Academy Q&A: Giles Drinkall

April 29th, 2021 Written by Infinity Works

Name: Giles Drinkall

Age: 50

How did you hear about the Infinity Works (IW) Academy programme? 

When I was looking to take my first steps into a career in tech, I connected with Neil Dunlop (Digital Delivery Director) on LinkedIn and messaged him to ask if he would meet me for a coffee. During our conversation, Neil mentioned the Infinity Works Academy and suggested that it would be an excellent way to fast-track my ambition to become a full-stack software engineer.

What attracted you to apply for the IW Academy? 

I had worked hard to acquire tech skills, such as my AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level certificate, by the time I applied to join the Academy, but I was still a relative novice when it came to software engineering. I saw the Academy as a way to accelerate my coding skills, and recognised that the curriculum would provide me with a solid foundation in the skills needed to be an effective software engineer. 

What were you doing at the time? 

In the year leading up to starting at Infinity Works, I had taken time out from work to focus on discovering as much as I could about tech. I concentrated on learning about cloud technologies and worked towards gaining my AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level certification. Before this, I spent two years working in education and twenty years working in the finance sector – not your typical route into a tech career!

What were your career ambitions (and how did IW fit into this?) 

After many enjoyable years working in finance and education, I needed a new challenge. I was fascinated by tech and how it was impacting all sectors of the economy and wanted to be part of this exciting change. Having researched Infinity Works and, in particular its Academy, I knew the business would support me in achieving my ambition of retraining as a software engineer.

What did you enjoy most about your Academy time?

I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the Academy. It was pretty demanding, but we also found time to relax and have fun. Everybody was exceptionally friendly and there was a real sense of camaraderie amongst the Academites. I also really enjoyed the learning. Not only were the instructors excellent teachers, but I knew I was gaining insights from people who had first-hand experience of working on demanding software engineering projects. 

What did you learn about how to become a successful consultant?

It quickly became clear to me that one of the key aspects to becoming an effective consultant is your ability to be flexible and embrace change. Consultants can move from account to account, so building relationships quickly is important, as is the ability to switch context in terms of business domains and technology stacks.

As a successful consultant, there are certain behaviours that you need to be able to demonstrate consistently. Ultimately, when you leave an account, you want to be able to look back and feel you were responsible for bringing about positive change. Being proactive and motivated, but also diplomatic in terms of trying to influence the client to consider your ideas are all key traits of a consultant.

How have you found your first few months as a consultant at Infinity Works? 

I really enjoyed them and was excited to be working as a software engineer on a client project. I felt supported from the outset, and it was clear that the client had been briefed with regards to the fact that I was at the very beginning of my tech career. I was still on a steep learning curve, so the days were full-on, but also highly rewarding. 

What words of advice would you have for someone starting this year’s Academy? 

Expect to feel overwhelmed by the number of new concepts that are thrown at you, but resist the temptation to panic. It’s totally natural early on in your career as a consultant to feel that there is so much that you need to get your head around. Some things won’t sink in straight away and that’s fine. Provided you keep tabs of those things that you feel you need to work at, it’ll all slowly start to slot into place. Good luck!