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Taiwo Olateju

I’ve always enjoyed coding. I remember aged 14 writing a program in Python to simulate bouncing balls, complete with gravity and momentum. Then, during A-level computer science in college, I decided to challenge myself by writing a game – even though my tutor told me how difficult this would be. He was right, of course, but I persisted. After many hours of hard work, the satisfaction of having a playable game was amazing.

Company vibe

I then applied for a variety of apprenticeships. What immediately stood out about Softwire was the vibe around the company. The people I spoke to really cared about coding and finding interesting technical solutions, so I could instantly relate to them. The buzz and level of teamwork in the office was on a different level to what I’d seen in other companies. And I liked how the interview tested my aptitude for problem-solving – my potential – rather than looking merely at technical knowledge or qualifications. All of this was a breath of fresh air.

Excitement

My first few weeks were very, very exciting. We were given a variety of challenges, with free rein on how we’d go about solving them. I had a little head-start around coding syntax, but there were people who joined at the same time who’d barely done any coding before. All of us were fully fledged programmers within a month or so. We worked on a variety of internal projects, to get to grips with the full software engineering process, including stakeholder engagement (i.e. talking to the customer). After that, the real excitement started, as I joined one of Softwire’s client teams. Alongside customer projects, I worked towards professional qualifications, including Oracle Certified Java Developer, and an apprenticeship qualification, which involved writing my own piece of software. Once I’d completed the apprenticeship programme, I was delighted to be offered a permanent position as a developer at Softwire.

Since then, I’ve undertaken several other roles here, most recently moving into the consultancy area, which is something I asked to do more of. This is one of the things I like about Softwire: the flexibility to find people roles that suit their interests.

Morale activities

If you’re considering applying to Softwire, the other thing you need to know about is the company’s morale budget, which pays for a huge range of employee activities. We do all sorts, from socials after work, to ice skating and going to the cinema. And then there’s the big one: the annual company holiday abroad, which is absolutely amazing. When you add these morale activities to the genuinely fun working environment, the opportunities to write software alongside like-minded and supportive colleagues, and the ability to quickly grow your career in ways you choose, I can see why people stick around for long careers here. An apprenticeship is a great way to start.

Taiwo joined as an apprentice in 2018 and is now a developer within the consulting team.