I reached out to Sarah again and began the interview process for the recruitment role. I spoke with then head of talent engagement Lorna Madden and highlighted to her my interest in tech and my ambition to become a software developer. I could not have been more thrilled with her reaction. She made it clear to me that Opencast would support me in making the move from talent into tech from the get go.
Some hiring managers might dismiss the prospects for a candidate based on the idea of losing them from their team within 18 months. But Lorna was excited at the prospect of supporting me to make the ‘squiggle’ into the world of software delivery. When I received the news that I was being offered the role, I was over the moon. Naturally, though, I did have doubts as to whether I would have the support Lorna had mentioned and be able to make the move. I needn’t have worried.
I could tell straight away that this move was the best career decision I’d ever made.
Following the arrival of my son just a week after joining Opencast in late 2021, my learning inevitably slowed down. But I soon became comfortable in my new role and slowly but surely got back in the swing of things. Lorna played a massive part in this.
From day one, she was enthusiastic about me making the switch and regularly checked in with me to ask about my progress. She encouraged me to put a plan and goals in place. She set me up with one of Opencast’s new people experience partners, Louise Barker, and helped me with a Pluralsight licence to help with my learning too. Lorna also gave me ownership over Opencast’s applicant tracking system, and I soon I became a subject matter expert and supported the business with the integration between that and a new ERP system that was being introduced.
Though I absolutely loved my time with the talent engagement team, as I grew to understand the role of Opencast consultants, I came to realise that many of the softer skills gained from working in recruitment were easily transferrable to the role that I was working towards.
Alongside Lorna and Louise’s support, I have received massive support and encouragement from people right across Opencast’s software delivery community, many of whom have given up their time to help me with the support I’ve needed and continue to do so when I need it.
In June 2023, 18 months after joining Opencast, I began a secondment in the company’s software delivery team. Software delivery practice lead Juan Rodriguez set me up with a range of learning material so I could learn the Scala programming language, which would enable me to start shadowing some of our teams working with our client at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). As part of this I completed Opencast’s bespoke training pathway for Scala, which was tailored to the requirements of HMRC.
My first project was a nice one. The team was preparing a handover to HMRC on its live services, which meant that the bulk of the work I was able to shadow on was content changes. Nonetheless, I felt that my learning was accelerating and I was starting to understand things better. It set me up perfectly for a move on to my next project a few months later.
That project, which I am working on now, is certainly more challenging - but I feel that my learning is in overdrive. I’m learning more about advanced features of Scala and participating in more sprint ceremonies. There is something incredibly satisfying about writing and making changes to code, then seeing it working on screen in front of you, especially when it’s something that has taken considerable time to figure out.
In December 2023, I received the news from Juan that my secondment would be made permanent. Which was great news just before the Christmas break. I can now finally call myself a junior consultant in software delivery – which feels amazing.
I know that my journey is just beginning and I have so much to learn. But being at Opencast and knowing that learning is encouraged - and also that one day I could support someone else’s journey – I’m so excited about what lies ahead.
Interested in working at Opencast? Check out our vacancies.
Published: 29 January 2024