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The joys of joining the IT Grad Scheme virtually

We caught up with Muskan, Jay and James, three of our IT Graduates, who joined Admiral virtually in November 2020. After just a few months, they have become familiar with the latest technologies such as Microsoft Azure, and programming languages including HTML, SQL and Gosu.

We spoke about their virtual recruitment and onboarding experience, how they have learnt to build good working relationships and how to stay motivated in the new virtual world of work.


How would you describe your role?

Muskan: I’m a Software Development trainee on Admiral’s IT Graduate Scheme. As part of my learning, I’m undergoing training in Software Development, where I’m able to apply my technical knowledge to small programming tasks.

Jay:
I’m a trainee on Admiral’s IT Graduate Scheme, pursuing my goal to one day become a Software Engineer. Having come from a non-technical background, I’m currently undergoing intensive training to learn key concepts, languages, and skills.

James:
I will be part of Admirals continuous effort to improve their IT infrastructure and adopt new beneficial technologies before the competition. Day to day, this means closing tickets in an Agile working environment.


What stood out about Admiral’s Tech that encouraged you to apply?

Muskan: It became apparent when researching Admiral’s 2.0 strategy, that they understood the importance of digital both now and in the future workplace. Admiral views the business and technology as one, acknowledging that an eco-based system model is required. This encouraged me to apply, as I wanted to work for a forward-thinking company.

Jay:
I’ve been interested in joining Admiral for a long time due to their excellent reputation as an employer. The chance to do that whilst starting a new career in tech was far too good to pass up. Before joining, I could not write a line of code. In six months, I’ve been introduced to front-end languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React and server-side languages and frameworks such as Java, Spring, and SQL. It’s been intense, but the support offered by Admiral has been absolutely second to none.

James:
Admiral’s IT Graduate Scheme represented an unmatched opportunity for me to get into the tech field. Admiral were willing to invest much more into building my skills than any other company. Admiral are always looking at using the latest technologies such as Microsoft Azure and use a wide range of programming languages such as Java (Spring Boot), Javascript (React) or Gosu, this further encouraged me to apply.


How did you find the virtual recruitment process?

Muskan: The recruitment process was seamless. Virtual interviews were conducted by Admiral employees as opposed to using AI/robotics, which made the interview engaging and gave me the opportunity to showcase my personality.

Jay:
The virtual recruitment process was certainly a new experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the group assessments that were set up for candidates. It gave me an insight into the company before joining and the chance to meet some of my future colleagues.

James:
Surreal at times. It’s harder to get into the mindset for an interview sitting in your living room than it is in a company’s reception area. However, video calls are a very effective tool. Once the interview began it felt just like we were face-to-face. I particularly liked that Admiral took the time to get to know me personally as well as assessing my technical capabilities.


What inspires you in your day-to-day role whilst working virtually?

Muskan: The biggest motivator for me, is that I’m always learning. Even when I have a new project to deliver, I have a lot to gain for my personal growth. The fact that Admiral cares about me as an individual with my own goals inspires me to keep bettering myself. Working virtually brings pro’s and con’s, however the culture at Admiral makes even working from home enjoyable. There are endless opportunities to get to know your team which helps keep morale in a virtual world.

Jay:
The biggest inspiration I have in my work right now, is the investment that Admiral are making into my career and the level of trust that comes automatically. This motivates me to give back the same level of commitment in my day-to-day work. The IT Graduate Scheme provides me with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals for a successful career in tech and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

James:
Time and again, Computer Programmers have changed the world working out of their spare rooms. Tech giants were started in garages. Computer Programming is one of the original work-from-home careers, so working from home feels more natural to me than it perhaps does for people in other professions. Also, call it immature, but letting myself believe a bit of the Hollywood myth that surrounds this field. Play some music that feeds into that. I’m learning to be a hacker (in the coding-as-artform sense, not the criminal sense).


How has your team/manager supported you during your onboarding?

Muskan: My manager and team have been a great support network during the onboarding process. We have weekly catch ups as a team (sometimes more frequently if needed) and monthly 121’s with my manager. These meetings are not only for professional help but any matters which may have the slightest chance of affecting your everyday work. I’ve felt very supported by my team and manager.

Jay:
The team has been fantastic during onboarding. We’ve really forged bonds as a group of people, which seems odd in some ways since we’ve never met in person. We’ve had regular meetings and kept in touch with each other, whether by Zoom, Teams or WhatsApp. Our Talent Scheme Coordinator has been amazing, showing us the ropes and going above and beyond to help us feel part of the Admiral family.

James:
How haven’t they? Weekly catch-up meetings, daily check-ins, gift packages, virtual Friday fun, the list goes on. Our Talent Scheme Co-ordinator fights our corner for tech support and training, and this has been invaluable. It can be difficult when you’re new to say a) you want things done faster, b) you want more resources or c) someone’s made a mistake. Our Talent Scheme Co-Ordinator does that for us, and while she does so, she reminds us that although we’re currently in full-time training, it’s still right to think of our work as important and speak up when something’s stopping us from working effectively.
 

Have you been able to build good working relationships having joined remotely?

Muskan: Surprisingly, yes. You wouldn’t expect to make such good working relationships when working from home, but we really have made the most of all the resources we have available. We arrange Friday Fun every week and have been introduced to the Core and Data Analytics grads, by competing in ‘grad houses’, in social competitions. This has been a great way to meet more of Admiral’s graduates.

Jay:
The working relationships we’ve been able to build, despite working remotely, has been fantastic. From our weekly ‘Friday Fun’ sessions involving online games and quizzes, to events such as the IT & InfoSec (Information & Security) awards, which included a cocktail master class. There has been a strong emphasis on maintaining the social side of work. This has gone a long way in helping us to build good relationships with one another. I feel comfortable speaking to my team regarding any technical, professional or personal problem and know that they will help me as best they can, as I would do for them. In six months, we’ve been through a lot together!

James:
Yes, absolutely. That strongest bond is with the other graduates. We think of ourselves as a unit. The more elaborate social events helped, but frankly most of the bonding happened just by swapping memes and cracking frequent jokes on Whatsapp.


What would you like to do on your first day back in the office?

Muskan: Take a tour of the building and grab a drink with my team!

Jay:
I never thought I’d miss meetings, but I really look forward to the day that we can all sit around a table again in person, with a coffee, having a chat and bouncing ideas off each other! And without having to say that ubiquitous phrase of our times…. “You’re on mute!”

James:
Walk through every floor and remind myself how large this company is. I’ve worked for SMEs so far in my professional life and it would be great to get a grasp of the scale of Admiral. More importantly, seeing the physical layout of the office will help solidify what all the departments of the company are and how they fit together.

Click here to view our current Tech vacancies. 

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