We’ve been working with our friends at Mission Labs for over 2 years now and their Head of Brand, Josh Healey, will be guest blogging for us! In this piece, he shares the story of Joseph Oldfield who joined our Bootcamp earlier this year – and is now an Apprentice Developer at Mission Labs.

Josh Healey: When did you think you might want to become a developer? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?

Joseph Oldfield: I have lived a life of indecisiveness, never really knowing what I want to do specifically. I have worked in sales, as a waiter, and for the Navy. None of these jobs gave me the thrill I get from coding in the sense that I am compelled to constantly solve problems! Alongside this, the requirements of my job change constantly which is very satisfying and engaging.

JH: did you ever consider the traditional routes into academia? Such as university? If so, what made you decide against it?

Joseph Oldfield: Whilst I do love academia in the sense that I have listened to about 3000 hours of podcasts on the Roman empire, I like to choose my own paths without an array of disinteresting information; traditional academia often failed to engage me, and I much prefer the route of learning something because of its inherent and practical use. For example, I have recently been doing a lot of work using Amazon Lex and Connect for a client. This made it feel useful, practical and purposeful – a stark contrast in my experience to the academic world.

JH: When did you first come across Code Nation?

Joseph Oldfield: I went to school with somebody who is involved in Code Nation and they asked for volunteers for an event at the Museum of Science and Industry. It mostly involved putting out chairs and handing out lego, but while watching the presentation I realised there was an opportunity to get into tech that I could not miss!

JH: Do you think they played an important role in helping you get to where you are now?

Joseph Oldfield: Absolutely. Not only did Code Nation help me find what I wanted to do in life, but they also provided me with the professional skills to get a job in the tech industry.

JH: If you had to pick three things, what would you say your most valuable learnings or experiences were at Code Nation?

Joseph Oldfield: Previously I had worked on small projects by myself, but at Code Nation, I learned to work in groups, how to realise my own strengths and play to the strengths of others. These 3 core skills are perfect for the tech industry where everything is about collaboration and learning from each other.

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JH: What were your thoughts when they paired you on an apprenticeship with Mission Labs?

Joseph Oldfield: I received a couple of job offers when finishing my course at Code Nation but was very happy to receive a pairing with my first choice of Mission Labs. This pairing enabled me to remain within Rossendale, and gain a vast array of experience within new Javascript-based tech stacks and at an exciting company.

JH: What has your experience been like so far at Mission Labs?

Joseph Oldfield: Fantastic. Not only have I been given the opportunity to learn lots of new technologies, but I have also had the help and support I need along the way. This has significantly increased my confidence and reduced the sense of imposter syndrome that many experience when starting a new role in a new industry.

JH: What sort of things have you been working on? Are you getting any hands-on opportunities?

Joseph Oldfield: It would be difficult to list all the projects I have worked on but my favorites include:

  • React Native applications for Android and IOS
  • backend work with Amazon Web Services
  • building chat robots with Amazon Connect and Lex.

I get many hands-on opportunities and I am regularly introduced to new technologies, which is honestly great.

JH: What have been your three biggest learnings or achievements during your apprenticeship at Mission Labs so far?

Joseph Oldfield:

If I had to offer three I would say:

  1. I have learnt that despite my initial fear when approached with a task that involves something brand new to me, I am capable and can put my mind to any task and get it done.
  2. I have managed to recover from losing the ability to move one of my hands which I’m pretty sure would be much more difficult in any other workplace or industry.
  3. I have gone from having very little experience of Amazon Web Services, to being comfortable with using Lambdas, Lex, Connect, DynamoDB and a range of other services.

JH: Is an apprenticeship as a developer how you imagined it would be?

Joseph Oldfield: It’s actually significantly better than I imagined it. I am simultaneously given the right amount of individual agency, while also being given a great support network if I do need help with anything. I am treated like any other member of the team and it feels good that we have a fantastic workplace culture here at Mission Labs.

JH: Would you recommend Code Nation to someone who is looking to get into coding?

Joseph Oldfield: Yes. I have already recommended Code Nation to many people who lost jobs or are having difficulty with COVID related unemployment.

Now is the time when everyone wants a job where they can work from home, be secure in a growing industry, and get to do something that is truly engaging and different every single day.

JH: What’s next for you now?

I want to improve my backend skills and become more comfortable with some new technologies. Outside of work I’m starting a VR application to simulate the spread of coronavirus, specifically to display the risks that offices pose when people are forced to operate in a highly populated environment.

Like the Sound of Joseph’s Story?

Here at Code Nation we’re always on the lookout for ambitious and inquisitive applicants. If you want to explore the possibilities of a career in technology and were inspired by Joseph’s story then head over to the Code Nation website and see how we can help you on your journey into tech.


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