Meet our Academy Consultants – Lucy Harbinson

woman sitting at desk speaking with colleague

Meet Lucy Harbinson, who moved from the tourism industry into IT by training at the Ten10 Academy

Our Ten10 Academy welcomes people from all backgrounds and gives them the training and support they need to help them excel in tech. Take Lucy for example. She studied business and tourism at university, which was completely halted when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Looking for another industry to start her career, she found the Ten10 Academy and jumped at the opportunity.

Now two years after she joined us, we caught up with Lucy to chat about her client work, how she’s grown, and what advice she has for people considering joining the Ten10 Academy.

You came to the Ten10 Academy after studying business and tourism, how have you found the change in industry?

I went from studying a degree that was on one end of the scale to having a career in an industry that is at the complete opposite end. At first, I was a little hesitant about how I’d manage navigating a new industry, but with Ten10 it’s really more about the skills you hold than the experience you have. Despite the two industries being very different, there are several commonalities, such as how fast-paced, continuously developing and exciting each is, so I’d say the pre-preparation I got from university definitely helped me take everything in my stride and not become overwhelmed.

Where did your interest in technology come from that led to you applying to the Ten10 Academy?

I’ve always had a slight interest in technology, with keeping up with the latest trends but I never thought that a career in the technology field would be for me. I only started to open up to the idea when COVID hit and the tourism industry completely shut down. I was left looking at graduate schemes that were more focused on business. From there, I found the Ten10 Academy which completely sold me and was very different to other graduate schemes in that it explained the whole process of the two-year academy clearly and in a way you could actually imagine attending it.

How do you feel you’ve transitioned from the Ten10 Academy to your client work?

I feel like I’ve transitioned pretty well. I was lucky enough to be placed with my client shortly after completing additional training in the Academy, so my knowledge and skills were still fresh so I was able to jump right in and put those skills to use. Of course, it can be challenging, but the key is to not let the pressure get to you and take some good time to understand the project, your role and the work you’ll be doing – this is exactly what I did and I’m still doing a great job for my client.

What parts of the Ten10 Academy training have been most useful during your placements?

Everything has been useful at some point but mainly the software testing module. I’ve done some accessibility testing, user acceptance testing, system integration testing, and software verification testing with my client, as well as creating test cases, recording results, and reporting defects.

Take us through your placements – what client teams have you worked with and what specific projects have you been responsible for during your placement?

My very first placement was with a hardware support company. I completed accessibility testing for a function on their website alongside Charlotte Hayes and the digital test lab, so I was mainly working on my own and checking in with Charlotte at the end of every day.

With my current client, we work with a range of teams both internally and with external companies. On my first project, I was part of the UAT team which was responsible for dealing with the UAT testers first-hand, as well as recording results and reporting defects. I’m now on my second project and working alongside three other Ten10 Academy Consultants. I’m now undertaking user acceptance testing, system integration testing, and software verification testing (and writing test cases for each).

What is a typical working day or week for you?

I start off with a stand-up meeting in the morning with the testing team where we catch up on work we’ve to complete and what we’re planning to do for the day, as well as any new work that has cropped up. From then, I make a list of tasks/work to be completed and prioritise each based on the stage of the project. I then carry on my day getting stuck into what needs to be done.

We occasionally have meetings with a Business Analyst if any work has been clarified with the wider team or if any work needs to be clarified from us with the wider team. I also contribute to client meetings when needed. The Senior Analyst and Test Manager lead these with input from myself and the other junior members of the team when needed.

What technology, tools, frameworks, and processes have you gained experience with since starting client work?

A lot of the work I do was covered in the Academy, so I already have a solid understanding of it. I have however done user acceptance testing using spreadsheets, and now use Jira (which I’ve never used previously).

How is your client supporting your development?

I would say I’m developing through the work I’m completing. New pieces of work require me to learn new skills or develop those I already have, so I’m becoming more confident in using the knowledge and skills. I am part of a small team too so we support each other with anything, whether it be reviewing work or taking on other tasks to help meet deadlines.

What support have you received from Ten10 during your placement?

Ten10 has been great during my time here. The wellbeing team checks in regularly and the rest of my academy are still in contact with each other so it’s nice to see where everyone is at now.

What would you say to people who are considering applying to the Ten10 Academy but are unsure?

You can do it! Have faith and confidence in yourself and take the plunge. I never studied any sort of technical subjects at school or university and at the beginning of the academy I never thought I’d be where I am today. I remember being so nervous and anxious on the first day because I thought I’d be the only one who was stepping into a new industry and would take longer to understand things, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve learned so much and gained so much experience in such a short time, it’s all about having the confidence and faith in yourself to know that you can achieve anything. A positive mindset will always bring positive outcomes.

Bring people like Lucy into your organisation

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