Reggie’s journey into the technology industry defies all stereotypes. Leaving university to discover his true passion. Reggie worked as a fishmonger and shelf stacker in a big supermarket for nearly ten years! That was until he found Sparta Global on LinkedIn. Now, a Test Automation Engineer about to work on-site with an international consultancy firm, discover Reggie’s story below…
What and where did you study at university? Or did not you study at university at all?
I went to the University of Wolverhampton and in reflection, I went for all the wrong reasons. Partly, I did it because it was far away from home as I’m sure lots of university students can relate to. Growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to do and was assured that university was the best option. This was not the best advice, as I never did work it out.
After studying Biology at school, I decided to join the Biochemistry course at Wolverhampton. I did fairly well in the first year, but after that I had some personal difficulties which led me to reflect on my studies. Although they were going well, I realised I wasn’t interested enough in the subject to study at university level and dropped out shortly after my second year.
Where did you train with Sparta Global and which course did you study?
I initially joined Sparta in February 2023 as a Java developer, but during the application process Sparta suggested that I move onto a different course that I was more suited to, leading me to study on the Test Automation Engineering pathway. The training was entirely remote, however, some of my cohort did go into the Sparta Global London office to work from there too. I graduated from the Academy in April 2023 and shortly after, my cohort was invited to the Sparta Global office to meet fellow Spartans and discuss career prospects.
What did you do before you joined Sparta?
Before I joined Sparta I worked in retail for one of the big supermarkets. This initially started as a summer job after college, but I ended up transitioning into general shop work to help pay my way through university too. After my initial university plans didn’t work out, I was offered the opportunity to take a craft apprenticeship as a fishmonger which I completed and practiced for a couple of years. However, the demand for the role dissipated and I moved into kitchen work as a cook before moving to other counter service jobs in retail stores – all while I studied in my spare time to switch career paths.
How did you decide Sparta Global was the right career move for you?
Switching careers was the right move for me - though it wasn’t immediately obvious. Big life decisions take time and finding my way to this position has been a process of trying different things to discover where I fit in. I initially started my tech search a couple of years before applying at Sparta. Despite being unsure of my future career, I had always been handy with computers. I supported my friend on a small community coding project and was able to develop some very basic code. From there, I did some more research and found a two-year self-taught course online in web development which gave me a broad view of the industry and allowed me to develop an early understanding of coding languages. With this experience, I felt ready to start applying for jobs, leading me to discover Sparta Global on LinkedIn.
With the experience I have gained at Sparta, I am certain I made the right decision. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time. If you’re willing to put in the work, they will take you from an unskilled individual into an excellent candidate for high tier employment.
Can you tell us about the connections you have built through Sparta? How have you found the community to be?
The team at Sparta has been the most friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable group of people I could hope to know. The connections I have built during the training, whether it be my course mates, trainers, managers and beyond, are all connections that I expect to last into the future. It is a genuine pleasure to come to the office and see everyone, and everywhere I look there are experts willing and able to give me a helping hand. While waiting to start assignment with my client, I found that talking to former Spartans who work there sparked an immediate connection, and they were very happy to give me a helping hand to get settled.
Are you enjoying working in the tech industry and if so - why?
I am absolutely loving my job. While I am still waiting to start on-site (though I am assigned), I am being paid to learn in a supportive environment with interesting and engaging subjects. Who wouldn’t like that?! Although coding problems can be absolutely infuriating, the satisfaction I get from finishing a segment of code or fixing a problem, combined with working with such excellent colleagues, means this is truly the most worthwhile venture of my life so far.
Do you feel you now have the passion and skill to carve a long-serving career in technology?
I think from my statements so far you can probably tell that I am passionate about my career in this industry. I sometimes worry that I may lose interest in the future, or that I am going to end up in an area where I may not be so engaged, but I think as far as jobs go, I would much rather be doing this than anything else. I think this career path is somewhere I can and will thrive in. In terms of skill, Sparta provides a great foundation, and I am fully confident that any skills I may require can be gained along the way with the skills they have provided me. If you’re willing to put in the effort you can go a long way very easily tech.
What are you looking forward to doing in your new role?
In a word, everything! I am super excited to be getting some hands-on experience with all that I have learned. Hearing from other Spartans on-site with my assigned client, it sounds like my skills will not only be utilised, but I will be provided with a wide range of additional areas to upskill for a wide range of future career options. While I know the direction I want to go in, there is so much choice in the industry that I can’t choose what to be most excited for.
Any final words?
To close out, if there is one thing, I can say to people that are thinking of joining Sparta, it would be this… it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have done, if you’re passionate and willing to put in the work, you can go so far. I worked in a supermarket as a basic shell stacker for nearly 10 years and now I am working for an extremely prestigious client in an unrelated field. Sparta is an incredibly supportive workplace that is well worth applying to, I highly recommend it so sign up now!
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