Chris had been aware of professional registration for many years, however it was only recently that he finally spurred himself into action and applied for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.
“CEng personally means that I now have the external recognition of my competence. In the workplace it demonstrates a level of professional credibility when dealing with external companies or bodies...”
Chris Croot works as the UK Access Network Architect for BT Technology, Service and Operations. He is responsible for maintaining the architecture and long-term view of the access platform’s evolution, which includes everything from BT’s superfast broadband products through to its digital private circuits network. The role has both a forward-looking responsibility to drive and evolve the platform towards ‘faster, better, cheaper and greener’ platforms and to police the changes to the architecture to ensure that the platform does not diverge from that agreed.
His career has been hugely successful and over the years he’s gathered a vast range of skills and experience. After completing a BSc in physics with medical applications he started graduate life as a PC support analyst, where he spent two years expanding his knowledge of IT and networking.
“I then took a role as an IT and telecoms manager at Westell Europe where I furthered my IT knowledge with project management, network design, budget management & people management,” he says. “It also gave me an opportunity to develop my DSL skills and liaise between the development engineers, customer solutions team and customers. Following Westell being taken over and the office eventually being shut, I took voluntary redundancy and started my own IT and telecoms consultancy where amongst other roles I was able to obtain a contract with BT, eventually taking a full time role at the company and closing my company down.”
At BT Chris spent around a decade working within the Broadband Access Networks team, developing the latest xDSL and related technologies.
“During those years, I have been involved in the development of BT’s DLM systems and have many patents in that area filed along with many internal BT awards. I was recently voted in as co-chair of the Broadband Forum’s Operations and Network Management Working Group and also represent BT at the UK NICC DSL Task Group. Within these external roles, I am able to drive best practice back within the industry,” he enthuses.
Professional registration had stayed at the back of Chris’s mind until BT first set up pilot ‘fast track’ scheme with the IET. This sadly didn’t materialise into a permanent pathway until much later, however, Chris registered with a mentor and began to give CEng some serious thought. It was then he came across an issue.
“My degree wasn’t IET accredited and no one was able to confirm if my degree fulfilled the educational requirements of CEng,” he says.
Following a few years without pushing forward, Chris attended a BT ALP Gold program, which entails taking a third of an MA course and results in a PGCert. He discovered that he needed to achieve CEng in order to complete a related BT ALP, and it was this that spurred him into completing the application form and applying.
Chris’ application was approved and he considered CEng both a personal and professional stamp of approval.
“CEng personally means that I now have the external recognition of my competence. In the workplace it demonstrates a level of professional credibility when dealing with external companies or bodies,” he notes.
The IET and BT now has a new partnership in place to support professional registration within the company, and Chris volunteers as a mentor on the scheme. He has already helped several colleagues prepare their applications and talk them through his experiences of the interview process.
“I definitely recommend professional registration and there are several reasons colleagues should apply. It raises pride in oneself by demonstrating an external body confirms you have a particular level of professionalism and experience. It also forces better behaviour in documentation and record keeping and drives continuous professional development,” he explains.