Meet our Champion: Connor

Written on: 8 September 2022

Written by: Frances Hardcastle


[Employers, Apprentices]

Hello and welcome to another exciting instalment of our Meet the Champion blog series!

This time, we’re focusing on coding with Connor, our Software Development champion.

Connor completed his Level 4 Software Developer apprenticeship programme while working as a developer with Jola Cloud Solutions.

We caught up with Connor to share some insights into his role and career journey so far.

Q: Before you started your apprenticeship, what were your career goals and experiences? 

I want to state early – after completing two Software Development apprenticeship courses with Baltic, and working as a Software Developer for four years – I never thought I’d apply for a coding job.

I’ve always had a passion for everything and anything computer-related. I would choose any IT class or course available on my way through my education.

Coding for me was a fun, on-and-off type of thing. I’d write small add-ons and scripts for the games I played, but nothing too crazy or advanced!
With these two things in mind, I obviously wanted a career in something to do with computers!

I heavily attribute my technical knowledge to my personal computer usage and gaming. Education and qualifications on top of this taught me new things, solidified my existing knowledge, and gives you an industry-recognised qualification.

Q: What appealed to you about taking the apprenticeship route?

The biggest thing that appealed to me about the apprenticeship route was being able to get my start more easily into a career path by “learning the ropes” and building myself up within the role, instead of immediately working in a job with a more fixed expectation about prior knowledge and specific skillsets.

Q: What kinds of tasks and responsibilities do you have in your job role?

My day-to-day tasks involve writing code to automate processes. This can range from individual functions to fully-fledged systems to replace existing ones.

This coding is planned within a “sprint”, which is like a board of items to work on. The items can be moved across categories to reflect their current progress, e.g. “to do,” “in progress,” “testing,” “documentation,” and “complete.”

These sprint items are planned by the Software Development Manager, though I regularly plan my own items into a sprint for projects I’m the owner of. This means creating items for each piece of functionality I need to create, based on client requirements or beneficial ideas.

I also provide initial replies to tickets and resolve them where possible within agreed timeframes and help teach other members of the team where I can.

Q: What has your greatest achievement been in your apprenticeship journey so far?

Without a doubt, my greatest achievement on my apprenticeship journey has been going from getting a Pass in my Level 3 (and not being satisfied with the result) and then going on to achieve the highest possible grade in my Level 4.

To do this, I made sure that every assessment was perfect in its writing and structure, there was a range of evidence from different coding languages, and I recorded videos with commentary to add more variety to my portfolio.

I focused on the higher grading guidance criteria and even made additions to completed workplace projects.

Q: What Software tips, tools, or life hacks do you wish you had known earlier? 

Before starting your Workplace Project report, create the structure first. Read the briefing document from Baltic to see everything you need to talk about – group them by heading and then use subheadings to organise the individual points and make it clear where you’ve covered the KSBs. This makes it easier for everyone to read and assess your work, so nothing is missed.

Once the structure is complete, I usually create bullet points in red text to cover what I want to talk about. I’d turn these green as I completed them, or orange if I thought they still needed some work.

This method lets you progressively work on your report and get it finished before the deadline. Without a structure, you’re often staring a blank Word document wondering where to start!

Discover More:

If you’re interested in following in Connor’s footsteps and kickstarting your career with a Software apprenticeship, take a look at our Level 3 programme to learn more.

If you’re a Baltic apprentice and want to share your story as one of our Champions, check out the details and get involved!

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