From unemployed to a valued junior developer- how I scored a dream job through the Kickstart Scheme- by Jack Long
Graduating from university
I graduated university with a bachelor’s in computer science from Swansea University. When the pandemic started, everything changed over the course of a day.
At the start of the day, I went to university as normal and my lecturer reassured us the campus will remain open, within hours the University found it had its first positive case. I didn’t even manage to finish my day and the campus was closing.
This was a very unusual experience, with lectures being cancelled, coursework deadlines being moved and generally not knowing what was going on made everything very stressful.
It was an unfamiliar situation for the university and lecturers, not just the students. They did their best with the knowledge and tools that they had, and I am extremely grateful for their dedication to help me achieve my degree.
That being said, with no face to face lectures or the normal support system from the university, I had to become the most organised version of myself. There were delays in communication between students and lecturers, so I had to become self-reliant if I wanted to get the best grade possible.
There were a lot of late nights, working as hard as I could and in the end I was over the moon to graduate with a first-class honours!
My extensive job search
The year before graduating, I had spent some time looking at the prospects for a graduate position locally. There were plenty of options in different areas and fields for me to choose from.
After graduating, everything was completely different. Some jobs remained but they were few and far between. I spoke to recruiters and they expressed how difficult the landscape looked for graduates now.
Last year they would have seen ten and twenty graduates applying for one position, now they would see triple the applicants from graduates and other professionals that had lost their job due to the pandemic.
Learning about the Kickstart program
After an unsuccessful interview or two, my work search coach introduced me to the Kickstart program. Here I found out about the web developer position at 2buy2.
After I sent in my application, I was contacted by 2buy2 for a first stage interview with the Head of IT and DX. Shortly after, I had a second interview lined up!
I was apprehensive though, I had already been in this situation multiple times and turned out unsuccessful due to lack of experience. I felt this may be the case again.
Fortunately, the interviews went well, and I was contacted a few hours later…I got the job!
I could not believe it; I had searched for so long for a job in my chosen career field and now I finally had the chance to showcase what I had learned at university.
Starting the Job
As my first day was approaching, I was extremely excited to get stuck in, but I still had a nervous feeling at the pit of my stomach. I had no idea what to expect. I’ve had previous jobs, but they weren’t my dream job; this is.
My first day arrived and everyone was very friendly, they made me feel welcome. This really built up my confidence and I really started to look forward to my future at 2buy2.
I work as part of the digital experience team and occasionally overlap with the marketing team. The majority of the time, I work with the Head of IT and DX and a senior developer, they have been invaluable to me.
They’ve pushed my existing skills and aided me with the development of new skills. Any time I have needed support with tasks, they make sure to be on hand to help.
Fortunately, I had confidence in my ability and got stuck into the new language, with the support of my colleagues. They made it a priority to teach me everything I needed to know, so that I could do this on my own. University taught me to be self-reliant, 2buy2 has helped me find the value in a proper support team and how their encouragement has helped me complete difficult tasks I never thought I could complete!
I’m really looking forward to developing new systems for 2buy2. This has been exactly what I needed to get into the industry. With few companies being willing to take risks with graduates, I am extremely thankful to 2buy2 for taking a risk on me.
Whatever the future holds for my career, this has been one of the most important stepping stones for me and it goes to show how valuable a program like Kickstart is for graduates and young people starting their careers.
I can’t wait to see what the next few months hold!