Want to start a career in tech? "Have faith in yourself" says Francis McGowan a Test Consultant at Norton Rose Fulbright


With extreme determination anyone can get into tech 


Francis McGowan was recently nominated as a finalist at the European Software Testing Awards, having been through the Sparta Global Academy, and one year later is now a successful Testing Consultant working for one of the largest law firms in the world, based in London. His journey as been an exciting one, growing up in East London, and with immense determination Francis has taken himself through University and is now a world-class tester. So, how did he achieve all of this and where does he want to go next. We caught up with Francis to have a chat...


What University degree course did you do?


I obtained a BA Degree in 3D Animation and Games Design


Why did you want to progress a career in tech?


The tech industry is a massive and rapidly expanding industry. I have a very keen interest in most things that go on within the tech industry so it made no sense to look for a career anywhere else but in tech.


What excites you about the future of technology?


The tools that will become available to help teams becomes more effective and efficient in conducting day to day tasks.  

I am not only excited about how tech will advance the work place but also how it will change the way we live. I am most excited about how technology is helping us protect our planet and preserve it for future generations.

What would your dream job be in tech? 


My dream would be to have my own team of people that I could lead in the right directions and work on massive projects with outstanding results.


What challenges did you experience when you finished uni with getting on the career ladder and what are your views about the current system?


I the only challenge I faced was the mental barrier of thinking that I was not yet ready to enter the tech industry and this can leave you with doubts about what to do next.  It was important that I looked back on what I had achieved and come to the understanding that I can do anything that I put my mind to.


Do you see the younger generations coming up through college and looking at their career options, having similar struggles to you?


Yes, my heart goes out to many people that are going through similar struggles that I once did because I know that without extreme determination giving up is the easiest option. When you are from a certain type of background it’s easy to believe that you are not good enough or that you lack the ability to achieve your dreams. I think this is why many of the younger generation just simply become lazy and give up due to them having no faith in themselves.


Why did you join the Sparta Global Academy?


I joined Sparta because I really liked the opportunities that they offered. When I attended the attraction day it really did sound like something that I wanted to do although it did sound like it would be a challenge due to having no programming experience. Sparta seemed to contain not only highly intelligent people but also people who you could have conversations with about non-work related subjects and this was the kind of people I wanted to work alongside.

What have been the best things about joining the programme?

The best thing for me has definitely been the experience that I have managed to gain whilst working on client site. It brings great satisfaction to be able to look at your CV and see the experience building up. This experience allows you to become more confident and have a lot more pride in yourself.


For someone who is considering joining the programme what would you say to them?


It’s easy to put it off because you will not be earning any money during the training period. It has to be seen as in investment to your future as you will reap the rewards almost immediately after finishing the training period due to high client demand for us. The time spent job hunting could be spent in the academy learning skills which are in high demand and an almost guaranteed job offer at the end (if not before).  


Do you feel part of a community with Sparta Global? Have you met any friends/peers that you have kept in contact with?


Most definitely! Everyone from my training class is still in almost daily contact with each other and always keeping each other up to date even though we finished training nearly a year ago.


In what ways do you think the Sparta Global training prepared you for the working world?


The training gives you all of the required skills to get the job than and more. Knowing that you have all of the skills needed to get the job done leaves you perfectly prepared to go out there and do a great job.


What is your advice to people who are finishing uni and want to get into technology (potentially with no tech background)?


When you first leave university you apply for about 14 million jobs and when you get a bite it’s easy to just go for it. But before you know it you will be working a job that you hate. It’s important that you really consider what it is you want to do and maybe go to some events and get inspired if you are not sure.


What is your advice to people who are starting their role after the training on how to succeed?


To not worry or be nervous as you have been equipped with all the skills needed to do the job you are there for. Make sure that you are never late and never ever miss a day unless you absolutely need to. It is important that you always put yourself forward for every opportunity and have the confidence to do so. Putting yourself forward for opportunities will reflect well on you and expose you as a committed individual.

What is your job role at Norton Rose? 


At Norton Rose I am Test Analyst and I work on an array of different things. Depending on what I am working on I could be responsible for writing up the test plan, obtaining requirements, liaising with stakeholders/users,writing test scripts, executing tests logging defects and writing exit reports.


What are the best things about your job?


The faith and trust that put into me to work on projects and take the lead by managing my own projects. My manager has been an absolute amazing mentor and guided me whenever I needed guidance. He has the experience to be able to advise me and teach me all of the important things needed to be a great test analyst.


How are you are having an impact within your role at Norton Rose? 


I believe that I have contributed to the confidence from customers in the testing team by always ensuring that I meet deadlines and going the extra mile to get the job done.


How has being a consultant had an impact on your own life?


Its allowed me to be able to feel as if I am a contributing member to society and that I am on a path to great things.  


What have been your biggest achievements in your role so far?


When a project manager gave me a bottle of whisky and brought in doughnuts for the team because I worked tirelessly to get a project done with last minute notice!