April 07, 2020
Getting a head start
By: Samia Khan

After A levels, I went to university to study Computer Science but soon realised that I was not learning to apply the subject practically. I wanted something more so left university after five months and started to apply for different apprenticeship schemes until I came across the Accenture scheme in Warwick.

I got sent details of the scheme via a company called Pathway who help provide an alternative to university by introducing young people to apprenticeships. They also provide a lot of support around the application process from the assessments through to the interviews and give you tips on what to do and what not to do. They were in contact with Accenture through a partnership they had in place and got in touch with me to see if I was interested, and I was.

I started my apprenticeship at the Warwick office in September 2019, so I’m in my first year. I’m not missing university life at all as it’s a great scheme offering many new opportunities. At university you needed to stick to a timetable but here, I’m enjoying the flexibility that comes with work. Plus, I can really use my skills and what I’m learning on the degree in my day-to-day role.

I’m now working in the Networks team and we manage firewall policies for our clients. Since starting I’ve had the opportunity to configure a Switch and go to the datacentre and rack it. To explain, a Switch is a device (like a router that you have for the Wi-Fi) which connects the network but it’s not as technical as a router. We put together the settings for that Switch – how it would work – and then went to the datacentre in London to connect it to a live network. This happened during my first week in the Networks team and I was pleased to be given that kind of responsibility and trust so early on.

The degree I’m studying is a Bachelor’s in Digital and Technology Solutions and it’s over four years. We don’t study at a physical university, instead it’s done through QA, where we have online lectures over 10 weeks covering the module. On the fifth week they release the assignment (although sometimes they do this earlier) which you then start to work towards and in week ten you have the exam and assignment deadline. We also have a two-day classroom-based workshop once a month, normally held at the QA offices. During these workshops our tutor goes through the content, gives us labs to do, explains the assignment and provides advice on how to do it.

When I was applying here, I read a lot about the work that Accenture were doing and there was one thing that stood out for me. This was a team that developed an App for people in lower economically developed countries that would allow them to manage their bank accounts remotely. I found that story really inspiring and knew that’s what I wanted to aspire to, work on projects that really help people. At Accenture you have the chance to work on projects of national and international importance and I know that I’ll have options to move my career in a different direction if that’s what I want to do.

Samia enjoys painting as a hobby and is a passion that she is hoping to develop further

Although I’m glad I was able to experience university, I feel I am gaining a lot more on this scheme. It’s nice to have my own income and be learning at the same time and I feel like I’m ahead in life. When I was at school and looking at my options, we were pushed to go to university, but I think this is better for people who really want to learn and put into practice what they are learning. I would say really think about why you want to go to university and if your end goal is to get a job, why not get a head start now.

To get a head start in your career, visit our apprenticeship website and find out more about our opportunities.

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