Apprenticeship Levy, Software

Meet our Professional Development Experts: Gareth Johnson, Software Engineering

05 October 2019

Gareth Johnson studied Maths at Oxford and was a hobbyist developer as a student. He combined his studies with tutoring – firstly GCSE students, when he was studying A‑levels and then A‑Level students when he was an Undergraduate.

Gareth joined Softwire as a Developer, with little practical experience and benefited greatly from the training offered to him. This ignited an interest in coaching within his new field of expertise – Software Development, so when the opportunity was offered to become a Professional Development Expert on Corndel’s Software Engineering programme, he felt it would be rewarding to pass his knowledge on.

When you develop software you generally know it’s going to be helpful, or you suspect it is, but when you train people you are actively changing their lives. To be able to balance a combination of the two is my ideal role. I can use my practical knowledge to help people build a career.’

Watching people grow and change throughout the Software Engineering programme is very rewarding. Witnessing their achievements after a short period of time feels like a privilege. You see some amazing transformations in the first three weeks of the course. Some of our learners have a little bit of knowledge, others have none. By the end of week two, all of them – without exception, build an app using the TFL API, which displays live bus timing information for stops close to you.. This is the point in the course when it really starts to feel real and demystifies Software Engineering for our learners.’

Of course, it’s challenging. Learners come in at different levels and I quickly need to ascertain exactly how much people know and pitch the work accordingly, personalising the learning experience and providing a variety of material that stretches them.’

My average day when I am coaching involves around 4 hours of one-to-one or group interactive calls, where we discuss the topics the learners are working through, specific projects, any difficulties they are encountering and how to overcome them and I introduce new concepts. A similar amount of time is spent reviewing the code they have written and the exercises they have completed. The day usually finishes with admin, learning plans and team meetings.’

When we are running Bootcamp learning – our intense, classroom-based learning, the whole day is spent pairing with learners, setting practical projects and reviewing the outputs.’

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