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2 Weeks Into Grad Scheme!

I have been fairly quiet on blogging recently because of starting my graduate scheme, learning a lot every day and trying to cram so much in means that the evenings are more about rejuvenating for the next day!

That being said, I cannot believe that I have already been at Whitbread for 2 weeks. I am very grateful I got the opportunity to be on the solution architecture graduate scheme, and am very pleased I went with this job.

Already I’m getting stuck into projects and am lucky to have a really nice team around me to support me, as well as the other graduates. I didn’t realise there was so many types of architecture and what was involved, but I am looking forward to exploring it further.

For me I knew I didn’t want to be at a company that hire hundreds of grads where you have set rotations, some do and I’m not knocking that, but the fact I’m one of four IT graduates also has its benefits and I feel like I am truly in a role as well as being able to do rotations which I can discuss with my sponsor, line manager and HR to decide where I want to go next.

If anybody is in their final year of university or a year after you’ve graduated, I would definitely take a look at what graduate schemes are out there and apply early, there are plenty of websites such as Milkround that can help, but also research the type of company and role you think you want to go into! I was able to secure my grad job in December which took a lot of pressure out of final year… I wish you all luck!!

Now it’s the weekend and then back for my third week next week 🤓

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Mimo App

I was thinking about how I could expand my coding knowledge in my spare time, without having to sit at a computer to learn.

So I took a look at the “learn to code” apps on the Apple App Store, and after trying out a few I found that the reviews and the ease of use is in the Mimo App.

So give it a go – it may be for you 🤓 📱

TechCrunch did a great article on their opinion of it: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/19/mimos-new-app-teaches-you-how-to-code-on-your-iphone/?guccounter=1

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Founders4Schools

This week I’ve been working on an analytics project with Founders4Schools two days in the office, not only have they been very welcoming and a great team to be a part of, I’m appreciative for the opportunity to do some more work for them remotely over the next couple of weeks.

Founder4Schools’ mission is to help engage students in work placements from a young age, through the use of their app, Workfinder, and providing a platform for Business Leaders to attend school events through their website, this is having a great impact on all types of students.

I was fortunate enough to meet Sherry Coutu at a WCIT Business Luncheon, she started this charity and it has been a great experience to be a part of, even for this little bit of time.

I was happy to see that my new graduate job, Whitbread, offers work experience through Workfinder!

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#DoIT – Education

School curriculum changes depending on the country, the government, what county you are in and what kind of school you go to… but whichever circumstances you are in, you should do IT/Computing and this is why:

You will need technology skills in whatever job you do, whether you are working in a supermarket and need to learn how the tills work and the stocking systems, to working in an office where 9 to 5 each day you will need to know how to competently and professionally reply to emails and pick up new IT software skills to improve your job. Although the GCSE’s and A-levels may not be as advanced as you would hope, it is still a great foundation for you to build your skill and often schools are creating more opportunities, read here.

Just 20% of Computing Science GCSE’s are female, falling to 10% at A-level

An article by Clare McDonald, read here, explores the lack of females taking Computing GCSE and A-level, that relays onto higher education where on average under 20% on a IT course at university are girls. If you were one of the girls to go through GCSE, A-level and university doing IT you stand a much better chance at getting a graduate job.

Standing out is good, IT is an exciting to get involved in. If you want to learn more about what it means to take IT/Computing at GCSE and A-level, I encourage you to take a look at these BBC Bitesize pages which are free and can give you a bit of an overview of what to expect: https://www.bbc.com/education/subjects/z34k7ty

Don’t be overwhelmed by what you think computer science, computing or IT is, take time to find out and ask your teacher’s opinions on whether you think you’d enjoy it. Fight back if somebody says you can’t do it if you aren’t good at maths or science, that is OK, I was not strong in those subjects either and I achieved a First Class degree in Computing… I did Art, English Literature and History alongside my ICT A-level, which meant I couldn’t meet the entry requirements to some universities. But actually it has helped me, because I am able to write reports at work and understand better user experience and colour schemes of apps etc. Don’t worry that you aren’t good enough to do well in IT!

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Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least £5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. 🤓

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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Reflect On What You Have

Sometimes it is good to reflect on the opportunities that we have, by writing this post I am lucky enough to have a laptop, internet, safe, clean, and encouraging environment. Others are not so lucky, from meeting a lot of people from different background it is easy to understand how lucky I am coming from a small village in Hertfordshire where my schools were a 5 minute walking distance, I was able to get a job whilst at school to afford to run a car at 17 and then to pursue university.

Many others are not so lucky, even within the UK there are many unemployed youth, homeless communities, and the disabled who would love to be in positions with less than what I and yourselves have. At some point in your career I would encourage you to remind yourselves of these people and do something within your reaches to help. I have fortunate to have the WCIT platform to help to grow an understanding of where I can help.

What can you do to help?

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Bridging The Confidence Gap

The Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, feels passionate that it is not only about the need to encourage more girls into IT/STEM, but to help boost their confidence that their skill sets do match the skills needed for STEM. I think this is very important.

It is as much about smashing the STEM stereotype, as it is the glass ceiling.

There are many organisations like CodeFirst: Girls and Stemettes aiming to do this, but what can you?

Take a look 🙂

https://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/opinion/3031171/to-see-more-girls-in-stem-we-must-boost-their-confidence-not-interest