Life as a Software Developer Apprentice at BNS
Hi, I'm Amar. I started an apprenticeship with BNS and Milton Keynes College back in May 2021 and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022 I thought I'd put together a blog post of my experience so far.
My apprenticeship working at BNS is one that truly adopts the “work and learn” concept. Unlike many of my peers, I have been exposed to all facets of the business and I am immediately applying my knowledge from college into real life work.
I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some very skilled members of the team; software developers, our security manager and even getting an insight into client relations with our commercial director, Vanessa.
A typical day for me starts by making a cup of tea, logging into Microsoft Teams and seeing what is assigned to me or reviewing anything that needs finishing that day.
We have morning stand-up meetings 3 days a week to ensure everyone knows what they are doing and discuss anything that needs attention. After this, I would then spend the morning working on my assignment whilst ensuring I keep communication going with the team.
Later in the day, I would see where I can help my colleagues, finishing up morning projects or doing the less prioritised work that I hadn’t yet started.
Working here has really opened my eyes to how teams and business operates in general. It has improved my interpersonal skills and work-life balance.
Projects with purpose
Many of my projects so far have been internal developments, giving me a good introduction to our technology whilst ensuring I am being productive for the business. Some of these projects include:
Creating a PowerShell script to transfer files in bulk from a local machine to Microsoft SharePoint
Learning Power BI and developing a KPI dashboard for our customer support system
Developing a second iteration of the same KPI dashboard in C# and creating a user intuitive interface
Developing an automated testing script to test a new client development
I am now contributing to various different developments focusing on C#, SQL and VBA coding languages.
A continuous learning experience
My favourite coding language is C# and SQL. Despite having previous experience with C# from school and self-study, using it in business has really shown me how creative you can be with it and exposed me to many new relevant technologies such as the UI library, Blazor which allows a whole new level of creativity.
I often find myself doing lots of research as I learn but this adds to the satisfaction and rewards when working on these fantastic projects.
I would love to learn more about cloud technologies such as Microsoft Azure and to improve my overall business skills. Currently there is a massive push internally for learning azure cloud so BNS is really supporting me to gain my Microsoft qualifications whilst balancing work and college.
The team has been incredibly supportive, giving me constant guidance throughout my projects whilst also emphasising self-sufficiency which is brilliant. I'm encouraged to try and tackle problems myself first which is improving my ability to research and develop my 1st line support skills.
It's all about jumping in the "deep end", exposing yourself to challenges and getting hands-on which is ultimately how I started coding and exploring other teams far earlier than my peers.
Since working here, my confidence in my code and communication has improved drastically. I feel much better equipped to contribute with software development but also integrating into the business.
I balance my time by setting goals I want to achieve in the morning, both for work and college, and with this I can set time for revision. The team is supportive in giving me the time needed and this has helped me create a good work-life balance which is essential for a remote working software developer like me.
The general attitude towards my apprenticeship means that I'm doing more than just developing software, I'm speaking and working with others of different skill sets and becoming a better professional.