Abigail Seager is a Systems Engineer at the BBC. We caught up with her for our In Focus series, which highlights the work of inspirational women from across the sector.
Hi Abigail, great to catch up! Could you tell us more about your role at the BBC?
I’m a Systems Engineer working in a team that manages a large IP network used for contribution. We help get contributions back to base from all over the country and the rest of the world using a large IP network that we support, maintain and develop. A lot of the work we do is with BBC News and BBC Sport on live contributions which could be anything from a news bulletin outside Downing Street, to building connectivity solutions for major events like last year’s Royal Weddings, Glastonbury, Wimbledon or the Olympics to name a few.
What does a day in your working life look like?
The best thing about this job for me is that no day is really the same. Some are full of design workshops with other teams to make plans for events or changes to the core network, other times I’m on site at an event setting up or monitoring streams and sometimes I’m building or improving the systems we use to monitor the state of the network. I can do most of my job from pretty much anywhere, so I go to different offices and catch up with other teams that we work with and take any opportunity I can to get out and about!
How did you begin your career and what inspired you to look at jobs within the broadcast technology sector?
Ending up in broadcast engineering was somewhat accidental for me. At the end of my degree I really didn’t know what I wanted to do so I started looking at different graduate schemes and happened across an advert for the BBC’s Engineering Trainee Programme. I joined the BBC on that scheme in 2014 and fortunately found myself falling into a career I really enjoy. I’d never considered broadcasting as an industry I could work in, and it really was only chance that led me to it. I spend a lot of time these days trying to tell young people about what I do in the hopes that some of them might think about broadcasting as an option much earlier!
What are the main challenges facing the sector over the coming year?
There’s a big broadcast IP skills gap to fill. Convincing great young engineers to come our way is one challenge. And as broadcasting is moving ever more towards the world of IP, we’re going to need to give today’s great broadcast engineers the skills needed for the kind of broadcasting we’re going to be doing more of in the future.
What are your main challenges over the coming year?
Mostly just keeping up with the pace of change! There’s always a lot going on and plenty to keep me on my toes. It can be hard to balance my day to day job with personal development so I’ve committed myself to giving more time this year to the things that I really want to do to develop in my role. We’re heading into an exciting season of summer events, with Wimbledon and Glastonbury coming up and I’m looking forward to helping plan for the Tokyo Olympics next year.