In some ways I was one of the lucky ones, as I finished my degree with a pretty strong idea of the career I wanted to pursue – that of a software developer. However, trying to get into the IT industry without a degree in computer science is quite tricky, as you simply lack the training. That’s when I found Dorset Software, who were looking for STEM graduates with an interest in programming – they would handle the training.

The offer sounded great; to the point that I was wondering what the catch would be. I sent off an application to see what happened, and within a week I’d been invited to an interview at their offices. Shortly after that the job offer came through, and having been impressed with what I saw at the interview I readily accepted.

During my training period I worked through various courses, gradually introducing me to the core languages and technologies used by the company. I was also assigned a mentor, who was always available to offer help and support if I needed it. But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t feel like you’re back at school – there’s ‘real work’ going on all around, and in fact I was asked to help with a bit of testing for a couple of weeks partway through my training, giving me some valuable experience in that side of the development procedure.

Once I’d finished my formal training there was no delay in finding me some real work, my first project involving redesigning a local authority website. This in fact used some technologies I’d not encountered so far, emphasising the idea that, even though my formal training was over, the learning process wasn’t about to stop.

However, you’re only in the office for about a third of your waking week, what about the rest of the time? Well between the Friday pub nights, Football (or Pool in winter), Badminton on Sundays, occasional cinema trips and other outings, you’ll find things to do. And organising your own events is easy – I found a local pub has a quiz each Tuesday, and one email later we had a team ready to go. This doesn’t mention the funding Dorset Software has put aside towards events, if anyone has any particularly good ideas and is looking for a little financial support to get it off the ground.

All in all, Dorset Software is offering a genuine chance to kick start your career in the IT industry, with some great training and industry opportunities, coupled with a friendly group of colleagues who are always up for a pint.

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