Apprenticeships, News, Software

National Apprenticeship Week learner story: Louise Gilligan, Software Engineer

08 February 2021 by Heidi Marshall

Zoopla is committed to giving opportunities to women who are looking to forge a career in technology and innovation. The rigorous recruitment process for this cohort of trainees involved an inclusive approach to recruitment, capitalising on Zoopla’s membership of the Tech She Can Charter. Seventy per cent of the Zoopla trainees are female, compared with an estimated ten per cent industry average. Read more here. 

Louise Gilligan is one of ten Zoopla trainee Software Engineers. She is mid-way through an 18-month Corndel Software Engineering apprenticeship diploma. Louise describes her journey into Software Engineering.

 “Software Engineering was not something that I was encouraged to learn at a higher level in school – my year just missed out on the big tech push. I went down the arts route and did a history degree. It wasn’t until I came into the working world and became a recruiter for software engineers that I found out there were huge teams of people building products. I quickly realised that I am much more suited to that side of things. Whilst I learnt great skills in sales and was always up for the challenge, my passion is technology and I feel lucky to have a role where I can learn, create and analyse every day.   

I’ve always been really keen to have my own company or building a product in the future that makes a difference. I think that having skills in software engineering will set me up to achieve that.     

Through my recruitment consultant role, I was aware of the lack of women in tech. Companies with diverse teams build better products and I wanted to work somewhere that recognised this. Zoopla’s partnership with the Tech She Can charter heavily influenced the reason that I applied. Their proactivity in levelling the playing field and inspiring future generations to get into coding was really exciting to me. It is great to work at a company that cares as much about diversity as I do.

The Zoopla Software Engineer apprenticeship was the first Tech She Can Software Engineer piloted apprentice programme.

About two years ago I started teaching myself some coding but found it tough by myself. I thought I’d invest in an introductory course through an organisation called 23 Code Street, which focused on getting women into tech.     

Louise completed the bootcamp in October 2020 and since then has been applying her skills in the workplace at Zoopla. The transition from the bootcamp was great. I was paired with more senior developers. I would write the code whilst they watched me on a video call, so I learnt very quickly. The first project I worked on was to refactor a design system code – tidying up existing code, that could be used across Zoopla. I worked alongside two other apprentices from my bootcamp. The design system continues to be used.

I then worked on a front end estate agent portal, which was mainly independent and I worked with TypeScript – learnt on my Corndel bootcamp.”  

Louise enjoyed all aspects of the bootcamp. She is applying C#, TypeScript and Git knowledge to her role on a regular basis.   

Looking forward, Louise is excited to graduate as a certified Software Engineer. I want to complete the portfolio to demonstrate everything I have learned. This will give me something that I can take to people in the business and evidence what I have done and what I can now do.   

Find out more about Corndel's Software Engineering diploma
Click here

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