How do you transition from training to client work?

two people working at computers as part of an IT team

Hear how our Academy Consultants transition from training into the workplace

We take people who have never written a line of code before and give them the knowledge they need to succeed in IT. But what is it like to complete that training and then transition into client work? How do our Academy Consultants join client sites and established teams to help them bring projects to life?

Hear from Ash Gawthorp, our Chief Academy Officer, as he speaks with someone who has come through our Ten10 Academy and started client work as a technical consultant. Ash sat down with Bambo Ogunlana to talk about making the transition from training to working on client projects, what it’s like to build confidence in the world of tech, and what wellbeing support Bambo received along the way.

Thanks for joining us today, Bambo. Great to speak with you and thanks for giving up your time.

Cheers for having me, Ash. No problem.

So how relevant would you say was the training that we gave you to what you are doing now?

I think was very relevant because we covered a lot of different things. And with the kind of work I do now, I do a lot of different things. I not only have to take charge of certain Sprint and testing ceremonies, I’m also doing functional manual testing and I also look at automation tests. I do a lot of API testing, which we would have covered as well. All the different areas that we cover, I’m actually using all of them now. A lot of the time people [can] just go down one route of our both functional function testing or automation testing or API testing, and the kind of work that I’m doing – I’m doing a bit of everything. So for me specifically, covering a little bit of everything helped me to understand the links between everything. Now I actually have like a case study – having worked here first and done a lot of manual testing for the first year or two, and then see the link between things.

[That’s] very interesting because we’ve had people join us who know they’ve come in and they said, “I really want to be a dev. That’s what I want to do.” When you ask him why it often doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Maybe they have a family member who’s a developer or they did a ten-minute course and Udemy and then have decided that they want to spend the rest of their life doing it and this is their calling. Well, take a step back, try a few different things and then we’ll have the conversation about what you’ve liked and enjoyed because there’s a world of difference between doing a bit of stuff on Udemy and actually working on that professional team that’s doing this with multiple people, multiple teams around you.

So just moving on a little bit, you talked about client placement and that’s really when the rubber hits the road. That’s when the initial training that we’ve given you helps you get through that early part. And obviously, people are self-driven and they want to learn more, but it’s around to some extent, I think, demystifying and not making it quite so scary as well, I think, and sort of helping people and giving them that support. And I think people often have – in much the same way that people have a preconceived idea of what tech is – a preconceived idea of what it’s going to be like when they work on their first project as well with a client. What was the thing, Bambo, that surprised you most about that first client project versus maybe what you were expecting it to be like?

I didn’t expect them to be as understanding about how new I was. Especially because I wasn’t sent to my first client as part of the team. I was just myself. I thought ‘okay, it’s just me, they’re expecting me to know X, Y, and Z, they’re going to expect me to be able to get everything rolling off the ball at this sort of level. But they were very understanding about easing me into things and me taking my time to actually learn about things and to get the ball rolling, which made me feel more part of the team a lot sooner than I thought I would. I thought I’d have to work at the client site for six months to a year before feeling part of the team, but within a few weeks, you already feel like part of the furniture.

Do you remember that transition? People, when they join, don’t know lots of things and then, exactly to your point, a little while later they do know lots of things and that often happens far quicker than they expect it to. But was there a moment when you went from thinking ‘this is all new, I’ve got lots of things to learn’ to suddenly thinking ‘wow, I do know this stuff. I am the expert in this’.

You have daily stand-ups, and I feel like they are an opportunity, especially when you first come onto a client site to soak up a lot of knowledge that you wouldn’t even realise that you’re soaking up because at first you’re struggling to understand what is [people are] talking about and you inadvertently just soak it up. I think when I first would have noticed and realised – that would have been in the stand-up when it was my time to say what I was doing. And I said what I was doing and afterwards, I thought to myself ‘where did that come from? How do I know this stuff?’

It’s all going in there, isn’t it? *laughing* Brill, good. Thank you. So, on that: you do the initial training, and you’re then deployed on the client site. As you said, you were deployed there on your own. That’s not something we do particularly often and when we do, we make sure that the person is the right personality type to be able to thrive in that sort of environment. And it’s pretty clear that you are and it was clear back then that you are. How important do you think was the sort of support that Ten10 offered in terms of helping you out through those early days?

Oh yeah, that’s the thing: I wasn’t just thrown there like ‘okay, off you go. We’ll see you in a month’s time when your contract’s over.’ No, twice a week I had sessions with my Delivery Manager who would check in on me. He spoke to the client as well. The Account Manager was involved as well. So I never felt alone. I never felt ‘this is just me’ and all this pressure was on my shoulders. If I ever did, as well – although I didn’t need to because, the kind of person that I am, if I’m thrown into a deep end I’m the kind of person that doesn’t usually sink, I usually find a way to swim – but just knowing that I had the support structure in place, not only could reach out to them, but they were also reaching out to me, that gave me the confidence I needed to at least try and make it happen and try and do what I needed to do. Fortunately, I succeeded.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, you didn’t succeed, you absolutely thrived! So, just a little bit about academy life. If you had just had to choose one, what would you say was the very best bit about the Ten10 Academy?

Oh, there are so many. There’s so much stuff to choose from. I’d say it was the presentations. Presenting your work and having other people present in their work.

Was it quite daunting at first when you did it?

No, I’m not that kind of person. I like speaking. I’ve always been that kind of person, so I don’t mind. And I like to hear other people, especially when you’re all working in the same sort of thing, I like to help people take on things and all people have done stuff as well. So for me, those were the best bits because it’s one thing doing a lot of stuff yourself – you had solo work and you had group work, and when you’re doing the group work you all work together, collaboratively. When you see how you guys work as a team and you compare it to how other people work as a team as well, you have similarities, but you have differences as well. Just seeing those differences expands your way of thinking and it just opens your mind up to just how different people think. And I did enjoy those, I think that’s my favourite bit. Other than the party at the end!

Yeah, those end of core training celebrations are quite a fun thing. The feedback I get is the sense of people thinking ‘we’re done, we’re good, we’re through that.’ And then moving on to the next bit. Brilliant. Well, thanks very much Bambo, thanks for your time today. That’s been really, really great.

Cheers for your time, Ash.

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