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RAW Success: Starting a Software Development Career

RAW Success: What’s it like to hire an apprentice with RAW Talent?
28th July 2020
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RAW Success: Starting a Software Development Career

Alina started our Software Development Academy in July of this year and is already taking big steps in her career by securing an apprenticeship with digital marketing company Colehouse Digital, based in Middlesborough. We caught up with her to discuss how she’s finding her new role and how the RAW Digital Academy helped her achieve her dream career.

What was your experience with Software Development before the RAW Talent Academy?

Before the RAW Talent Academy, pretty much everything I knew about Software Development was self-taught. My Dad was the one who got me interested in Software Development and told me about all the benefits of doing Software Development as a career. Before this, I had no IT background whatsoever and had never done it in college or school so it was very new to me. It was around this time the Pandemic started and I had a lot of free time at home. I was still deciding on what to do after college, so I started researching Software Development; the kind of things I needed to do, and the skills I needed to have. I found lots of free online courses and saw that this was definitely something I could get into. I began applying for apprenticeships within Software Development, and that’s when I was told about the RAW Digital Course.


What did you hope to get out of the programme?

I hoped that from the programme I’d get more of an understanding of what Software Development actually was, and what kind of things I’d be doing. I think in a field like this especially the best way to learn is to actually do it, and that by doing the RAW Digital Course I’d actually get to experience what it would be like.


What was your most valuable takeaway from the RAW Talent Academy?

I think my most valuable takeaway from the RAW Digital Course was a lot of the Work Place Professionalism skills. Software Development in general is something you never stop learning about, but the WPP skills can affect your relationships with people within a working environment. These skills establish your reputation in a working environment and highlight the importance of maintaining good business relationships.


What were your next steps after the Academy? What opportunities did this programme lead to?

After the Academy was over, I felt I had a better understanding of Software Development overall and I continued applying for apprenticeships, although this time I had more confidence in myself that I knew what it was I’d be doing as an apprentice Software Developer. I got interviews and was offered a job with a brilliant company within weeks.


What kinds of technical knowledge did the RAW Talent Academy cover?

The course was two weeks long and in the second week, we did the technical training. This involved things like introductions to programming and OOP (object-oriented programming), understanding general Software Development, Web Applications, Desktop Applications and Databases. At the same time, we used visual studios and did some of our own coding to create our own web pages. I liked the fact that we could actually do a lot of the things we were learning about at the same time, which definitely made understanding the technical knowledge easier.


What about softer skills? Like how to be in the workplace, how did the programme help you become work-ready?

The first week of the RAW Digital Course covered workplace professionalism and also covered skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, an organised approach, responsibilities and attitudes, communication skills, project management and interview skills. Learning about these skills in-depth really helped me understand more about workplace professionalism and helped me become confident about getting into a real working environment. The interview techniques especially, as this is something I’ve personally struggled with. RAW gave so much support with this and helped me become ready for my interviews.


What have your first few weeks been like when you started at Colehouse? Did your RAW training give you confidence?

My first few weeks at Colehouse have been a huge learning experience. Everyone here is amazing, and it’s an environment that encourages you to learn as you work, and ask questions when you can’t do something. You are never expected to know everything, and as someone who is new to Software Development, it gives you confidence knowing that there are always people to turn to whenever you’re struggling with something. Doing the RAW course really gave me confidence as I felt like I had a better understanding of Software Development, even without any previous experience.


Did the RAW Software Development Academy help you in your apprenticeship training or assignments?

Yes – the RAW Software Development Academy covered a lot of things I’m currently doing as a Junior Developer at Colehouse. Understanding general Software Development, desktop applications and web applications all helped me understand my role better. Having hands-on experience at the same time was probably most beneficial of all because I could see exactly what it is I’d be doing and learn as I went along.


What made you want to go down the apprenticeship route rather than uni?

My original plan was to go to University and I had applied to several different ones to do Education studies until I realised that Uni just wasn’t for me. I’ve always been more of a hands-on learner and doing an apprenticeship was the best option because I got to learn while actually being on the job, so all the skills I will get from my training can be applied directly while earning at the same time. I think an apprenticeship is one of the best things someone can do if they are unsure about what it is they want to do because you can learn about your role at the same time as actually doing it and see if it’s the right thing for you.


Would you recommend the RAW Digital Talent Academy to other people interested in a career in software development?

As someone who had no previous experience in IT, Tech, or Software Development, I would 100% recommend the RAW Digital Talent Academy for people interested in Software Development. It’s a real learning experience, where you are not only taught about Software Development but also given the chance to apply what you have learned, with a qualification at the end. There’s so much support involved within the course, even after it’s over RAW stay in touch to see how you’re getting on. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in starting a career in Software Development or just someone who wants to get a feel of what it’s all about.

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