located at the new Arena Central development, a central location which is easy to get to with good transport links.

We have a hybrid working pattern, which means you can blend office working with working from home, I typically go into the Hub twice a week. I enjoy working in person with colleagues and building personal relationships.

The flexible working is helpful for a great work life balance.

Supportive culture

In my 13 years of experience working in several organisations, of a range of different sizes, I can say that I am very impressed with the development opportunities on offer at DWP Digital.

There is a deliberate intent to ensure that employees are constantly learning. Training opportunities are promoted well, with open communication on what is available.All you need to do is indicate interest, its up to you but if you are interested there is lots available.

My line manager is amazing and very supportive. We’re encouraged and given time away from the day job to learn. I’ve attended multiple workshops and conferences already, including leadership trainings. I’m a strong believer in continuous learning so I can improve my skills and stay up to date with trends in the industry.

I have an amazing multidisciplinary team that is very collaborative. There is a great sense of purpose and motivation in the team, we all share the same vision and desire to do the best for the citizens and DWP. Colleagues are open to new ideas and change; we want to keep making things better and improving.

I’m part of the DWP Women’s Network and the Product Profession Practice network.

The practice has a Microsoft Teams group and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where we talk about different topics.

DWP Digital is such a diverse working environment where it’s not just your work that’s valued but you are valued too. DWP Digital is truly ‘Digital With Purpose’.