1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work in on systems ingesting data into a data warehouse. I develop code to help this process, especially as the underlying database technology is constantly changing. I have an automation focus and try to apply test driven development into a data warehouse environment (which is not something that is often done).
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have extensively learnt bash and unix as a result of using linux servers. But beyond scripting with bash, I have learnt Java and many SQL languages. We mostly use Extract Transform Load (ETL) tools to manipulate the data. I have also learnt the platform side too, and applied Continuous Integration (CI) using this knowledge.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have to admit that I prefer working to the university side. But there have been many times when I have really enjoyed learning how something I used every day actually worked. For example, we sometimes use ssh keys to authenticate users (used most often with Git). This form of public-private key encryption is something I use daily, but never understood. But during a module on maths we were taught how to perform this encryption (it was simplified to Base2 (binary) so that we could do it in the exam). I was fascinated by this as I hadn't given it much though or appreciation before this.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the programme is really good. I did something different to the current programme for the first University year, so I'll ignore that and review from year 2 on. We have set On-Campus days, and Exam periods and each traditional university year is spread out over three 6-month "blocks". I was actually given all my dates at the beginning of the course, and only one set of On-Campus days have ever changed. Most of the teaching is entirely online and this generally works really well. The lectures or uploaded as videos and the best ones are where the lecturer has recorded especially for the online delivery (good voice recording and screen capture). They all seem to be like this now, but at the beginning there were a number of recordings of the traditional lectures. I am now in my final block.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
We get a number of study days that we can use separately to annual leave which helps with meeting deadlines and doing revision. Sometimes you can work on Uni work during periods of low work, but I don't like doing that as it feels wrong. If I've ever had a question about Uni work, I've always been able to find an answer.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Aston runs the course very much like a university degree and the support level is identical. You can email lecturers and course leaders, but generally everything needed for the course is already on blackboard (they've run the course for a number of years now so there isn't much missing these days).
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Sometimes what we learn is foundational to understanding the consequences of what we develop, but isn't *necessary* to do the job role (e.g. Operating Systems module). Other times it key skills that are used day-to-day such as any taught programming languages. And then other times what we learn isn't relevant to our current role and I do worry about remembering it when I do need it. So ultimately, yes the qualification (or really the training that the qualification proves) definitely helps with job performance.
I think it depends on how you apply what you learn to your role.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes, there are work networking events but these are always in London. There is always social activities and sport teams on each project, but I only know of some of the ones near me and I'm not involved in them. We do go out for Friday lunch each week.
9a. Would you recommend Capgemini to a friend?
Because my general feeling is that they care about their employees as they recognise that the employees are what keep the business going. I would especially recommend the apprenticeship over traditional university as you get to earn a degree, gain 4.5 years real experience, and you paid while doing it. That's a huge had start on normal university students who come out with huge debts and no experience (or just 1.5 years experience if comparing both 4.5 years from the start)
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Capgemini?
Try to demonstrate both creativity and technical capability. Never stop learning new things. Read the website thoroughly. The apprenticeship pages contain a huge amount of information about the application process and can really help you prepare for any interviews or assessment days. If you feel like you need a particular skill to help set you above the other candidates, then make make progress to at least start gaining this skill. Showing this at interview can really start to show your character.
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