Aston University: Philip Hardwick

Philip Hardwick, a digital and technology solutions degree apprentice at Capgemini, on doing his degree at Aston University while working as a software engineer

Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship?

I initially chose a degree apprenticeship because I wanted to start working and be able to support myself and most jobs didn’t pay enough or needed a degree. A degree apprenticeship has enabled me to get the necessary qualifications for my chosen career path whilst working at the same time.

What did your friends/parents/teachers think about you doing an apprenticeship?

My friends have seen that it’s prepared me well for my career. Working alongside studying has been beneficial for my ability as a software engineer.

What was the application process like?

The application process was straight forward, but also required a phone interview and assessment centre.

Describe your role

I am a software engineer at Capgemini. I design and build websites, applications and back-end services for a variety of clients.

What is your average week like?

I will travel to work, usually London, or sometimes work at home, if the client allows. I work in a team to develop features of the application we’re working on. This involves liaising with the team manager, the business analyst and product owner to determine the requirements. My work is a mix of coding, reading documentation, testing and supporting others and other teams.

What has been the highlight of your apprenticeship?

The highlight was definitely graduating—a fitting end to years of hard work.

How has your apprenticeship helped your career?

It’s informed my knowledge and my practice, particularly giving names to things I might have done instinctively before. I’ve also gained a lot of experience/confidence and this has progressed my career much faster than if I wasn’t on the apprenticeship scheme.

How did you balance working and studying?

I started work on coursework early and I did things little and often. I also used the hour-long train rides to work to do uni work.

Do you think you have missed out on the university experience and why?

Distance learning is very different and you only see your classmates a few times a year, I don’t think I particularly missed out on the experience but it may have been a bit harder—particularly group work.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing a degree apprenticeship?

It’s the best way to start a career but be prepared to work hard and be able to juggle your life, work and study.

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