I started my apprenticeship journey by applying for a job with Macnamara through LDN apprenticeships. I knew I wanted to do cyber security, but I did not know where to start. I did some research and people said the best way to start is by becoming an infrastructure technician. Macnamara gave an interview where they asked me about my prior knowledge about the IT world and what my goals were. By them asking me this I could show them my passion and why I would be a valuable asset to the team, both now and in the future.
From the time of making this I would have been at LDN for 4-5 months and so far it is going great. I started off pretty nervous as I did not have much prior knowledge of any of the modules on the course and the first module on coding and logic was said to be the most difficult. I enjoyed learning about IT, but it was like trying to learn a new language in 8 weeks, so some follow up research and development will need to be done. I have also completed my business processes exam which was interesting for me as I want to get into the security side of IT and learning about policies and rules helped me improved my knowledge which I can implement in my work.
All of my classes and exams are done from home via Zoom. I like working from home as it is a more relaxed environment and I prefer to work independently without distractions. Doing tests via Zoom is strange because you have someone watching you through a webcam for an hour or so, but I also prefer this because there is less pressure – instead of being in a room full of people you are in your own space.
At first I was a bit sceptical of working in a small team. Previously I worked at McDonalds and Wren Kitchens which are both very big companies with thousands of employees. When I started at Macnamara there were 6 people including me. An advantage in working in a small team is that I was given a lot more attention from directors and managers and I was also given more priorities which I would not have got in a bigger company.
Going from flipping burgers at McDonalds and designing/ selling kitchens at Wren to the service desk is a big change. One big change for me was desk working 9-5. I enjoy working at a desk and I really like working at home, but it makes me want to go to the gym when I finish work every day. At Macnamara we have a very particular way of creating tickets for clients and learning how to deal with issues. This is a big positive about my company because we do not just throw an automated email back to a client saying a ticket has been made for their issue, we personally make each and every ticket and if we need more information, we do not make assumptions but we give the client a call and ask relevant questions to get tickets closed quickly and efficiently.
I can clearly see that I am progressing, and this is because of multiple aspects of my role. I work closely with Dayan who is my colleague and is a former apprentice. He now has his own development and management department. I have enjoyed working with him and he has unofficially become a mentor to me and gives me really helpful tips to assist my development. In some ways just because Dayan is around, I can grow because one day I would like my own department and I would like to think I am the best at what I do.
Another way I progress is with friendly competition. Fru is my colleague and he is on the same apprentice course as me. He has been working at Macnamara for significantly more time than me however, which makes me the underdog and this makes me work harder to try and prove I can become the best. He is also a really friendly guy and he has taught a LOT of skills that I now use on a daily basis, so I respect Fru and look at him as a partner and a superior.
Robert is another one of my colleagues who is a level 2 support analyst. He is a really nice and chilled out guy and has helped me with countless problems. I will keep progressing so that one day I can make his life easier and potentially answer his questions for a change.
There is a member of the support desk who is called Dawid and he is newer than me. Dawid helps me progress because I can use the knowledge I have learned in my apprenticeship and my work to answer basic questions. Dawid is from Poland and English is his second language, so listening to him talk to clients in such a kind and respectful way reflects on me.
A big part of my achieving my goal will be by spending time with Ciaran and Geoff. They are both directors of Macnamara and are very smart and intelligent men. Ciaran is a security expert and has taught me a lot since I have started. Also if I want my own security department, he will be involved in how it runs and how to make it a success. Geoff has been in this line of work for a very long time and if I ever have a problem, he has a solution to fix it 99% of the time (kind of like google). If I progress enough and prove that I have grown in my role then I can show these two and they can give me opportunities to grow further and be the expert I want to be.
Being an IT apprentice is great for starting your career. The pay is good compared to apprenticeships in a role like construction or mechanics. I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship as you learn on the job and this is a big factor in IT, you can read something and try it and it can mean something completely different but if you have experience in asking the right questions and diagnosing the problem in a methodical manner then you will succeed with no problem.