July 4th 2019
Victoria Porter – Degree Apprenticeship
Victoria Porter in on the PWC Degree Apprenticeship programme and has taken the time to tell us about her journey in to the IT sector, Victoria explains how attending the girls focused IT summer camp; Belfast IT Girls at Belfast Met help her to explore develop her problem solving and creative skills to help her in making a career choice in IT.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Software Engineering student studying at Queen’s University and I’ve just finished my first year. I’m currently on a 10 week summer placement with PwC Operate which is a technology enablement team that supports and develops technology for the range of business areas across PwC.
What you were doing/studying before you signed up to IT Girls and what you were considering as a career choice?
I was studying for my AS-Levels which included Maths, Biology, Chemistry and SSD. I aspired to be a medic and I based my A-Level choices around that.
What happened during the week at IT Girls to inspire you to choose a career in tech?
We got the opportunity to work with a wide range of tech and explore the vastness of the industry. My week at Belfast IT Girls allowed me to develop my problem-solving and creativity skills which definitely aided me in my decision to follow a technology career path.
What encouraged you to apply for the PWC school leaver scheme?
I had already applied for Software Engineering at Queen’s when the degree-apprenticeship was launched. To come out of university with no student debt, 4 years experience with a prestigious company and a degree in a subject I’m passionate about was an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I was most attracted to the arrangement where we only work over the summer and as a result we have the full student experience during term time. The difference between work and school/university is colossal and I feel that we as apprentices will stand out in comparison to a student who has no work experience at the end of their degree.
What it’s been like so far doing the PWC degree apprenticeship? Do you have any highlights you would like to share?
Once a month we had 1 hour engagement sessions with employees from various teams and levels in PwC. These were really useful as if we ever had a query with our projects in uni, we had a wide network of people we could contact for help. Our first week on placement was in London where they held interactive training sessions to help us develop interpersonal skills, presenting with confidence and team building. I’m in my first week with PwC Operate and I’m currently working on an internal project aimed at developing a website to display bot simulations and documents for teams giving presentations. AI (more specifically Machine Learning) forms the roots of most projects in Operate and this is the exact area I want to pursue.
What you say to other young women who are thinking about a career in tech?
I’d definitely say put yourself out there and explore different areas in the industry. There are a number of programmes aimed at getting young females involved in technology and I would highly recommend availing of these. Technology is the foundation on which the majority of careers are built and being a technology-enabled individual is an extremely employable and valuable trait in this day and age.
Victoria is a great example of how attending STEM summer camps such as Belfast IT Girls can really help you to make a decision on how your skills and qualities can be a great asset to the IT sector and what role you would be best suited to you. Look out for the Bring IT On team at a local job fair or career event near you for any help or advise on what pathway would be best for you.