Hi, my name is Bethan and I’m a Full Stack Developer at Allstate Northern Ireland. Prior to that I studied the Master’s in Software Development part-time.
Describe your current role.
How did you get your current role?
Before I started the Masters in Software Development at Queen’s I had no previous computer science or technology experience at all. So the conversion course was instrumental in giving me those fundamental skills in programming and software development that enabled me to get the job with Allstate. I was also able to go to the EEECS Careers team to get to tailor-made advice on how to change roles into the Tech sector, on how to prepare for assessment centres and interviews which was really valuable and made me feel really prepared when I went up for my interview with Allstate.
What interview tips do you have for students/ graduates?
One of the things that came across really clearly to me in my interview process with Allstate was that they were looking for candidates from a range of backgrounds who would work well with others. It wasn’t so much about how technically knowledgeable you were but about how you would approach challenges. The assessment centre and interview were designed to let you show your skills in problem-solving, working as a team and communicating with others. One tip I have for students and graduates would be to practise using the STAR technique where you describe a situation, task action and result as this is a really good method for highlighting your skills.
What soft skills are most important in your role?
I would say some of the most important skills in my role are teamwork and how you communicate with others, the ability to give and receive constructive feedback, problem-solving and approaching challenges flexibly. These were all skills that I was able to practise and develop throughout my course at Queen’s. For example, working on programming assignments or on my group project in software development.
What training did you get when you started the role?
When I was offered the job with Allstate I was invited to join a specialist 12-week Full Stack Development training programme. This was a training programme that was part-time instructor lead or online group training and part-time working embedded with your team at Allstate. My colleagues were all really supportive of the time I spent in training and of also training me up within the team. It was also really nice to have a whole group on the same training programme where we could practise skills such as mob programming and group presentations and really learn how to work as a team of software developers, so the training was really excellent in preparing me to join my team full-time.
How have the people in your organisation inspired you?
One of the things that I really like about Allstate is that we have a graduate community of practice. This allows everybody who are early on in their careers to come together through virtual or in person events and get to know people working in other areas. We also get information sessions to help us decide what direction we might want to go with our career. It’s really good to have these opportunities to network with other people in other areas and to find out how your peers are getting on in the company.
Why would you recommend students and graduates apply to your firm?
I would encourage students and graduates to apply to Allstate as it’s a great company to start your career and learn and develop throughout. I’ve been with the company just over one year and in that time, they’ve introduced a 3-year graduate development scheme that helps graduates in their early stages of their careers to continue to learn and develop. Having been here one year I’ve now been able to gain a promotion and I have a clear direction for my career for the next two years at least.
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