From Work Experience to Software Developer

tom-and-paul

“Coming out of uni having had that experience is really valuable in this industry”

“Last summer I carried out a week’s work experience with Naked Element. At the end of the week MD Paul sat down with me and said I’d impressed them, that I had the right attitude and skills set to be a trainer developer, and invited me back for a week’s paid work in my October half term. From that he offered me the chance to come back each holiday since!”

Tom Alabaster was (and still is) a student studying computer science at 6th Form when he was introduced to Paul and the Naked Element team. After having a disappointing start in the world of work experience and being let down by another company, a school trip showed him the variety of tech companies available, and led to him working as an trainer developer. “My 6th Form went on a school trip to nor(DEV):con – that was a great day, I loved that! It was fascinating speaking to all these people from the tech industry, then I arranged work experience with Naked Element.”

“Being there for that first week was such an enjoyable experience,” Tom explains, “it was exactly how I envisioned a software development job being. The Whitespace office was nice and relaxed, it’s a great layout. The Naked Element team were all really friendly too.”

When trying to describe why he likes software development, Tom struggled. Like many of us who find our passion, it is difficult to put into words exactly why it is we enjoy doing it! “I like the challenge of making computers do things we want them to do. The idea of being able to control the way things work by writing exactly what I want it to do. It’s difficult to explain! It’s just buried in me, almost natural. It feels satisfying writing a few lines of code and then having it work and making the computer do something.”

“I’ve been teaching myself since i was around 14” he goes on to explain. “At school they only really did the basics, so learning it myself has given me more confidence in my abilities. It’s also a skill I’ll need in future jobs. Hopefully in September I’ll be going to university to study Computer Science. Beyond that I hope to get into a software development job, as that’s what I’m really into. It was a choice between Leeds Uni or UEA. While they’re both great, Leeds offers the chance to get out there and be more independant. I can remember the day I told Paul that Leeds was my choice, he was actually wearing his Leeds Uni hoody which was a coincidence!”

A combination of natural ability and honest passion, along with an attractive opportunity has meant Tom has real work experience to take with him in September. “I wanted to go back to Naked Element more so for the experience than being paid for it. At the end of the day the experience was the most valuable thing for me. After Uni I’ll be able to come out saying that I have a number of hours actually working for a software development company. Coming out of three years studying having had that experience is really valuable in this industry today.”

Speaking about Naked Element as a whole and what he feels he has gained directly, it is obvious that Tom has gotten a lot more than just work experience hours from his time with the company. “Naked Element have been really supportive in developing me as a software developer, not just specifically to work for them but for moving on in my life and career as well. Paul has said that if I want to go to work for a larger company elsewhere he completely understands that and is supportive of that, recognising that his isn’t the biggest company out there! They’re interested in me as a person, not just as an asset to the company. His influence, and that of Naked Element as a whole, has been really great.”

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