Tech company Neueda has offered full-time jobs to eight non-IT graduates.
Tech opportunities seem to be everywhere for graduates but what about those who did not pursue IT at third level?
Global tech company Neueda has offered full-time positions to eight graduates who successfully completed its Tech Academy training programme, delivered in partnership with the Department for the Economy and Belfast Met.
Neueda’s Tech Academy was initially launched in 2017 to provide an alternative, accelerated route into a career in tech for graduates who did not complete computer science.
In 2018, 13 out of 110 applicants gained a place on the intensive 12-week training course, delivered at Belfast Met’s E3 campus. At the end of the programme, eight trainees were offered roles within Neueda, starting in January of this year.
Paddy O’Hagan, chief operating officer at Neueda, said the future of the tech sector depends on identifying and nurturing talent from a wide range of areas.
“There is often a preconception that you need to have traditional computer science training to progress a career in IT, but technical skills can be taught,” he said. “Searching for non-IT graduates is about opening the skills net and looking for underlying talent so we can invest in new recruits as they invest in a career with us.”
Neueda’s Tech Academy trains participants in the technical and non-technical skills required to work in the IT sector, with Neueda’s internationally experienced teams sharing their experience and expertise.
Sasha Simms-Rowan is one of the eight graduates now working for Neueda following the training programme. She studied music technology and had previous experience in the finance sector, but her biggest interest was in software testing.
“I had a long-term plan in mind to get me into that area of work, which was going to involve a lot of postgraduate study and securing work experience to try and break into the sector,” she said. “Then I heard about Neueda Tech Academy through a graduate adviser from university.”
She said the training programme focused on a new topic every week and gave a great overview of the skills the graduates were going to need for a role in Neueda. “My skills were quite limited, but the course was designed to pull together a lot of knowledge and highlight individuals’ main areas of development,” she said. “Even if the course hadn’t resulted in me getting a job with Neueda, it still would’ve proved hugely valuable for my career.”
Another graduate, Conor Pointon, had a foundation degree in networking but wanted to move across to software. He found that increasingly difficult without formal qualifications, until he came across Neueda’s Tech Academy. Pointon said upon starting in his new role with the company, he was assigned a project immediately. “I am learning a lot every day and am finding the culture very open, supportive and enjoyable,” he said.
Breaking down barriers
When you take the graduates’ thought process into account, it’s clear that a misconception still exists with regard to tech careers. Many still believe that you need a degree in computer science or related discipline to move into a tech career.
Neueda’s head of people and culture, Lisa Sweeney, said the aim of the company’s training programme is to identify potential and encourage a passion for tech in those who don’t have the traditional qualification they once thought they needed.
“We need to break down the presumed barriers that lead people to believe traditional computer science training is a prerequisite to building a career in IT,” she said.
O’Hagan said the company plans to continue the Tech Academy on an annual basis. “We like to see a genuine passion for technology and an appetite for building a long-term career in IT. The Tech Academy application process highlights these traits, and the individuals who make it through to the training course typically flourish throughout the process,” he said.