My career change: from the army to tech03/01/2020
When Laura Green graduated in 2011, she was faced with a small pool of graduate job opportunities – and a lot of competition. After enrolling and working in the British Army to gain a new trade, Laura decided a long-term career in the military wasn’t for her. Though limited in experience, Laura’s interest in coding and tech made her an ideal candidate for a career change with Sparta Global.
Tell us a little more about your career with the Army before you chose to go down a different career path.
Before joining Sparta Global I spent four years working in combat HR for the British Army. That basically means I was in charge of moving and tracking soldiers, organising VISAs for deployment, taking care of the documentation and checking pay.
Choosing to work with the army was my first big career change. I graduated with a degree in English during the recession and there were more new graduates than there were jobs. Even with regular retail jobs I’d constantly find myself up against people with 7+ years of experience. For the next year or so I worked any job that I could, and one of those jobs was in security for the Olympics. It was during my time there that I began working alongside military personnel. They were hard working, professional and really made an impression on me. When they spoke to me about their work, they told me about all the practical trade skills. I thought this sounded like a great opportunity to do something different and gain a trade, so I put all my energy into enlisting.
What influenced your next big career change – leaving the army for a career in tech?
As much as I enjoyed my time in the army and made some good friends, army life wasn’t for me for the long term. I wanted a change and to find a new career that was rewarding, challenging, and in an industry that would remain stable even in these economically uncertain times.
While in the process of getting out, I ended up going on a course hosted by AWS for career changers. I really enjoyed the course and they gave me an introduction to coding, AWS and SQL. It showed me that coding wasn’t just for geniuses operating out of a dark room, but it was something that someone like me could learn!
How did you come across Sparta Global?
I came across the advert for Sparta Global on Reed. It offered me industry focused training and only required a passion for technology - it was perfect for someone like me who was switching careers and only beginning to break into a new sector.
So you left the army and joined Sparta Global, how did you find the career change?
I found it pretty challenging, as it was completely different from anything I’ve ever done before. However, I had an excellent trainer and a great group of people on my course. It was really good – despite being intense - and I ended up learning much faster than I did on my own. Even one of my classmates who did computer science said he learned more here than during his whole degree!
I graduated from the Academy and recently finished a project working with a bank. My role was as a pipeline analyst, where I was tasked with testing the DevOps pipeline for newly added code and conducting resilience testing.
How do you think being in the military helped you advance in your technology career?
Being in the army definitely gives you a lot of transferrable skills. It imbues you with a proactive, ‘get things done’ attitude that has definitely helped me in my technical roles with Sparta Global clients. The “if one person fails, the whole team fails” attitude transfers well to working on group projects and army life hones a certain amount of tenacity. Working under pressure and dealing with tasks that feel overwhelming at first is business as usual in the army, so it really helped!
The great thing about Sparta Global for a service leaver is that you don’t need a lot of prior experience in coding to enrol and it provides you with that tricky first job in the industry. The training you receive isn’t just theoretical, but is industry centred and focused around what skills are in demand. As someone who graduated in English only to find themselves in an oversaturated job market, this was a great plus. You can gain a wide variety of experience with different companies and different roles, which can put you on track for a secure, lifelong career.