How I got in: Hannah’s degree apprenticeship at Experian
Becoming a software developer through hands-on experience
Hannah is an aspiring software developer currently on a degree apprenticeship at Experian. She is studying for a degree in digital and technology solutions at Nottingham Trent University.
What was your journey like to Experian?
I took computer science as one of my A levels and fell in love with coding and problem-solving. So doing an apprenticeship made sense to me because you get work experience and you get your degree paid for — it was a no-brainer.
I started off by looking at all the different job advertisement websites. I ended up finding mine on a bit of a fluke actually: I was contacting training providers and they sent me a link to this opportunity which I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. So I made my application and went through the interview process, which was a little bit scary, but I was glad that I did it because I got the job and have loved it so far.
Did you face any challenges when applying?
The application process wasn't an easy one. My school didn't tell me much about how to apply for an apprenticeship; I didn't even know how to apply for a job. In fact, this was my first job so I had to make a CV, get references from my teachers, and go through the interview process. As I'd never done this before, it was really daunting. But one thing that helped was doing practice interviews to get used to being asked questions on the spot and having to think of suitable answers.
What helped with planning your next steps?
To stay organised, I kept track of where I'd applied to and what stage I was at with each application and I did it all on a whiteboard. Looking back, I should have had it in a spreadsheet.
I was looking for somewhere with a big early careers program because I wanted to make sure I wasn't losing out on the social element you would normally get with a university course. That's why Experian was really great for me because there were other apprentices and graduates that I could meet up with at after-work socials. So it's nice to have that community of people that are going through a really similar experience to you.
I was terrible at answering my phone and checking my emails so I almost missed the deadline for getting onto my assessment centre for this job. Luckily I checked it in time. So make sure you are checking emails on your phone so you don’t miss anything important.
Do you have any advice for students thinking of applying?
One thing that I wish I'd known more about was the fact that as an apprentice you have to find somewhere to rent privately, and that can be difficult. Especially if it's the first time that you've moved away from home. You have to think about things like deposits and guarantors and getting recommendations and things that I hadn't ever thought about before. So it can be challenging, but it's also kind of nice as you earn a salary so you can afford to have your own space, and it gives you independence. You don't always have to relocate; you can always commute or stay living with your parents, but you have that choice too. Just make sure that you do research about all the different things to do with applying.
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