Apprentice Software Engineer

Apprentice Software Engineer


Apprentice Software Engineer at Magma

Starting a new job is almost always an exciting but nervous time, but moving into a new job whilst already on an apprentice programme is quite a big deal. But that is exactly what Tom our new Apprentice Software Engineer at Magma Digital has just done. I caught up with Tom a few days ago, to chat with him and dig a little deeper into his Apprentice Software Engineer role and find out how the transition into Magma had gone.


Hi Tom, can you tell us all what the course is that you are on?

I am currently studying a BSc degree course in Digital & Technology Solutions, specialising in Software Engineering.


Where are you studying?

I am studying at Manchester Metropolitan University.


When did you start your apprentice degree and when it will finish?

The course started in September of 2016 and is 4 years long and will, therefore, finish in June 2020.


What made you decide to do an apprenticeship style degree?

The main reasons that I wanted to do an apprenticeship were, I did not want to go to University to be a full-time student and I did not want all the debt. Also having no guaranteed job at the end of the course was also another big factor in persuading me to do an apprenticeship instead.

I wanted to get qualifications whilst working full time. The apprentice programme would enable me to gain industry experience plus the qualifications at the same time, so this was the ideal solution for me.

Also, I felt that I would be better suited to an apprenticeship because it would give me a great start to my career by learning more practically, through working on the job rather than just the learning done by attending University alone.


What are the main modules/topics that you are studying?

The main modules of the course centre around software engineering as this is the element of the degree that I am specialising in. During the course, I will also develop skills in setting up servers, how to implement systems and project management. The apprentice course is well rounded and provides a solid foundation of skills and knowledge. A benefit of this course is, that once we have learnt the basics of every aspect of IT, we then have the opportunity to specialise in a specific topic area of interest.


That sounds really interesting Tom, what do you really enjoy about the course and specifically what do you like or dislike about working & studying at the same time?

Hmmm, that is a really good question. I really enjoy the software engineering side of the degree as that is my strongest area and the most challenging aspect of the course in my opinion. I also enjoy being at University one day a week as I get to see my friends who are on the same course.

Deadlines are not my favourite part of University life. The deadlines are often one week after each other, so you have to be really organised and have all your assignments finished or pretty much finished to avoid too much stress. Working full-time and keeping to University deadlines is a challenge and is easier said than done!


Thanks, Tom, do you have any comments or advice for anyone considering starting an Apprentice Software Engineer Course?

Yea sure, doing a degree apprenticeship for me was the best option. I get to work full time and get a degree at the same time.

It can be challenging, certainly at specific times of the year when there are tight deadlines for submitting work whilst also balancing your work tasks. However, if you are organised and committed to both your work and course it is very enjoyable and rewarding.

Making the decision to start this course was the best decision I have ever made, and although you don’t get the ‘typical’ University experience, you still have fun and learn such a lot while attending University and being in the world of work.


So how has the transition into Magma gone?

The transition was very simple and straightforward. I think what made it easy was how welcoming all of the team have been.


What has been the best part so far?

Well, other than the brand-new MacBook Pro!  😀 The team has been really great, everyone is relaxed and so friendly. This was definitely one of the best parts of joining Magma. Another great element was the amount of new learning there is to do, it has really opened my eyes as to the possibilities of what you can do with technologies.


Great, that sounds awesome, so what have you been learning so far in terms of Software Engineering?

I’ve learnt about new PHP frameworks that I did not know about. I have spent time understanding traits and I also feel more confident about programming than when I started. The other area I have learnt about is new package managers.


What are you most looking forward to in terms of learning or new experience gained whilst at Magma, what opportunities are you looking forward to?

I think the most exciting aspect is gaining the experience and confidence to tackle any problem without feeling overwhelmed by it.


Sure, and it sounds like you have made a great start Tom. Has anything about working in an agency surprised or really grabbed your interest so far?

A lot! I did not realise how complex some systems actually are and now that I have seen them, it has really intrigued me, and it makes me want to learn more. I understand as an Apprentice Software Engineer, that there is a skill gap between me and the other engineers and this has really motivated me to want to learn all that I can and improve my skill base.


Thanks for your time Tom and all the best in the coming few months, can we catch up again in a few months?

Yea sure, I will book it in!

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