We joined Zain to find out what his Degree Apprenticeship in Software Engineering entails and how he's got to where he is today.

What do you do at BT?

I joined BT on a 4-year long degree apprenticeship that specialises in Software Engineering. The programme consists in giving apprentices the opportunity to “rotate” into different areas within IT to gain experience across different aspects of the software development cycle. I am currently about to finish my first rotation in Quality Assurance and am looking to venture into Technical Delivery Management next. I am also studying alongside my rotations, for a degree in software engineering at Ravensbourne University in London.

Why did you choose a career in technology via an apprenticeship?

I have always been interested in technology and software throughout my academic studies and so was looking to apply to Universities in computer science. However, at the start of year 13, a contact recommended that I research degree apprenticeships and apply. Shocked at the benefits, including hands on experience in technology at the age of 18, a competitive salary and the lack of university debt appealed to me heavily and so decided to apply.

Although University life can look appealing and fun, the skills and experience I have gained during the short time I have been with BT hold more weight and importance in my life. Learning from people who have years of experience and knowledge, working on projects, managing workflows, and communicating efficiently with colleagues far outweighs just a standalone degree! Freshers week may sound tempting to some, but I say, work hard now, play later. 

What has been your favourite project so far?

My favourite project so far has been facilitating and leading the testing/Quality Assurance for a project budget tracking tool for internal BT senior managers and employees. Attempting to understand how to create a high-level test solution for a software/tool alongside communicating with other teams and managing expectations has allowed me to stretch my horizon of thinking and has challenged me, aiding to my overall growth.

Deepak Chinnam, the director of Quality Assurance, told me that with everything you take on at work, you should always feel slightly uncomfortable and have those butterflies in your stomach. Staying within your comfort zone stunts growth. I continue to strive to not be complacent and grab opportunities as they come so I can grow and become better day by day. 

It’s now Ramadan and you’re observing a fast from sunrise to sunset. How is your manager, team and BT as a whole flexible regarding that?

I truly believe that my faith and spirituality has led me to where I am today. Therefore, being able to practise Ramadan and fulfilling my obligations whilst continuing with my day to day life is very important.

Practising Ramadan in restrictive environments can prove to be challenging. However, I am lucky to be surrounded by understanding colleagues and managers that support my flexible working arrangements. I feel well supported by BT and am proud to be working for an organisation that is so inclusive and accepting of people from different faiths and traditions.  My team and managers are empathetic and understanding, which allows me both to focus on my spirituality and faith and get my work done to the best of my abilities. 

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