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10 things you probably didn’t know about IT and management consulting firm CGI

21 Jun 2023, 15:42

CGI may not be a household name but its products, systems and IT solutions are used by clients across the UK and around the world, making it one of the biggest providers in the business. CGI early careers recruitment specialist Simone Aitken offers more insights so you can get to know the firm and decide if it would be a good fit for you.

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1 What does CGI do?

CGI 's customers and clients are businesses, governments, banks, space and defence organisations, and companies in the energy and utilities sectors.

We don’t produce computer hardware and we have nothing to do with the computer-generated images (the other CGI that might spring to mind) of the film, video game and television world.

2 Why haven’t more people heard about CGI?

We’re not a household name because we’re not consumer facing, though we’ve probably provided a solution or system that you’ve benefited from, come into contact with or been involved in without you even knowing.

3 Who are CGI’s customers?

They are many and varied but, for instance, we work with 25 of the world’s top banks and eight of the largest utility companies, and our security operation centres handle more than 80 million cyber-attacks every day (yes, daily!). We provide our clients with application services, business consulting, business process services, digital transformation, IT infrastructure services, IT outsourcing services and systems integration services. We also have our own intellectual property.

4 Tell us more about CGI's history

CGI was founded in 1976 by two ambitious 26-year-old entrepreneurs, Serge Godin and Andre Imbeau, in Quebec, Canada. They used Serge’s basement as their first office, had only one phone and one client, and made $138,000 dollars in their first year in business. CGI’s original name was Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique (Information Systems and Management Consultants, in English). Nearly 50 years later CGI is the fifth largest IT consultancy in the world, with 88,000 consultants in 400 locations across 40 countries; last year the business made more than $12bn.

5 What projects has CGI been involved in that we might have heard of?

  • We have been working on the European Space Agency’s satellite mission control systems since the early 1970s and now our artificial intelligence (AI) systems are contributing to Europe’s first surface mission to Mars.
  • CGI developed the world’s first automated payments clearing system, known as CHAPS.
  • The SMS text system, invented by CGI, revolutionised the world of communications.
  • CGI also developed Teletext, which was the world’s first digital public information system. At one time it was received by 80% of televisions worldwide. Now our OpenMedia solution keeps BBC news on air continuously around the world.
  • CGI built the Police National Database, which connects UK law enforcement and helps protect the vulnerable in society.
  • CGI uses satellite imaging to forecast UK crop yields for sustainable food production.
  • Together with the European Space Agency CGI has developed a mapping service that combines earth observation, AI and cloud computing to monitor the impact of wildfires.

6 Sounds impressive! What makes CGI different to other technology employers?

The people who work at CGI are not referred to as employees but as members. Over 90% of CGI members are shareholders in the business and therefore owners. As owners, each member feels a personal responsibility to ensure business success.

7 Where are CGI’s offices in the UK?

Our offices are all over the UK – Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Chippenham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gloucester, Liverpool, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Reading, Solihull, South Wales, Surrey, Chelmsford and more.

8 What graduate job opportunities does CGI have?

We have roles for technical graduates, technical trainees and business graduates, and a space, defence and intelligence graduate scheme for 2023. We also run industrial placements.

9 And what about career development?

You can grow your career in the direction you want, in any number of locations, under a permanent contract. This is not just in the industry or division you start in but also following the path you decide you want to pursue as your career progresses.

10 But definitely no special effects in movies and video games?

We’re all about real life solutions. But if you’re talking about space… we help clients with complex space software systems and deliver space-enabled solutions and space cybersecurity. And we do have a series of space podcasts you can listen to .

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