The Opportunity of a Lifetime - My Modern Apprenticeship

March 3, 2016 Dan Williams

Dan Williams is a software developer at Leidos

Dan Williams is a Software Developer with the Public Sector team in Glasgow. As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Dan shared an insight into his experience as an apprentice.

I started my journey towards becoming a Software Developer at the age of 13 when my father - who is also a Software Developer - loaned me a book on Java, which I have never returned! Since then I have always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps.

Having decided that a career in Software Development was for me, I initially went to college hoping to go on to University. It was only later, that I learned about Modern Apprenticeships where you can work and learn at the same time on the job. So, I then decided that an Apprenticeship in Software Development would be the best route into a career for me. I contacted QA Apprenticeships and landed an interview with the business in their Glasgow office, who had recently hired their first Apprentice Developer Daniel Morrison.

After that, I attended an assessment centre for my interview where I was able to meet employees - my future colleagues - and see where I would be working. There were four candidates in total that day and I think we were all a little bit intimidated at first but quickly eased into it.

We started with one-to-one interviews with Senior Developers while Daniel himself talked to us about what an Apprenticeship would entail. I had the first interview of the day and apparently confused them a little as they couldn’t decide what my accent was - I’m originally from South Africa!

After our free lunch - which I think was a panini of some sort - we participated in a group exercise. It forced us to work as a team to talk through a scenario and decide the best option. After the exercise we played a cooperative board game, which again forced us to work together.

I was contacted a few days later and offered a position.

The Apprenticeship programme at takes about a year to complete. During that time I was always working on real projects with my mentor, Andrew Hendry, developing web pages and functionality for our customers. Andrew was always the first person I’d go to if I needed help or had questions to ask – as an Apprentice you can never ask enough questions. However, if Andrew wasn’t around there was always someone else to ask, as the community of developers we have here is so friendly and talented.

The trick is to be a sponge and take in as much information & knowledge as possible

I managed to get where I am today by working hard and completing the Apprenticeship, the trick is to be like a sponge and take in as much information and knowledge from the people around you as possible. Just keep asking questions when you need help or even if you just want to know something.

Last year I decided to further my learning by starting a part time Computer Science university course. I have learned a huge amount on the job but now I want to learn more of the theory, to make it easier to fully explain the work that I am completing and to fully understand the concepts and patterns that I make use of every day. The course will broaden my knowledge in the area of Computer Science and allows me to continue to earn qualifications while working.

I couldn’t be happier with my Modern Apprenticeship. There are so many good things that I have got out of it. I now have a career working with great people, doing the thing I love. A Modern Apprenticeship with a major technology company was the opportunity of a lifetime.


Dan is a software developer with the Leidos Public Sector team in Glasgow.

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