I suppose the best topic to start with would be one about myself!
I am Rhys and I’m an apprentice developer!
Before I joined the apprenticeship my exposure to code was next to nothing, my curiosity occasionally led me towards some PHP but i never really invested much time into that.
The idea of being a coder was always appealing to me, I used to want to be a developer of games. Though I soon found that I enjoyed designing the problems and working out how to solve them more than the idea of game programming itself.
So one day I was presented with the opportunity to join an apprenticeship as a C# developer. I leapt at the opportunity and had an interview the next day, very short notice!
There was a group of three of us, we met up outside a restaurant with the ‘Apprenticeship Advisor’ and got through the menial tasks of introducing ourselves and a little bit of general chit chat.
After this we were given a maths, english and logic test individually. Nothing too challenging, very basic stuff, none worth mentioning here. After that was the ‘team building’ exercises, a few of these were entertaining but we breezed through them all.
Then came the talks.
We were taken away one at a time and talked to about our progress, we never heard about each others reviews but one of the other two were escorted away, we never saw him again. I’m hoping he was just sent home…
Either way me and the other guy, the only other guy, were congratulated on passing the introductory tests, next we had to have an interview with a company to see if they were willing to place us with them.
A couple of days go by and I get a phone call to have an interview with a company that was nearby called CGI. I eagerly agree to a meeting time and begin preparing myself! A bit of background research on the company itself and a quick brush up on my communication skills.
This was to be my first ‘real’ interview for a job, being as young as I am meant my experience in this area was next to null. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous!
I arrived early at the office to give me a chance to take in the area and to make sure I was there on time. I have a tendency to get lost you see. I get into the office and am instructed to wait in the waiting area.
Thankfully I wasn’t alone! The remaining guy from the last set of interviews was there and we had a quick catch up. He looked nervous, really nervous, oddly it made me feel a bit better about myself.
We didn’t have long to catch up with each other though as he was escorted into the office for his set of interviews. It felt like an age before I was finally collected for my own interviews, though in reality it was probably only about 20 minutes.
As I’m taken into the first meeting room I’m instructed this is actually going to be the first of two meetings that day as a few other people wanted to get a feel for me too, the team was fairly small at the time so it made sense to get as many people to interview me as possible.
My first meeting consisted of being interviewed by two people who I would later find to be my manager and his manager. They were friendly enough and tried to make me comfortable.
Now, this being an interview for an apprenticeship they knew that any technical questions would probably be way over our heads, but they pitched a few basic ones, probably to see if I had done my homework. Luckily I had, I gave what i thought were satisfactory answers and got asked a few more that were mainly to gauge if my personality would be a good fit for the team.
All in all I felt my first interview went well, I had a short two minute break before being ushered back into the same room but this time with two other people. Someone from HR and I feel terrible but i can’t for the life of me remember the other guy!
Either way the questions were fairly similar and that went about as well as the first interview. I left that day feeling confident in what i had done! Pleased I hadn’t cracked under the interview process like I feared I would.
The Phone Call.
After leaving the interview I was eager to hear the results, but they had to interview a fair few people so I understood it would probably be a while before I would hear anything back.
The day I got the phone call I was a very happy person, I was told I had been accepted for one of the positions and that they had hired a second apprentice too. We would start out training in a week or two.
Me and the other apprentice (who i will call John for the sake of anonymity) had been accepted onto a year long apprenticeship scheme, all we had to do was attend two 3 week courses and pass a few exams as well as work the rest of the year at the workplace and complete some coursework tasks.
I was a little miffed at the idea of more exams as I’m more of a practical learner but it was only 3 more, I could survive through that!
The first three weeks were a good few hundred miles away so me and John took the train up there. Thankfully we were provided with all expenses paid hotels to stay in otherwise the travel would have been intense!
Me and John weren’t to be the only people on this course, we would also be trained alongside another 12 developers. As you can imagine, putting 14 teenagers in an all expenses paid hotel for 3 weeks straight, twice, probably wan’t their smartest move, but it definitely provided us with a way to cool off after the long days of training.
In either case this post has stretched on a bit more than I intended! I will have to post more at a later date, until then,