Turning a pastime into a career
My journey to Expleo was probably very different to many of my colleagues. My original degree was in Building and Surveying, but the property crash in Ireland and the United Kingdom ended those plans. I moved into retail management but this career path did not fuel my ambitions or aspirations. I decided to risk my secure position and move into new territory by enrolling on the Software Testers Academy.
The Software Testers’ Academy was designed by 20 of Northern Ireland’s top ICT companies with support from the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland under the Assured Skills initiative. This is a 16-week ‘boot camp’ for people with a passion for IT but no formal IT qualifications. In hindsight this was definitely a risk as there was no employment guaranteed on completion of the course. It included a six-week placement which I was fortunate to undertake at Expleo. The rest, as they say, is history and in the space of just five years I am now a Technical Lead for Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Management has provided me with the support and opportunities necessary for my progression. From the outset I received valuable mentorship, resulting in an increase in my responsibilities and level of input each year. In order to keep pace with new technologies within the fast moving marketplace it is essential to constantly upskill to remain ahead.
In addition to my everyday responsibilities I also undertook the role of graduate coach for a year to acquire and develop my management and people skills, which have proved essential to my current role. Another internal initiative is the creation of a RPA training programme in collaboration with the senior developers. This programme has been established to offer guidance for new team members as well as helping to prepare them for performing at an Expleo standard when working with our clients.
My life as a retail manager feels a long way behind me. Making a big change in your career certainly takes courage, but it’s worth doing. With the support of a company like Expleo, you’re not alone on your journey of discovery.