QA Apprenticeship for Software and Web Developers
Zach Said claims he’s always had a practical outlook on life - the kind of person who’d take something apart to see how it works rather than wait to have it explained to him. It was this practical outlook that was behind his decision to take a QA Advanced IT Apprenticeship for Software and Web Developers.
“Getting paid whilst I learn just made sense, it’s a huge practical advantage that lets me do things I might not be able to do otherwise. Having money in my pocket isn’t just nice – it means I can make the most of life.”
That’s not to say that Zach’s only motivation is money – far from it. He’d always been interested in maths based subjects at school, had a fascination with computers and wanted to work in IT, yet he didn’t feel that further time spent in a classroom environment would suit him or the way he likes to learn. The hands-on nature of apprenticeships appealed to him and the fact that he’d be doing real work of real value, in the real world.
“QA found me a placement with Occam Systems who develop software solutions that allow universities and colleges to manage their student accommodation. That means that I’m helping people my own age who chose to go to university – not that I would want to change places with them!”
Doesn’t he feel he’s missing out on the social aspects of higher education though?
“The apprenticeship I’m on means spending time at a residential QA location learning about C# Programming, software and web development and SQL. It’s pretty full on but there’s plenty of time to socialise and make new friends. It’s certainly not all work and we can have fun knowing we’re not getting into debt while we’re doing it.”
That combination of learning and work also means Zach’s building up experience that he hopes will help him reach his ultimate goal of becoming an IT consultant. More and more employers look for experience as well as qualifications and it is commonsense that they’ll tend to prefer a candidate who has both to one that does not. Zach sees this as a real advantage he’ll have in the future.
“It’s not just theory, I’m currently working on a BCP file export which is going to be used commercially – so it simply has to work. Being able to tell employers that I’ve actually built something and made it work is going to impress them far more than saying I’ve learnt it from a book.”
Zach has not, however, discounted full-time education altogether and sees that university is still a route that’s open to him in the future.
“If it makes sense and helps my career I’ll certainly consider university. The great thing is that taking an apprenticeship doesn’t limit my options in any way – it really is a practical choice.”