Read how Lana found her career path to become a System Tester through our Ten10 Academy
The Ten10 Academy was created to encourage people from any background to increase their tech skills in many different ways. Lana Aldridge, part of Academy 21, is an excellent example of somebody who made a huge breakthrough in our Academy and launched a great career working in business analysis and system testing after having no previous IT experience.
Before the Academy
“At University I studied Graphic Design and worked in Retail during this time. Working in the retail side of telecommunications and fashion taught me a lot of skills but it was not what I wanted to do long term. I always pushed myself to develop to a higher position or join the right company at the time. Unfortunately, when I finished University, to support myself I had to continue working in the current role as I didn’t have the opportunity to work in the field of Graphic Design as I didn’t have much experience outside of the classrooms.
“The summer before I left retail, I took a short course in Web Development, taught by CodeFirst: Girls, teaching women to get into the IT industry. This opened my eyes to different avenues. I really enjoyed learning different tools and a programming language to create a website. I ended up leaving retail with no lined-up job as I still wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to do. My husband completed the Ten10 Academy, and he recommended I also joined, based on his experience and success. I was initially reluctant as I felt I didn’t have the skills and prior knowledge of the IT industry. My husband told me about all the women involved in the Academy from diverse backgrounds. It took me a few months, but I thought you know what, what do I have to lose?”
Training at the Ten10 Academy
“When I decided to join the academy, I told my husband ‘I don’t want you to tell me anything about your experience and what you learnt. If I was to go through with this new career opportunity, I want to do it on my own accord. If I fail, I failed myself and if I did well I did it myself.’ It’s absolutely changed my life for the better and I’m so glad I pushed myself and took the advice. If it hadn’t been for that conversation, I would never have thought to go into the IT industry. I joined Academy 21 which was delivered remotely. Initially I was nervous as the new ways of working was different to any experience I had previously, however, I built a good relationship with the trainers and my peers to work together and make the most of my training.”
Lana’s Academy Training
Core training: August-December 2021
Core training modules:
- Introduction to the Academy – Overview of the Academy, assessment, and expectations
- Introduction to Agile – Agile manifesto, principles, and philosophy; a simulated practical Agile project
- Introduction to Enterprise IT – IT Architecture; CI; CD; Virtualisation; Cloud; Enterprise IT Roles
- Foundations of Web Technology – The Web (HTML, CSS, HTTP, protocols); APIs
- Data and Database Fundamentals – Data types; databases; relational databases; SQL; non-relational databases
- Development Fundamentals – Essential programming; version control; OO design principles; unit testing
- Foundations of Testing – Testing approaches, designs, and techniques; practical testing; performance engineering
- Foundations of Automation – Automated test techniques and approaches; Selenium WebDriver; intro to BDD
- DevOps – Living in the Pipeline – DevOps tooling; infrastructure automation; CI; CD; quality and reliability engineering
- Effective IT Professionals – Leadership; communication; self-awareness; self-development
Specialist training: Business Analysis – Requirements elicitation, process/data modelling (UML/BPMN), data design (ERDs), requirements documentation, presenting solutions
“I thoroughly enjoyed the topics in the academy, I felt as though I was beginning to understand what I was learning, I made sure I was vocal, asking lots of questions and participating in all the activities. Being someone that learns best on the job I found taking the exams more challenging whilst being successful in the practical classroom work. The trainers could see this, and they always gave me confidence when receiving feedback, I was highly praised for my willingness to learn and drive to succeed. Although I wasn’t the most technical person, I completed all the tasks to the best of my ability as I understood that the exams were there to show the route I was going down.
“After the core training, I requested to join the Test Automation and Business Analysis training. By this point my confidence and knowledge had grown. Principles I learned from the Web Development course I completed in summer really helped me develop my skills during the automation course. Furthermore, taking the skills from my Retail background to Business Analysis was very rewarding; for example, dealing with complex customers and listening to their needs had a lot of parallels with stakeholder management.”
After the Academy
“As soon as I finished my additional training, I was eager to be placed with a client and showcase my skills and what I had learned in my training. My client is in the financial services sector, and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. As a first client I was really confident because I was encouraged to ask as many questions as possible, shadow members of their team so that I can learn about the role as much as possible; making it an easy transition from academy to the project. The transition has been fantastic, and it has been the perfect client for my first project.
“I work with pensions, and we conduct manual testing in an Agile framework using Jira. I joined in the middle of the project in April 2022, and we are a small team of four working under a Project Manager and a Test Lead. In my day-to-day work, I have a daily stand-up meeting to discuss the previous day’s work and what we will work on moving forward. I create test cases, document results with evidence, raise bugs and execute tests, working in a UAT environment on a system called Outreach.
“A lot of the time I ask myself why I didn’t start the Academy earlier. I have a huge passion for what Ten10 does and where it has led me. I spent so many years in Retail with different companies however, I have never been so supported and encouraged to succeed. Leaving that industry and coming into Ten10 has been so rewarding. If anyone else was thinking of applying to the academy, I would highly recommend it, as it has been the most amazing experience and it has opened so many great opportunities and has led me to a lasting career. People tend to think this is a male-dominated industry however, this is not the case. I work with highly talented individuals, and I know myself that this is for everyone that is willing to learn and grow.”