A week in the life of... Daniel Devine, our FE Developer Apprentice

Why did you decide to work in web development?

I was previously developing a career in law costs - a somewhat obscure branch of law! Due to changes in legislation, the industry began rapidly shrinking and I had to rethink my career choices.

I have always had an interest in coding - web development in particular - but I had never taken the opportunity to pursue it. When my previous employer began offering voluntary redundancy, I saw this as a sign. I took the redundancy and began studying web development.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship with Reading Room?

After several months of study, I found that I was hitting a brick wall. I enjoyed the subject and was always keen to learn more, but without industry experience and guidance from others, I felt my progress would always be stunted.

I started looking online for opportunities to gain industry experience. Around the same time, a mutual friend put me in touch with John Hopley, Reading Room's Head of Front-End Development.

Over the phone, I explained my current situation to John. He told me he liked my enthusiasm and drive, but given my limited experience there were no roles suitable for me. I thanked him, and assumed that would be the end of it.

A week later, John got back in touch to say that he had spoken with Reading Room, and they were excited to offer me a position as a new apprentice. Two months later, I began working as a Front-End Developer.

Reading Room FE Intern

Can you tell us about the day-to-day of your apprenticeship?

Day-to-day, I am building simulated, non-customer based projects to showcase my skillset and broaden my abilities. Everything I do must be in keeping with industry standards. Each subsequent project is more complex than the last, which helps map my progress as a developer.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced so far?

It's early days, but the sheer size of the toolset that I needed to familiarise myself with was somewhat overwhelming at first.

Since starting at the beginning of January, I have learnt a huge amount. I am now confident working through a project, thanks to excellent mentoring from John and the generous support from the other Front-End Developers at Reading Room.

What are your future plans?

I plan to continue learning as much as possible, and become a full-time Front-End Developer. I have been handed a golden opportunity at Reading Room, and I will certainly make the most of it!

A word from John Hopley - Head of Front-End Development, and Daniel's direct line report:

"Daniel first got in touch with me through LinkedIn when a mutual friend advised him that Reading Room was advertising for new Front-End Developer roles. Speaking with Daniel was a breath of fresh air; he came across as an incredibly enthusiastic individual from the very start of our call, and he illustrated a clear passion for development. Unfortunately, his exposure to front-end development was minimal, so I wasn't able bring him on board in relation to any of the roles we had advertised.

Reading Room FE Developer

I felt that this was a real shame, especially given how much of a buzz it was to hear from someone with that level of enthusiasm. The next day, I started to investigate how we could set up an apprenticeship position at Reading Room, with the hope that I could get Daniel on board and working with my team. With a lot of help from my friends and colleagues working in Human Resources, we were able to get an apprenticeship offer out to Daniel.

Daniel has now been with us for around six weeks. As expected, Daniel has lived up to expectations, and quickly grasped a significant number of key skills in a short period of time. With the help of myself and my team, it won't be long until Daniel is building client projects and writing awesome code!"