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Coventry Building Society

Employee profile

Jason Cohen

IT Graduate Development Student

I chose CBS – IT Graduate scheme because when I was doing my research for companies I would like to work for, I found that the values, direction of change and training/development opportunities to be the best for what I wanted to achieve in a professional role.

My role in IT is very diverse. I am allocated a team/department to work in and within that I have the opportunities to learn by communicating with employees across the site and taking part in work that contributes to the success of the society. For example, I spent six months in the digital change team as a Test Analyst and I was able to test a wide range of functions on the website and ensure the quality of software from conception stages through to delivery in production. As a graduate there are a range of opportunities to spend time with people in other departments to understand the business as a whole and not just one function; spend time in the community and take part in society wide developments.

All the training received as of yet has been on the job and there has been no formal training. However, provided you show a willingness to learn and develop there are numerous training avenues you can pursue. For example, I was able to use new software to learn automation skills as a Test Analyst as well as access to online AWS courses.

There is no specific structure to the scheme. You are placed in a role which you may have an interest in and you will have options to move to different areas throughout the two years. As IT is so diverse, you may choose to pursue a specific avenue in IT, such as development, or experience a wide range of areas that develop your understanding and interests, but this really depends on the person and what they want from the scheme.

One of my most notable pieces of work, which is highly accessible, is developing a test plan and script for the Branch Finder on the consumer website. It was my job to create test cases and ensure the successful delivery of a redesigned Branch Finder service. I had to be in constant communication with software developers, business analysts, product owners and other stakeholders to ensure the application was successfully implemented in production.

What I enjoy the most is wherever you go in the society, everyone is completely open and honest about their experiences and are willing to help you learn and develop in knowledge and as a person. More often than not, people have so many experiences to share which really helps graduates, who are very early in their careers, learn from the mistakes and successes of other employees.

One of the main challenges I faced whilst at the society is being moved to different departments all too frequently, which can act as a barrier to the learning and development of the graduate. However, this scheme is designed to get a full understanding of IT and it is natural for this issue to occur. To overcome this I have had to plan a clear direction for where I want my career path to lead down and raise this in a professional manner as soon as possible to ensure the correct arrangements can be made. Regarding support, there is a lot of people you can speak to such as Line Managers, Placement Managers and Programme Leads to raise any issues with. However, it is up to the graduate to utilise this network appropriately.

Working in IT is great, there is a clear focus on wellbeing which allows me to work flexibly without any guilt. There is also improvements in collaborative working and the society which can feel like a community more than a work place, which really helps me to enjoy the job without stress and find opportunities to learn from all the projects happening around the society. You are also encouraged to work from home when and if you want which is really good especially if you have things you need to do that day – which is a big perk.