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My Apprenticeship – Cormac Dunne

National Apprenticeship Week takes place in 2021 from 8th to 14th February with the theme ‘Build the Future’, where the focus is on how employers train, retain and achieve with apprenticeships. We are proud to say that at Ntegra, we do just that. To celebrate this 14th annual weeklong celebration we sat down virtually with one of our apprentice success stories, Cormac Dunne about his journey from Apprentice to now one of Ntegra’s Junior Developer.

Sometimes, being asked what you would like to do for the rest of your life can be a particularly daunting question, which is ultimately why I could not make the decision to go to University at the age of 18, I didn’t know exactly what I would have been comfortable studying in-depth for the next 3-4 years and ultimately build a career upon. So, I went to work.

Through working in electronic manufacturing, I had a small bit of exposure to programming, and this sparked an interest I couldn’t shake. In my spare time, I started playing around with the basic languages of web development (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). Through this exploration, I found something I could confidently say I would be happy to invest my time into and build a career from.

So fast forward to the age of 21. You’re working full time; you’ve got bills to pay and you have no idea how you are going to materialise the dream of becoming a web developer. Initially, I had no idea how I was going to make the transition into the industry, it was either going to have to be a part-time degree for the next 6 years or fork out X amount of cash for a Bootcamp. Eventually, I stumbled across a listing for an Apprentice Developer at Ntegra, studying a Level 3 BTEC, accredited by the BCS. I had no idea this was even an option. As far I was concerned, Apprenticeships were for tradesmen, so this was an absolute revelation. Having the opportunity to earn and learn was the best-case scenario for me whilst pursuing this career.

Long story short, I applied, got the job. Happy days. This was exactly what I knew I needed. I was onboarded onto the apprenticeship seamlessly by QA (The apprenticeship provider). In the first few months when I knew absolutely nothing about web development, Ntegra did not let that stop me from getting experience on client projects. Before a project kick off, I was demonstrated and supervised by a senior member of the digital team at Ntegra a client’s CMS. This meant I had a number of weeks to familiarise myself with the system. When the project began, I slipped quite comfortably into the team and found myself managing content upload for the client with my supervisor. This was an invaluable experience, as although I was not coding, I was interacting within the project and communicating progress and issues on daily stand-up calls, all the while building a trusting relationship.

As I continued my learning and my technical abilities began to grow, working closely with the Senior Developer I began to get some hands-on experience with the code, putting into practice everything I had learnt in the classroom. This was an experience a boot camp or a degree would have never been able to provide, I managed to get a front-row seat in the best practice theatre. I began working on quite low-level bugs, this involved investigating them, updating their state in the backlog and coming up with a fix for the issue.

Once again, as my technical abilities grew, as did my responsibilities within the project. I began working on Enhancements for the website. Taking a client’s idea and turning it into something visual – something visual that works! Recently, I’ve been using the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired through the apprenticeship to streamline user processes on the CMS, automating laborious tasks for content editors and working on reporting capabilities within the solution.

All the while, I had coursework that needed submitting which Ntegra supported me with every step of the way. I genuinely couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to find my way into the Web Development industry. Now, although I am on a break from education, I have my eyes set on going on to the next level of education and furthering my technical abilities – and I am looking forward to it.

To find out more about the governments apprenticeships scheme or National Apprenticeship Week visit their website: https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships

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