Careers Blog

Meet Tobi James

A day in the life of... An Automation Analyst

20 Jan 2023 - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ever wondered what a day in the life of an Automation Analyst looks like? We chat to Tobi James from our Birmingham office to find out a bit more about what their role involves and their experience of working at Hymans Robertson.  

What’s your current role and how long have you worked at Hymans Robertson?  

I’m an Automation Analyst in the TPA Systems Development team. I recently celebrated my 15 - year anniversary with a meal at Purnell’s in Birmingham. It was incredible to reminisce over that time with some colleagues over fine dining. 

What are your key responsibilities?  

Third Party Administration (TPA) uses a lot of automated calculations to drive efficiency. I analyse the rules to provide a specification to our developers that will create those automated calculations. A number of clients are updating their factors due to the economic situation, or further automation is required to enable their digital journey. Either way, it’s a busy time. 

What does your average day look like?  

Like most people, days can be quite varied. I’m usually picking apart the finer points of the Trust Deed and Rules for a client, querying them with administrators, and then feeding that back to the actuaries. A good day will have me applying those to a spreadsheet to generate test cases for our TPA software, Universal Pensions Management (UPM). I’ve also recently joined the LGBTQ+ Network group where we’re working with Stonewall to review the Hymans policies to ensure they’re worded more inclusively. 

Have you had any other roles since you joined?  

I started as an Administrator in TPA. I like to think that my Excel skills took me towards the Systems Team. I was once told that if I could make a spreadsheet do a calculation, they could replicate it for UPM. It’s a challenge I’ve never forgotten. 

Do you work alongside any other teams?  

The TPA Systems team is broken down into a few more specialist teams. I’ve been around long enough that I’ve gained experience in a few other aspects of UPM and am occasionally quoted as source of information for the other teams. I’m also working closely with the admin teams to ensure we replicate their manual calculations accurately and they have confidence in our automated results. 

What’s your favourite thing about your role?  

Seeing our automated calculations accurately and consistently return my expected results. It’s rewarding knowing that they’ll be reliable for years, or until the Trustees change the rules again. 

How do you find the balance between home / office working?   

When I’m at home, I can focus on the work and contact people when I need them thanks to MS Teams. I can also get a lunch bike ride in to use that time for my mental health and churn through work problems in my head while there are fewer people on the road. When I’m in the office, there’s more of a buzz around and I get to feel more social. The tea rounds are larger, but there’s often more biscuits and work conversations are more fluid and casual rather than having to be planned or tentatively requested first. 

What are your hobbies outside of work?  

I try to cycle regularly and can usually be found on Strava uploading another hilly ride, though there aren’t that many in this area. I also crochet a mean elephant, well, a cute cuddly one, and anything else I can find a pattern for. I’ll even take requests and charge a reasonable rate :)

Any hidden talents we don’t know about?   

I started learning the piano during the pandemic. It was my hope to have a singalong at Christmas but I’ve not even mastered the 12 days of Christmas, maybe 7 days by Craig David will be easier, or shorter. 

What does the future hold for you? i.e. do you see any opportunities for development within Hymans?  

I’ve accepted a new role as an Automation Developer, so I’ll soon be coding the calculations for UPM that I’m currently writing the specifications for. It’s an exciting chapter of my story that should give me more to learn and open more opportunities further down the line. 

Any additional benefits working here that stand out for you personally?  

I came out as bi and trans during the pandemic, to myself, my friends and family, and finally to people at Hymans. I’ve had nothing but support from everyone, both while working from home and while commuting into the office. Hymans Robertson and its people have been a key player in my personal journey as well as my professional one. 

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