From apprentice to IT Dolphin

I decided I wanted a career, not just a job. Here’s how 383 helped me make the jump.

I love my job. No, scratch that. I love my career!

I never thought I’d be able to say that. I had managed to find myself stuck in a bit of a rut before joining 383. Clock in, clock out, rinse and repeat. No prospects, just paying the bills. This isn’t what I had envisioned when I was taking GCSEs and planning my future all those years ago in school. Oh, I should point out now, I’m what you might call a “mature student.” At 32 years of age I began an IT apprenticeship at 383 Project, and I love it! But it’s not always been this way.

So. How did I get here?

Wind the clock back. I left school a little clueless in all honesty. My GCSEs weren’t terrible, and I knew my end goal was a career in IT, but I had no idea how to get there. I followed the advice of my careers adviser blindly — looking back, I should have raised an eyebrow when he advised me to do business studies in sixth form, but you live and learn. After a year, I realised it would get me nowhere and all the things I wanted to spend money on were calling out to me. So, I abandoned that route and decided to try an apprenticeship.

I started as an apprentice for a small manufacturing company, studying ‘business administration’. This is relevant to my story as it was the beginning of the end for my dreams and aspirations. I found myself in that rut I mentioned earlier and, after seven years, moved to another job that paid more money but had no better prospects. As the years went on, the minimum wage increased. My wage did not. I was still in that rut and now the money wasn’t even good. I was 32, but still in the rut I found myself in 15 years before.

IT support | 383 Project

Time for a change

Right. Let’s look at that career in IT again.
Experience required. MTA certificates required. CompTIA certification required.
I have none of these.
Apprenticeships?
You will achieve MTA certification.
Sold.

It was a little more drawn out than that, but the point is, here I am now — an IT Apprentice at 383 Project! I no longer have just a job — I have a career. I’m no longer just paying bills — I’m working for a company that gives me opportunities to grow, to learn, to mature and to progress. I have prospects. I am appreciated, and for this I am appreciative. This is the part that I really wish to impress upon the reader — the opportunities provided by 383 and the culture here are what really make it a joy.

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of 383 before I applied for the position. I know quite a few people working here had, and they applied because of the great things that they had heard. I had no idea who 383 were or what they did until I started researching them for my application.

The application process was intimidating too. I was given a few typical IT/infrastructure scenarios and asked what my resolutions would be. I had no experience and no qualifications… I had no answers! I did some research, printed out my findings and did my best to give realistic and suitable solutions. I didn’t know at the time, but this is exactly what was wanted from me.

Point is, they knew that I wouldn’t have the answers or the experience. They only wanted to see a willingness to learn and the ability to work on my own initiative. These are important traits at 383 as it’s what drives us forward. Always learning, always growing. There are opportunities for all, throughout the year to learn, such as breakfast sessions, and lunch and learns, where 383ers will share their knowledge and experiences. We recently brought back HydraHack, a free event for technical people to share ideas, techniques and learn from each other. And there’s also Canvas, our award-winning annual conference where product people share their insider stories and experiences. Personal and professional development is a big deal here!

New challenges

I am constantly growing, developing new skills and being pushed beyond my comfort zone. Not just in IT either. I have never written a blog post before! It might not be the best thing you’ve read, but for me it’s outside my comfort zone and an opportunity I have not had before. It’s an opportunity that terrifies me, honestly. To put a part of myself ‘out there’ — but that’s the point, isn’t it? It wouldn’t be outside my comfort zone if it didn’t.

Most things I’ve accomplished at 383 have been outside my comfort zone at first. But the more I do, the less terrifying it becomes and the more I grow. This is the opportunity 383 offers me.

Going forward

Now, as I approach the end of my apprenticeship, I must consider ‘what’s next?’ I have my Microsoft Technology Associate certifications for Network Fundamentals, Software Development Fundamentals, Cloud Fundamentals, and Mobility and Device Fundamentals. I could take these and work an IT support role in any number of companies. I could sit at a desk nine to five, clock in and clock out, and pay my bills.

Or I can stay here, at 383, continue to learn, continue to grow and continue working for a company that appreciates what I do and that will help and support me in my personal and professional development.

It’s a no-brainer. I’m happy right here at 383, thank you very much!

Want to see where your career could go with 383? Check out our open roles – we’d love to hear from you!