Welcoming two Tech Returners to Manchester

May 7th, 2020 Written by Toby Wilman

As soon as I heard about the Tech Returners programme, I knew that I wanted Infinity Works to become one of their partner businesses. Beckie Taylor set up the programme in 2017 after the birth of her son in order to help other people return to the tech industry after a career break for whatever reason. 

Beckie is passionate about helping women into the tech industry and co-founded Women in Tech North. As soon as I met her and heard the passion in everything she was saying, I knew we had to get involved. 

Here at Infinity Works, we already have a continuing commitment to increasing diversity among our employees in every way. Working with Tech Returners gave us a great opportunity to be introduced to a number of candidates who had already been through a rigorous training programme and really understood the tech industry. We were able to present to the whole group to tell them about everything we do and what we stand for. 

Tech Returners took in a 24 person cohort, which started in September 2019 and ran for 18 weeks. The programme consisted of an initial full-time week of immersion, then 11 weeks of in-person lectures with assignments, followed by working on a group project. The returners then were given support to apply for jobs with tech companies in Manchester.  

We have now appointed our first two full stack engineers from the Tech Returners programme and have already committed to further job vacancies from their new intake. 

Genevieve Heald and Helen Gardner have just joined our Manchester team and have embarked on a bespoke induction programme, created by two of our consultants, Georgia Gage and Johnny Dunsby. 

This induction programme sees Helen and Genevieve working on a trial project, which is to design and build a fully-functioning app to help consumers make commitments that will help save the planet. 

By treating this as a proper client project, they are developing a good daily routine essential in consultancy, such as morning stand-up, updating Trello boards and pair programming. 

We asked Genevieve about her experiences with Infinity Works so far…

“I had been working in healthcare since I had my daughter but knew I needed a change of direction and started looking for a new job. I actually saw a job that I was going to apply for at Tech Returners, but when I read about the programme I suddenly realised that I actually really wanted to do the full course. 

“I do have a background in technology and had previously worked in website and graphic design, but I knew that technology had rapidly changed since then. When I found out that I’d got a place on the programme I was leaping around the living room with happiness !

“It’s so important to bring in more mature consultants to any business, as we have so much business and life experience, which is hugely helpful for problem-solving, client meetings and much more.”

Why did you want to return to a career in tech? 

“I had really enjoyed working in tech previously, I am a very creative person and I like to build things and then spend time refining them. I was particularly interested in creating good user interfaces and user experiences and thought that my visual design experience and psychology knowledge from my previous healthcare role would be useful in this area.

“I was attracted to work for Infinity Works as the full stack role offered the chance to develop a skill-base across the stack using agile methodologies and cutting-edge technologies. Before being offered the position I had met many of the employees and I was so impressed by their passion, their skills and the proactive way they engaged with the Tech Returners programme.”

Overall how has this programme changed your life?

“Well I can honestly say that I get up in the morning and can’t wait to get to work! When I come home I feel more satisfied and fulfilled. I get a buzz out of the continuous learning curve which is quite steep currently, so it’s hard work but that’s OK – it’s what I signed up for! We have many sources of support at Infinity, including an individual advocate.”

We also asked Helen about her experiences with IW so far…

“Before I had my son, I worked as an SAS consultant for various companies in the North West. It had been five years since I left that job and I just wasn’t sure that I wanted to go back to it. 

“The way I found out about the Tech Returners programme was fairly unusual. I have been a canal restoration volunteer since I was 16, and we had gone away on a family volunteering week. I was talking to another lady while we were working and she mentioned the programme to me and suggested that I should apply. As soon as I got home I did some research and realised that it was exactly what I wanted to do. 

“The quality of the teaching on the programme really is outstanding. I learned so much and it set us up to continue that learning journey, with the right attitude.”

What has this new role meant to you? 

“Overall I feel a new energy to my day and a real purpose. My brain is being used and I’m being stretched as an individual. It’s pressed the reset button on my tech career that hopefully will mean I’ll be doing it for years.

“I wanted the challenge of a career in technology, I love the satisfaction of making things work. Infinity Works appealed because of the variety of clients and exposure to different technologies. I also liked the fact that they do consultancy differently.”

We also asked Georgia and Johnny why they think the Tech Returners programme is so important to businesses like Infinity Works: 

Georgia said: “We have a unique opportunity in this industry to bring people without specialist degrees into specialist roles. This opens the door to a diverse and eclectic mix of people. I’m thrilled to see IW providing training and an exciting career to people moving back into tech.“

Johnny said: “People who might otherwise have written off a future in tech are being given an alternative path into the industry. We’ve uncovered such a breadth of backgrounds and life experiences in the Tech Returners graduates and I believe that’s something the tech industry can only benefit from.”

Infinity Works is keen to hear from software engineers from all backgrounds for various job opportunities across all of our UK offices. As a leading digital transformation consultancy, we offer a supportive working environment and work with leading technology.

Written by Toby Wilman