Congratulations to Michael Thomas for joining our Tech Industry Gold Class of 2020! Michael completed a Tech Industry Gold digital degree apprenticeship, studying at the University of East London and working at Accenture. Find out more about Michael’s experience.
Name: Michael Thomas
University: University of East London
Degree Title: BSc (Honours) in Digital & Technology Solutions (Software Engineering specialism)
Classification: 1st Class honours
Title of Dissertation: ‘Talking to Salesforce – Salesforce and Alexa Integration’
Job Title: Application Development Associate
Firstly – how are you and how have you been managing during the lockdown?
I’m doing well now that we’ve got our results. Lockdown has been difficult at times, but I’ve been lucky enough to be able to keep my job, so I’ve been able to focus on project work. Working in casual clothes is definitely a welcome change!
What was the best experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?
Through my final project, proving that I can solve a complex problem with no prior knowledge in a relatively short period of time. It’s the first time I’ve undertaken a project that was outside of my comfort zone, and I’m immensely proud of the end product – a working prototype that through integration can modify Customer Relationship Management software records by stating voice commands.
What was the most challenging experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?
I don’t doubt that my answer will be different from many of my peers – it’s the work/life balance. Sometimes with a degree apprenticeship, it can feel like you are working at 200% capacity. It’s important to celebrate every milestone, enjoy the process as best you can, and ensure that you are maintaining your own wellbeing.
What would you say now, to yourself, before you enrolled on your degree apprenticeship?
I’d encourage myself to go for it, to focus on learning what I can with each module and do my best to have fun throughout. One key point I’d make is to ensure that I maintain a consistent level of effort, as this tended to fluctuate as the terms progressed.
What would you say to anyone considering a Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?
Personally, as I did, I would recommend having some prior job experience in the area of the industry if you can, just to ensure that you definitely want to pursue a particular avenue and that you can bring practical skills to the job. I think it is a smart career move, as you really get the best of both worlds (learning/job experience) and would recommend it highly.
What are your career plans?
I plan to continue working in the IT industry as it never ceases to continue making advancements and there is so much to do. I’ve always enjoyed software development and hope to get more and more technical as time progresses.
Who inspires you?
While I may not agree with some of his politics, I’d say Elon Musk. To me, he takes his practical knowledge of his field and uses it to drive his own personal vision for the future. His commitment and dedication to this are admirable and people like Musk are few and far between.
Anything else to add?
Thank you to all people involved in any way for enabling me to be a part of this scheme. Whether it was people at my company, the lecturers, apprenticeship bodies, fellow apprentices, or other people that I may not be aware of, this experience has been truly unmatched. If I had the chance I’d do it again in a heartbeat.