Yesterday I handed in my notice at BJSS, where I've worked as a Software Developer (i.e. Computer Programmer) for nearly 13 years, and in just under a month I will be starting a new job as an Application Developer (pretty much the same thing) for Christians Against Poverty (CAP).
For a long time I've wanted to use my computing skills to do something I really believe in, and for me this is a perfect opportunity. CAP are a sizeable organisation with growing and changing I.T. needs where it looks as though my skills and experience will come in very useful.
CAP are also a charity, dedicated to helping those who are struggling under the weight of unpayable debt. This means I get to spend all my time during work hours helping to make the world a better place by doing something that makes a real difference to people's lives. For me, this is far more motivating than writing trading, pricing and reporting systems for banks and finance companies, which is a large part of what I do at the moment. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to do this, and to make a living out of it at the same time!
As you might expect, the salary is a little less than I'm used to, but CAP value their staff very highly (they have won the Sunday Times "Best Small Company to Work for" award twice in the last few years) and pay well for a voluntary sector organisation.
There are also some technical challenges, in that charities tend to use different technologies to businesses, so I have some new skills to learn which may not be as useful to me if I decide to go back to a commercial role in the future. I will enjoy learning them though, and CAP are keen to do what they can to help me keep my other skills up to date.
I share one other passion with CAP, which is a desire to share the central message of the Christian faith as widely as possible! CAP are an overtly Christian organisation, are keen to share this message and do so when appropriate with any clients who want to listen. They are not into forcing this message on anyone, and aim "to ensure that nobody receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability" (https://www.capdebthelp.org/en_GB/clientfaqs), but many clients do find faith in God through their work, and they have some incredible stories of those whose lives have been transformed - emotionally and spiritually, as well through finding freedom from debt.
I have enjoyed my time at BJSS (well, mostly anyway!), and have worked with many great people on some varied and interesting projects. I feel sad to be leaving BJSS and will miss it and the people I've worked with, but am also excited about finally having an opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for so long, as well as grateful to BJSS for providing me with the experience that has made all of this possible.