I first joined the company I currently work with nearly 10 years ago, as a Data Entry Clerk. In just over 2 years I had created an Access database that was being used by a large number of Substance Misuse Agencies across Wales, and secured a job as a Software Developer – my career was off to a flying start, or so I thought.
Perhaps it was naivety, but my master plan to learn all I could for a few years and then be on my way- onward and upwards – didn’t come to fruition. So now, some 8 years later I am in a slump; I have the job title I want, but sadly not the technical skills to accompany it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have technical abilities, but they largely reside in Microsoft SQL Server; creating databases and procedures to transform data, performance tuning queries and index analysis etc. For new recruits joining our company, this is seen as one string to the bow, and by itself isn’t enough to secure a job as a developer.
Our company also operates a pool of developers; any free developer whose skills meet a project will be used. So, the aim of the apprenticeship is to gain another string by learning a C-based language. The practical nature of the course, and the close association with work means I have to show proof of knowledge and skills, and in so doing will get more exposure from the pool: the more I seen to have skills in other areas, the more I will be used in those other areas.
My goal is become a confident Software Developer, rather than having a job “in name only”. And to have opportunities to work with new projects, new teams and new people, and be seen for who I am now, and the skills I possess now, rather than “the data entry girl” from 10 years ago.