Starting a career in tech: Q&A

October 9th, 2020 Written by Infinity Works

At Infinity Works, we’re proud to do tech consultancy differently, focusing on hiring great people, developing and nurturing their talent, and trusting them to get on with what they do best. 

Our employees join us from a variety of different backgrounds, with a wide range of skill sets, and at different points in their career. This gives our teams a unique blend of technical, business and life experience along with up to date academic learning, all of which benefits our customers.

As part of Manchester Digital’s Switch to Digital – Careers Week, we asked some of our newer recruits with ‘non-standard’ career paths to share their experiences about how they started their tech career.

Questions were answered by: Olie Chan (OC), software engineer – pictured; Genevieve Heald (GH), UI/UX designer; Helen Gardner (HG), full-stack engineer; Johnny Dunsby (JD), software engineer; Stuart Forrest (SF), software engineer; and Rhydian Davies (RD), software engineer.

What do you do in your current job, and how did you get there?

GH: “I’m a UI/UX designer. I started working at Infinity Works in March this year and began doing front-end development after completing the Tech Returners ‘Your Journey into Tech’.”

OC: “I’m a software engineer currently helping to develop a cross-platform mobile app for a pharmacy that integrates with multiple third parties, including the NHS. I joined a coding bootcamp in Manchester called Northcoders, then worked for a bank, a startup, before joining Infinity Works at the start of this year.”

HG: “I’m a full-stack engineer. I had years of experience using SAS software but took a break to start a family. Once my son went to school, I found Tech Returners and updated my technical skills. They introduced me to Infinity Works and I started in March this year.”

JD: “I am a software engineer, via working as a cook in a nursing home! I joined a coding boot camp – Northcoders – and three months later I landed my first job in the industry.”

RD: “I’m a software engineer having previously worked as an IT support technician. I tried a few online coding courses which made me decide to take the plunge and retrain. I signed up for Northcoders, and shortly after graduating I started working at Infinity Works.”

What do you think are the core skills needed for starting a career in tech?

GH: “Communication and teamwork. You also need to enjoy learning new things, solving problems, and it helps if you can think critically and creatively.”

OC: “Being able to solve problems and understand what the problem is, then knowing when to abandon an approach and try a different angle to try and solve the problem is key.”

JD: “In my opinion, the essential quality to bring to this career is a ‘growth’ mindset. There will always be things you don’t know, but the only barrier to knowing is learning – and you can learn anything if you put in the effort.”

SF: “Communication is really important – your job is to identify, articulate and solve problems in teams; if the communication isn’t there, it’s really difficult to do that.”

In my opinion, the essential quality to bring to this career is a ‘growth’ mindset. There will always be things you don’t know, but the only barrier to knowing is learning – and you can learn anything if you put in the effort."

Johnny DunsbySoftware Engineer, Infinity Works

What do you enjoy about working in tech?

OC: “I really enjoy the challenge of solving difficult problems, especially when it’s something that will bring value to a user. It’s never too late to pivot and focus on a different area if you find that you want a different challenge too.” 

HG: “I love using my brain and learning new things. The satisfaction of getting something working doesn’t weaken the more you solve!”

SF: “I get a lot of value from learning and tech provides almost limitless opportunities to learn. The chance to learn new skills, ways of thinking, and tools, and then being (mostly) able to solve the problems that crop up with them is a great feeling.”

RD: “I enjoy the process of creating new things. Seeing something go from a simple idea through to a feature or app that people can use is really rewarding.”

Helen Garner Infinity Works Tech Returners
Helen Gardner - Full-stack Engineer, Infinity Works

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in tech?

GH: “Find support and other people who are learning and help each other. If you’re learning to code from scratch what you need is tenacity. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to learn everything – identify the core skills you want and make lots of little mini projects.”

OC: “It’s never too late. You don’t need a degree and there are many ways to get started. It’s okay to not know everything and no-one expects you to.”

HG: “Get your hands dirty as soon as you can. Nothing beats learning about a piece of technology than actually using it.”

SF: “Just have a go! Don’t try and be perfect with the tools you are learning and give yourself credit when you solve a problem. Each of the problems solved is a brick in the foundation of moving forward in tech.”

Interested in a career in tech?

The Infinity Works culture challenges and supports everyone to learn and develop their skills. Having recently joined us, our new recruits have seen the importance of building a network and never being afraid to ask for help.

Fancy a career in tech? To learn more about our latest opportunities, visit our Careers page.