My name is Evan, I’m a Software Developer at Ampersand and I’m from Portland, Oregon in the United States. My path to Ampersand was not a straightforward one. After graduating from Pacific University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology, I was unsure of what was next. I worked in various jobs in the health and fitness industry, mainly as a lifeguard and swim instructor. There came a point when I knew the health and fitness industry was not for me and decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in Computer Science.
My second degree was an online degree, which gave me the opportunity to work in the industry while attending school at the same time. Before graduating, I was able to move from manual quality assurance into a role in testing. This was a great step but there wasn’t any training on the job; the expectation was that I was ready-to-go from day one, which meant learning on my own in the evenings on top of my school work.
Upon job searching I found Ampersand and was immediately interested in their Graduate Developer program: they offered the visa sponsorship I required and the opportunity to learn PHP and software development skills on-the-job; while Manchester offered a thriving technology scene. After many early morning Skype calls with the team, I was offered the job in March 2018. Six months later, my family and I packed up and flew the 5000 miles from Portland to Manchester.
The graduate programme was everything I could have hoped for and then some. There are very few places where you have the opportunity to train on the job. For the first five months I, along with four other graduates, were given the opportunity to learn general software development skills, Symfony and Magento. We were able to learn from co-workers and each other. This is an amazing investment from Ampersand; onboarding graduates knowing that they will have a few months of dedicated training before they work with clients.
Here I am a year later, and so grateful for being able to have the time to learn and assimilate, it set the foundation for success within the company and being able to provide the best possible work for our customers. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn on the job, I have also given two DevX talks, one on React Hooks and one on Domain Driven Development. I’m now sharing my knowledge with other developers which feels great.
In addition, in October, I was able to attend Full Stack Europe in Antwerp, which gave me the opportunity to meet developers from across Europe and hear some incredible talks about a wide range of software development topics. Ampersand has given me every opportunity to grow as a developer both through on-the-job training and training driven-by-me. This commitment to learning and personal development not only pays dividends for the business but for my future career as well.