Tom Amex Journey

Tom 2018 Cohort

When applying to the apprenticeship at American Express I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew that I wanted to work in this industry but I didn't know what the right path to get into it would be. Traditionally, to be a software engineer you needed a degree in computer science and I don't have that and I didn't want to go to university for 3 years, be thousands of pounds in debt and only then get to work in the industry I wanted to. I was quite shocked when I saw that a company with the scale and reputation of American Express was offering an apprenticeship in software engineering. Just reading through the job specification was enough for me to know that this is what I wanted and this is the way I will get into the industry.

Going into the apprenticeship I knew that I would learn a lot of important skills about Software Engineering but I had no idea how accelerated that process would be. The bootcamp at the start of the apprenticeship gave me the foundational skills required to create software at American Express. I learnt the Java programming language from a basic level all the up to an advanced level. I also learnt how to use build tools such as Maven or Gradle and version control systems like Git - I didn't even know that these existed before the apprenticeship but I was trained with them to the level that I was completely comfortable with using them every day for work.

Post bootcamp, I was provided with everything I needed to become a successful Software Engineer. Every employee is given a subscription to PluralSight for video courses and Safari Books for nearly every technical book so I was able to continue to learn and develop as an engineer even after the initial training was over. Less than a year into the apprenticeship, my team recognised my significant progress and value so I was offered a permanent position as a Software Engineer at American Express and I still receive the same support, training and career advice I need to keep improving at my work. Today, me and the team develop a full-stack distributed web application which is used globally. Day to day, I work with Java/Spring on the backend and JavaScript/ReactJS on the frontend, they communicate with each other using REST APIs. The apprenticeship has set me up so that if I needed to learn a new piece of technology, which is very common, it is no longer a huge daunting task, I get on with it and embrace the opportunity to learn.

From the apprenticeship, I have learned how to be a competent Java engineer and have learned enough software development skills to become a valued member of a team. I continue to be offered opportunities to learn both as part of the apprenticeship and as an American Express employee.

I couldn't recommend this apprenticeship enough to anybody who wants to get into Software Engineering professionally. There is a lot of work in the early stages but the knowledge you gain is very worthwhile.

Software Development

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