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Training the next generation: A two-week crash course in software engineering

The shortage of talent in the tech-sector is well-publicised – and the challenges this is causing for businesses of all sizes is becoming ever-more pronounced, as organisations coming through the pandemic seek to pick up their pace of tech-driven innovation.

As a business that relies on having great people to deliver digital products and services for our clients, we’ve long been passionate about encouraging people from all backgrounds to consider careers in technology and software engineering. But with the pandemic having put paid to our regular in-office work placements, we were keen to still offer young adults the chance to get hands-on experience of what a career in the sector could be like.

Virtual work experience

It’s why we were delighted to team up with Corndel to provide a structured two-week virtual placement at the end of its Career Foundations course for 18-24-year-olds, delivered as part of the government’s National Youth COVID Recovery Programme.

Following a six-week software engineering training course with Corndel, participants spent two weeks with Softwire, under the tutelage of a couple of our digital engineers.

The work experience team was given the challenge to research, design and code their own website, and produce a product they could demo at the end of their placement.

Impressive results

To do this, we ran a (massively compressed) agile project, to give the team experience of a wide range of software engineering tasks – from requirements-gathering and user experience design, to using technologies such as HTML, CSS, TypeScript and jQuery.

By the end of the two weeks, the team had created a beta quiz website, using questions from the Open Trivia Database. On the site, players could select topics, select how many questions they wanted to answer, and choose how difficult they wanted these to be. They’d then play the quiz, and be shown their score at the end.

It was a hugely impressive outcome, for a team so new to software engineering, and we all had lots of fun testing our trivia knowledge at the end of it. For those of us leading the course, it was incredibly rewarding, as we saw lightbulbs coming on in people’s minds and then watched them successfully applying what they’d learned.

I know the skills all our attendees picked up will stand them in good stead if they decide to pursue careers in any aspect of software engineering.

Learn more about Softwire’s short internships and work placements

If you think a career in software might be for you, why not apply for one of our paid two-week or summer internships, running through 2022. They’re a great way to experience first-hand what a career in digital could be like, and give you a chance to build up valuable skills for your CV. To find out more, have a look at the software development internship page on our website.

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