Work experience for future software developers

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We, at Black Pepper, try to convert everyone to a software career. We are so passionate about what we do, that we jump at the opportunity of telling others how great software development is. This is why we enjoy having young people join our team from time to time for their work experience programme. We recently met Tom, who was considering a career in computing, but wanted to learn more about his options before his A levels. Here is his account of his one week experience with us:

Before starting my work experience I didn’t quite know what to expect. If I based my expectations on what we had learnt in school, Black Pepper would really only comprise of developers. Combined with what I had heard about work experience, it could have been a week of making tea and photocopying for a rather large group of developers.

But my time at Black Pepper couldn’t have been further from this – I even managed to avoid making tea altogether. Instead, I was able to spend time with someone from each aspect of the Agile development process, where they explained and demonstrated how they go about their job. Which not only gave me a detailed insight into each individual part of the process, but a great overview of Agile as a whole. I learnt that, even though developers are a key part of software development, there are many more involved, from a business analyst to UI/UX designer or a project manager.

If that wasn’t enough already, I was able to be part of meetings, even those with clients. Though the first one went almost completely over my head, as the week went on I was able to understand more and more until I was able to follow most if not all of what was being said. Everyone I spoke with was incredibly patient and happy to answer any questions I had, no matter how obvious the answer may have been. They also explained any topic I was struggling with or hadn't encountered before. This meant I learnt a huge amount during my short time at Black Pepper, possibly almost as much as I have in GCSE Computing. I now understand tools such as Git or Cucumber, am familiar with concepts such as continuous integration and Agile development as well as having improved my knowledge of languages like HTML and Java.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and it has really motivated me for my A levels and university. Work experience has been extremely useful and I don’t think any amount of school teaching could substitute for the things I’ve learnt by being in a workplace environment. Before my work experience I knew I enjoyed computing, but I was unsure whether I wanted to pursue it as a career. After being at Black Pepper, I now know software development is definitely what I want to do.

If you're interested in our work experience programme, give us a shout.

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