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"Turns out it's not all about coding!"

Irina Maslakova, Software Engineer Apprentice

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Irina picked up programming when she worked as a music teacher. She took an introductory course in Python so she could build an app to help her students and it became a real passion.

I don't have a typical IT background

"I studied philosophy at university and I've had numerous jobs over the years, from clothing designer to music teacher. Being self-taught, I knew it would be hard to compete with experienced developers, so I looked for an entry-level role where I could get more guidance, and I couldn't be happier with my choice."

The training and support are fantastic

"There's a huge emphasis on learning and development here. A vast library of learning resources is available to everyone, as well as specialist resources for particular roles. You can learn independently online, or get together with your colleagues and set each other goals. There are also regular hackathons, which give you the chance to showcase your skills and meet colleagues from the wider team."

I'm doing work that really matters

"I was recently involved in a project that focused on our more vulnerable customers. By developing a deeper understanding of their vulnerabilities and sharing data across the Group, we were able to ensure those customers get the support they need. It was exciting and immensely rewarding to be a part of such an important project."

The best thing about working here is the people

"The empowering culture and feeling of accomplishment at the end of each project can all be traced back to the people you work with every day. We're all working towards the same goals, and we all share the same sense of purpose. It still surprises me what we manage to achieve as a result."

My advice to those who are thinking of a career change

"If you're not sure where to begin, apprenticeships are a great place to start. You’ll get formal training and qualifications, the time to study, and, most importantly, a chance to learn from industry experts. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Take it one step at a time. And keep a diary of your learning – it will help you track your progress and organise your thoughts."

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