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How I Kickstarted My Career in Tech!

By Bianca Moldovan on Wed 10 July 2019 in Placement Blog

Check out how I kickstarted my career in tech with a placement year at ProspectSoft! 

How did it all start?

At University, I was taught everything I needed to know to start my career as a junior software developer. From learning computer science theories, data structures, design patterns, languages and security, University had provided me with a plethora of computer science knowledge. However, it wasn’t until I started here, at ProspectSoft, that my dream really started to become a reality. 

It’s been 10 months since my placement started and it’s safe to say that I absolutely love every minute working at ProspectSoft. The placement scheme has completely surpassed all my desired goals and expectations, and I have no regrets regarding my decision to complete a placement year. If you are a University student questioning whether you should take this year out, then do not doubt it - go for it! 

Listen and learn

The first couple of months at ProspectSoft were dedicated to training, asking questions and building relationships. This is the really great thing about ProspectSoft; they put so much time into the placement programme, that right from the very start, you are supported by Directors and Managers in a comfortable, positive and supportive working environment¬¬. I will never forget the proud and ecstatic feeling I had when the first feature I developed positively impacted the Customer Services Team – it felt amazing. I could finally put the theory into practise! Ever since I started, I have been treated like a really valuable employee, and I’ve consistently been supported, mentored and encouraged by my team – consisting of super experienced and professional developers. 

Being Agile

At ProspectSoft, we follow the Scrum framework, which is a type of agile methodology. Scrum relies on a self-organising, cross-functional team that projects progress via a series of sprints. One of the most common agile practises is the morning stand-up meeting, which takes place every day and involves each member of the Development team to mention what they’re currently working on, as well as to highlight any existing or potential impediments. Next, we then create a sprint backlog which is a list of all the tasks we need to perform during the sprint. Additionally, another 3 important collective meetings take place; 2 at the beginning and 1 at the end of the sprint. The refinement meeting is where items are distinguished into user stories; then there is the planning meeting, where items are assigned to each member of the team, including the time and effort it should take to build the feature. The final meeting at the end of the sprint is called the ‘sprint retrospective’, and this is where we reflect on the sprint that has just ended and identify opportunities for improvement.   

Embrace new challenges & opportunities

Nevertheless, it’s important to take on new challenges and embrace opportunities. At ProspectSoft, we are frequently given a week of ‘devtechting’ which is where we become the ‘go-to’ person for any support questions and assistance across all departments within the company. This is a great way to be thrown into situations and problems that you perhaps wouldn’t have dealt with before; enabling you to develop your skill-set and increase your familiarity with features/problems. I personally love devtechting because it demands immediate investigation when an issue occurs, and this helps to acquire new knowledge. It’s great that we are trusted and ultimately, launched straight into the deep end!

In addition, I was also given the opportunity to present and demo the new features that the development department had been working on in the recent sprint. Presenting to the whole company in our ‘Pizza Friday’ sessions, I was able to work directly alongside ProspectSoft’s Development Director, Dan Bryant – this was a great challenge and opportunity which helped me finesses my presentation skills. 

However, the opportunities don’t stop there! Development placements were given the opportunity to attend the biggest JavaScript for Finance Conference in London. It was a great evening which showcased innovations by web technologies and the various applications of JavaScript in financial SaaS products! Listening and learning about the latest FinJS advances from leaders across the finance industry, was a really great experience. 

Personal Growth

Every opportunity I have been given, every task I’ve taken on and every relationship I’ve built has contributed significantly to the progress of my personal growth. Meetings with the Development Director and my mentor enabled the identification of areas I could improve on, and this reflection meant that I was able to grow, advance and continue to fulfil my dream of being an excellent developer. 

I believe that the best way to continuously grow and develop, is to identify the changes you need to make to improve, and to reflect upon your existing progress. A top tip from me would be to write your thoughts and ambitions down; reflect on them and consider the changes that need to be implemented in order to make your aspirations become a reality!

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