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Head of Software Practices.

Before starting at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Fahad worked in the private sector for 20 years. He decided to join the Civil Service for its diversity, flexibility, and commitment to the public good.

In 2004, I came to the UK from Pakistan to study artificial intelligence at Manchester University. I later did my PhD in data mining there too.

I was in the private sector for 20 years, but I was conscious it always came down to how much money the company could make.

I also worked in financial technology, including one of the fastest-growing tech companies outside of London, before joining the ONS. I was included in BusinessCloud’s Top 50 North West Tech Transformers for 2022.

I realised I wanted to work somewhere that impacts the bigger picture and help people on a larger scale. That’s what I found most appealing about the public sector, specifically Civil Service.

There’s also a lot of diversity – not just the people, but the types of roles on offer as well.

Currently, I’m the head of software practices. I’m officially based out of the Newport office, but we’ve just opened one in Manchester so I’ll be working there when I’m not working from home.

It’s not uncommon for people to think of the Civil Service as outdated and slow, but at the ONS, there’s a lot of fascinating technology and more autonomy as well.

The ONS has an ambitious vision – I find that really motivating.

Because of my extensive data background, the ONS was a natural fit for me. While it was the job description that helped me move into Civil Service, it’s the ONS culture that I value the most.

I have an excellent team, lovely colleagues, and I can use the flexitime to fit around my family. I have four children – the oldest is in university and the youngest is seven, so it’s a busy home.

In my free time, I used to attend and present at conferences or go on rides on my motorbike. I have since hung up my helmet, but one day, I would love to dig out the chaps again and get back on the bike to travel around Europe.

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