What’s it like to be a SOA Developer: an interview with Liam & George
How many of us knew exactly what we wanted to do when we left school? And did we really know the exact path to get there?
There are so many options when it comes to further education ; college, universities, internships and of course, apprenticeships and traineeships. Here at the School of Automation (SOA) it’s our mission to help anyone build a career in Robotic Process Automation. We know that we work in a fast-growing industry and want to give anyone – no matter what their background – the chance to thrive in this field and have a successful future.
George and Liam are two of our current recruits from our 12-week foundation programme in Ireland which is followed with a one-year Software Process Automation Developer Traineeship.
Liam, 27yrs old from Co. Clare first saw the SOA traineeship on a jobseeker’s website and it struck him due to the fact he would be able to work and learn whilst taking part in the course. Prior to the pandemic, Liam spent three years at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) studying internet systems development. He had been looking for something remote, so again SOA’s traineeship ticked all of the boxes.
Liam said: “When it comes to remote learning, as long as I had direction on what I was doing and how to learn, I am fine. We really are supported all of the time and whenever you ask for help you get it. After the initial interview, the team spent about a week getting to know you and see your creativity – it was great that it wasn’t completely just classroom-based, but very interactive.”
Liam added that the traineeship journey so far has been great; trainees go at their own pace and are not rushed to do projects. With the training projects, they are largely done with others so people can work together to generate ideas for projects.
Within the first 12 weeks, the trainees work on test projects to mimic real life scenarios such as gathering data from websites which bots will then put into an excel spreadsheet.
Liam concluded: “I would recommend the traineeship to anybody who isn’t interested in the typical academic experience. It’s quite nice doing things for an actual purpose.”
Much like Liam, George, 24yrs old from Co. Clare came across the initial information on SOA during covid. George had ideas of going to college, but it would have involved a great deal of upheaval with finding accommodation, buying a car and moving.
In fact, he had been working in the same local pub for years, just two minutes from his home and realised he wanted to do something different, thanks to his uncle.
George explained: “My uncle actually came to me one day as he found information on the course and asked if I would be interested in attending an open day. I went along and heard Marc (SOA’s CEO) and one of the developers talk and they spoke about working from home and that you didn’t have to be tech savvy. I honestly really went along to the open day to please my uncle - but after 15 minutes of hearing them talk – I thought, ’Why should I be working in a pub for the next five years when I could be doing this?’ I am so happy I went along.”
While he had done an IT course previously, George knew nothing about RPA coming into it and he admits it first looked like rocket science and he was intimidated by the software.
He added: “Our trainer Sophie broke it down into smaller processes and I really enjoy it now. I can see how useful RPA is for businesses for menial tasks instead of humans and spreadsheets, you could have a robot doing it for you, and more accurately.”
Both George and Liam agree that SOA has given them the stepping stone not only in a career in RPA, but also in terms of office experience,email etiquette and professional skills before getting into a real working environment.
George concluded: “The more I hear about RPA, the more it sounds like a growing career and industry, especially here in Ireland where there aren’t many people doing it. I really enjoy the development side and can see myself doing it for a long time.”