Pathways into Tech: meet Luke Parker

If a pathway into tech interests you, find out how Ex-Royal Engineer Luke Parker found his next career working for Google. Luke started his role in civvy street as a Delivery Executive. A post where he leads lighthouse programs to help customers transform their business using Google Cloud.

Like what you read? Register for Pathways into Tech, being held at the Google Academy, London on Wednesday 11 September 2024 to explore if tech might (or might not!) be for you.

The Forces Employment Charity spoke to Luke to find out more about his own experience.

What made you consider a career in this sector?

After completing an in-service MSc in Geospatial Intelligence I spent several years leading highly skilled data and visualisation analysts. This introduced me to the skills required of leaders in the technology industry. Additionally, I got to spend time at technology conferences where networking opportunities helped grow my network and keep up to date on opportunities in the sector.

Why choose Google?

When I was leaving the Army I was a subscriber to the Purpose, People, and Pounds framework. Google hit all of these. My love in the Army as a Geospatial Intelligence Officer is data and information. Google’s mission is ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ which is a purpose I want to be part of. Google is also synonymous with some of the brightest minds in technology and so satisfies the people area. Finally, the technology sector often compensates its employees far above the UK average. Once I calculated the total package I would need to account for my military salary and benefits (e.g. house, gym). The technology sector was likely to help me achieve this.

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

I was fortunate to have completed a technical in-service MSc, which allowed me to upskill with technology. I would say my experience with technology in the public sector is an in-demand skill in industry. Additionally, confidence in ambiguity is a hugely valuable skill. Being able to move forward to begin creating value without all the information will always impress.

What are your personal positives to your role?

I work within a small team that feels like an internal start-up, supporting many different business areas such as sales, marketing, strategy, and delivery. I’m empowered to take risks within the team and devise 10x ideas without worrying about being shot down.

Any challenges – and how did you overcome them? (If any)

Culture. I think there are not two organisations much further on the opposite sides of the culture spectrum than the Army and Google. However, Google invests a significant amount of time to immerse new Googlers (Nooglers) into the culture.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role in tech?

  1. Network early. Get comfortable with LinkedIn, speak with people in the sector you are joining, have an elevator pitch to message people (your USP) and start attending events for your industry.
  2. Use as much of the free training whilst still in Defence – there are lots of free training and certifications through MOD (search on MODNet) or through charities like the Forces Employment Charity’s TechVets.
  3. You do not have to be a ‘techie’ to work in tech. Many roles require less technical experience, e.g. HR, project management, sales, marketing, security, infrastructure and finance. Do not write yourself off because you can’t code or you don’t have a cloud certification.

Sign up to Pathways into Tech, and other events!

Register for Pathways into Tech today! Living remotely in the UK or overseas? You can register to livestream the day’s event! We are also running a regional evening event later in September/early October, so sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll keep you posted.

Consider also our fully funded online LinkedIn Essentials course, which will take place on 14 November. Our newsletter will let you know when registrations are live for that.

Our ‘Pathways into…’ events are part of Op PROSPER

The Forces Employment Charity provides one of three workstreams of Op PROSPER; a government-led programme through the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, awarded to us through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. We provide the Employment Pathway workstream through our ‘Pathways into…’ events which aims to empower veterans and their families, the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, enabling them to thrive in society by ensuring equal access to employment opportunities and supporting them into sustainable, valuable careers.


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