One hour later… I started work
How it all started
May 2018 arrived, and just as another half a million students started their GCSE’s, I started mine too. But unlike most people who were planning to go to some of the best colleges in Manchester afterwards, I sure wasn’t.
It started off when I was 8 when my Uncle casually took me aside and said, “do you want to learn how to program?” After 10 minutes, I was sat at the computer and just had my first program running in front of me – the notorious “Hello World” project in C.
Programming has since then, been “my thing”. In the past 8 years, I’ve dabbled in, researched about, and learnt millions of things in the programming world.
There has been nothing more rewarding than the sheer joy of building things – from simple calculator projects and text encryption utilities to data analysis tools and real-world management projects. When you’re 8, there aren’t many things you have control over, but with programming, I made the rules – the only limitation was my knowledge.
Fast forward to 14, and even though I don’t hate other subjects or the standard educational route, I hated my computing lessons. Lessons I saw no value in – how would the internal structure of the CPU help me? Do I have to memorise binary tables or know how to convert from binary to hex by hand?
After hours and hours of learning and teaching the curriculum, I could see people preferred the theory more and that was just because the practical lessons weren’t in the correct format.
At this point, I could see why most people hated computing – this was “academic” computing, not the computing I was used to.
Motivating others to program
In an attempt to take matters into my own hands, I set up computing revision sessions mainly to do with the programming aspect of the exams. All the tips, tricks and analogies I had made for myself to grasp the most difficult concepts now helped me to teach others how to think like me too and get past the massive wall that has been created.
The “I can’t program and will never program” wall. 25, 30, even 40 students in one session at a time and I felt like it was working – students now didn’t say I can’t do it, they said I just can’t do it yet. I was available before school, during school, after school to help anyone with their computing and robotics projects and this expanded to year groups below me.
Then the opportunity knocked on the door
After I had completed my exams and the Head of Computing saw my efforts, I was offered one month’s work experience as a computing teacher which I absolutely loved.
Encouraging a “go through the problems – code – ask for help and move on” mind-set with the students really paid off. There was a notable increase in grades and an improved understanding of the subject matter in practical projects.
In the midst of these sessions, and these years, I had always sustained an excellent relationship with a teacher who worked in our school’s Employability Department.
During my work placement, I met up with him and told him about my programming background and how I got to where I was. He immediately got his phone out, told me to wait, and made a phone call.
He ended the call and sent me an address where I would have to attend a meeting with someone he spoke highly of.
That was the 4th of July and a day later I was offered an apprenticeship as a Software Developer with Desap System Solutions Limited.
Fast forward to Thursday 23rd August, I collected my GCSE results.
One hour later…
I was in the lift going up to the 2nd floor to Desap’s offices. Even though it’s only been a few days since I started at Desap, I have comprehended and applied a superior capacity of new concepts in my work amongst the fantastic team here.
I have already been handed tasks and project work which equally challenge and interest me and I strive to be a better person, developer, team worker and employee day by day.
I am sure an apprenticeship is exactly the path that will give me the platform to use my potential, to nurture, grow and expand my skills and it is exactly the dream opportunity I have been looking for.
Here is definitely the place where I know I will be learning constantly, seeing how code can make a difference in real world professional projects, working alongside some of the most talented programmers, designers, testers and project managers.
Now please excuse me while I get to a new project of ours :)
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