Being an Apprentice in a Start-up - iungo Solutions

Being an Apprentice in a Start-up

Being an Apprentice in a Start-up

#NAW2021 Interview: Mason House, Software Architect & Degree Apprentice

How did you come to be an Apprentice with iungo?

I completed a Bachelors degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering between Southampton Solent University and the University of South Wales before joining a global manufacturing company as an Electronics Technician. I worked on product quality within embedded systems products and found that I naturally gravitated towards software development. With sponsorship from the General Manager for Operations, I designed and implemented a new system for measuring product quality using C# and SQL, developing front-end interfaces in WPF and UWP Application frameworks. As a result, I was given the opportunity to undertake a Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Software Engineering through the Open University. 

During the uncertainty of the global pandemic, I began working with the co-founders of iungo on a new concept to help people who may have lost their job find upskilling and retraining pathways. The concept quickly grew into a prototype, and with growing interest from potential customers, I decided that it was the best option for me to join the start-up full-time. With support from the Open University, I was able to transfer my apprenticeship over to iungo.

What’s it like being an Apprentice in a start-up?

As with many software engineers, I was mainly self-taught before starting my apprenticeship. In my previous role at a large corporate, I was working with technologies and frameworks that I already had experience with. Since joining iungo, I have had the freedom and autonomy to explore new technologies including non-relational databases, which have now become a major part of our technology strategy. 

Working for a start-up, you have more opportunity to apply what you learn from the apprenticeship to your role, making the apprenticeship more valuable. You also have greater autonomy and responsibility to shape your own direction within the company. In just six months, I have learned multiple new languages and implemented new technologies. I am now responsible for the end-to-end technology strategy at iungo. I have received management training and have supported other employees to develop their technical skills. 

What’s the best thing about your Apprenticeship?

The flexible working. I really don’t miss getting up at 06:00 every morning, or working a two-shift pattern. My Apprenticeship with the Open University means I can fit my learning in and around my lifestyle and work commitments. 

At iungo, we all work flexibly and digitally. There are times of the day where we are all available to meet as a team, or with customers or partners. However, for the most part, I can complete my work at the time that works for me. 

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

Since joining iungo nine months ago, I have worked with a small team of developers to build an entirely new Platform for managing careers transactions. I have also worked collaboratively with our partner organisation, Big Lemon, to bring iungo’s first ever product to the market. 

I have worked in intrapreneurial roles previously. However, this would not have been possible in a large corporation due to the lengthy procedures for project approval. 

Undertaking my apprenticeship at a start-up has given me exposure to new technologies, the chance to play a leading role in the development of iungo’s first product, and the opportunity to shape my career. 

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