Software developer Jamie Stead talks about his route into tech with Generation UK

How Generation UK and The Prince’s Trust helped me to upskill during the pandemic and become a developer at Aire Logic.

When did you join Aire Logic?

I joined at the start of 2022.

What is your role?

Junior Software Developer

How did you apply for the position?

During the pandemic, I was looking to upskill to apply to roles within the tech industry. My career experience was in temporary roles, such as a temporary lifecycle technician (replacing computers) and video game electronics return tester (testing consoles, controllers etc.).

I received an email from Generation UK asking if they could speak with me about their AWS re/start bootcamp course. I had been recommended (separately) by The Prince's Trust and SPEAR (Springboard: Young Persons Engagement Project) as a potential candidate for one of their programs.

Generation UK prepares, places and supports people into life-changing careers that would otherwise be inaccessible. They run programs for people whether they are unemployed, underemployed, or need to learn new skills so they can connect to training for a new career.

After looking at their offer, I immediately accepted. I met with Generation UK to review the formalities and ensure I met the conditions for joining. For example, I fit the age bracket and wasn’t in employment or at university. 

"This was a make-or-break opportunity and felt like my last chance to enter the tech industry. I put in 100% to pass the course and then started applying for interviews arranged by Generation UK."

This led me to Aire Logic, where I interviewed for a junior developer role. I had already had a great impression of the company, having attended a co-run Aire Logic and Generation UK event. I got the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who worked there and found out more about what the company was about.

Although I received other offers, I was excited when Aire Logic offered me an opportunity, and I started a few days after being told.

What was good about Generation UK and the training course you did?

The Generation UK course led to an AWS Cloud practitioner certification while learning general skills needed for working in a tech environment, like programming, using the command line and setting up virtual environments.

It was a great mix of theory and practical application. Everything we were taught, we put into practice with a couple of exercises straight away, making the knowledge much easier to grasp than just being told about it and then moving on to the next subject. 

The course tutor Grace Shaffi looked forward to every success we made and was an enthusiastic teacher. I believe her attitude made a large impact on the student's success. 

How was your interview experience with Aire Logic? What advice would you give to potential candidates?

It was more informal than an interview, and the interviewers strived to get to know me. This put me at ease even though my heart was pounding at the end due to my nerves.

Regarding advice, I can't say much other than relax. Everyone at Aire Logic is friendly, and they understand those interview nerves.

What do you enjoy about working here?

Aire Logic has a great culture while retaining a strong sense of purpose. No one is unfriendly, and everyone seems willing to share their knowledge and interests with others. The company gives everyone multiple opportunities to be social, which adds to the atmosphere I've experienced.

What have you learned during your time?

I've become much more proficient in Python and SQL (both normal SQL and using PySpark). I've learned how to write documentation and unit tests and lean on senior developers' knowledge when I don't understand something. 

What are your future career goals?

I'm training towards getting another certification from AWS. Regarding my future career goals, I'm not rushing to shed my junior title. There's still more to learn, and I think focusing on what I need to do now is better. A building won't stay up long if it's built on a weak foundation.

Find out about our partnership with Generation UK.