I always enjoyed designing websites and playing and creating my own computer games at school. I chose to follow this direction at college and while studying I came across BAE Systems’ Software Engineering Apprenticeship in the local newspaper.
I chose to apply as it was a way to get paid for what I love doing, where I could gain experience, develop my skills with an international company held in high regard.
From the outset I was confident that I had made the right decision to join. Not only was it a positive choice in terms of student finance, but the company offers many other benefits like pensions and share schemes for a long-term career.
I very quickly settled in to the team and I have made valuable contacts through networking opportunities. Collaboration across teams has not only helped with professional development but has allowed me to make many friends within work, which I feel is really important.
My typical day starts with team discussions to get a sense of where we are with the development of the products. This also allows me to identify what help I can offer to my team when we work through our development activities; coding, reviewing and verifying. As a team lead I report to my Project Manager the current status of the products and carry out investigations into new technology and products that we can incorporate to improve our work.
I have the opportunity to visit our different sites in the UK to explore a different side of the company, which was more customer focused. This gives me a greater insight into another area of the product that I develop and the wider impact it has. I also get to meet suppliers of cutting edge technology to evaluate the incorporation of their products.
Prototyping new features and technology to be integrated into products offers some of my most interesting challenges, as well as choosing the scope of the next product release and providing support to the delivery team.
I’ve built a social network - initially through the group of apprentices who started at the same time as me - then with other new staff, such as graduates and also the existing members of staff. In the ten years since I joined the company, those same friends have supported me through challenges at work, they’ve been part of my wedding party, and watched as my own family has grown.
Being acknowledged and valued makes me proud, along with knowing that each day can bring a fresh challenge and accomplishment, job security and financial stability.
My advice for someone thinking of joining BAE Systems would be to work hard to ensure that you get the grades and the foundation knowledge required to do the job well. You will gain fantastic job satisfaction and a great work life balance working at BAE Systems.