I started my apprenticeship in January 2014, when I signed up with the apprenticeship agency NowSkills and was lucky enough to get the opportunity to complete the one-year placement at interconnect/it. Here’s a little bit about my journey from apprentice to developer.
The first year
The first few months were spent learning the fundamentals of Web and specifically WordPress development, as my prior knowledge of development consisted only of an A level in computing, where I learnt basic programming in the language, Pascal.
My first project during the first year was to revive our Weather Widget plugin, which originally worked using the discontinued Google Weather API. This has since become our second most popular plugin hosted on WordPress.org, with our most popular being Spots. From there I started to assist with support work for our clients such as Sniff Petrol, University of Nottingham and Informa IBI, while also continuing to develop our plugins.
At the end of the year, I achieved Distinctions in my apprenticeship course and received two MTA certifications for IT Security Fundamentals and HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals. It was a busy time but well worth it!
After completing my apprenticeship, I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time position at interconnect/it as a junior developer. My immediate tasks included continued support for a range of clients and further development of interconnect/it plugins and tools. Excitingly, I also started receiving my own development projects. These ranged from primarily visual sites, to a multi-level access site for NATCMA.
The NATCMA site was my first larger project and consisted of a mixture of both frontend design and backend development, and was a good test of all the skills I had learned during my apprenticeship year. The site consists of a main public site, which everyone can access to learn more about the work of NATCMA, and a private site that is used by other international groups for information. Each group can only access certain pages, so access has to be blocked from each page for users not of that group.
Trainee turns trainer
After completing the NATCMA site, Chris (our Senior Project Manager) and I travelled to Prestwick to deliver training to the NATCMA team. During the training I demonstrated the most effective ways to use WordPress and their new site specifically. I offered technical advice and discussed some common problems that can occur and how to resolve these issues. Supported by Chris, the project was a fantastic opportunity to put into practice all the skills I had developed while working at interconnect/it.
So what does the future hold for me at interconnect/it?
Working at interconnect/it has been a fantastic experience for me and has given me the opportunity to learn how to push the limits of WordPress capability. The work here has really helped to improve my general programming knowledge and ability, especially for memory and data usage, which isn’t normally an issue a new developer has to deal with when first starting out.
I have been at interconnect/it for three years now and have worked on a whole range of projects, from NATS to assisting The Spectator support team. As you can imagine, the latter is quite a different experience to working on smaller sites, due to the scale of each project and my daily work can be anything from styling updates, to developing and extending plugins.
Working here has been great and I can only imagine that it continues to provide opportunities to progress in both my career and my personal development.