When deciding on a career, there are several factors to consider. Will it be something you can see yourself doing in ten years? Does it excite you? Will there be room to learn and grow? Here at 3Squared, we are proud to support those looking to forge a career in rail and technology through our apprenticeship scheme, which Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer, entered the company through.
To find out more about Leon’s experience of joining 3Squared, his apprenticeship and growth with the company so far, we recently sat down with him for our ‘Meet the Team’ content series, which you can read more about below:
Can you give us an overview of your role at 3Squared?
At 3Squared, I am a Junior/Apprentice Software Engineer. My role focuses on the development of our products, and I help with the development of new features. This includes writing the code that drives them as well as fixing bugs that have been raised, so that users continue to have a good experience with our applications.
What drew you to your role?
Ever since I was younger, I was fascinated by computers and technology and as I continued to grow up it only increased. Once I got my hands on experience with programming at around the age of 12-13, I was hooked. This comes from three main reasons – creativity, problem solving and results.
I enjoy having the freedom to create a solution to a problem. With programming, there are often many ways to solve an issue and being a developer it’s your responsibility to find the most efficient route to take. I enjoy experimenting with new technology as hands on experience always helps me to learn much faster.
Being able to see the finished result working and people using it confirms that all my efforts were not in vain.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for my morning Scrums. Afterwards I crack on with some work up until lunch time which is usually around 1pm for me. Once I’ve had a bite to eat it’s back to work.
Depending on which week it is I may have project meetings just before and after lunch. Towards the end of the day, I’ll fill in my timesheet and tend to finish my working day around 4:30pm – 5pm.
What do you enjoy about working at 3Squared?
The culture, people, and the work – everyone here is wonderful and I always enjoy a little chat when grabbing a coffee. The culture is extremely friendly, particularly for new starters. I always got help when I needed it, whatever questions I had were solved and even though I was shy at first, I quickly came out of my shell and fitted right in.
The work is always interesting – I’ve got my hands on different languages and technologies that I’ve never used before and managed to create production content with them. It’s been a great learning experience.
What excites you about working within the rail industry?
Feeling like I’m making a difference – the rail industry is quite literally very close to home and it makes the changes I am making feeling a lot more personal.
It’s crazy to give East Midlands Railway (EMR) a demo of some of our new features and then the next day I’m riding an EMR train. Understanding the industry itself, I had no idea how the rail industry works when I first started however after working on different applications, I now understand how much hard work goes into rail operations.
What advice would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in rail technology?
Get stuck into it as soon as possible. The rail technology industry is all about change so the more than you can learn and understand the better. Don’t be afraid of new things – with the constant rapid changing of the industry, you must be able adapt to change.
What is your favourite part about working in Sheffield?
There are many great places near the office itself, with a variety of restaurants, clothing, and book shops. It’s a great place for team lunches, socials, and AGMs with no shortage of places to go.
What drew you to the apprenticeship path and what value have you found out of this entry point into your career?
I knew I would gain extremely valuable experience from the apprenticeship, through the ability to be surrounded by computers and technology. I’ve found that I have learned so much these past two and a half years it’s unfathomable and even more than work or academic experience could provide; I have grown so much as a person.
What advice would you give for others looking to embark on an apprenticeship?
Don’t hold back and do it – an apprenticeship is a great way to gain real world experience as well as academic experience. Combined, these can really make for a good CV. It can also help you to learn, as by working you are surrounded by what you’re learning making it a lot easier to pick up than someone who only does one or the other.
Thanks for sharing your insight into life at 3Squared, Leon! If you would be interested in learning more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here.