Java trainer: career case study

Java trainer

What got you interested in physics?
I initially became interested in Physics during my GCSE’s at Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton. We were covering light and my teacher talked about how light could be both a wave and a particle. This sparked my absolute interest in physics which I consequently pursued Physics through A-Level and University. As it was, my previously conceived world and reality was giving way to something much more beautiful, intricate and complex and I became completely hooked. My interest grew during A-Level through Advanced Extension award Physics where we researched and demonstrated the fundamental principles of the gauss cannon. We even had a chance to make a rail gun however we only succeeded in welding a small metal cylinder to two copper rods.

What did you study at school and university?
At school I studied maths, physics, chemistry and further maths. At university I studied vanilla physics however I heavily weighted this towards the computational aspects. I had had my fill of the theory, I now wanted to see the Physics in action but slowed down and in a very defined and controlled environment. Throughout my university career my interest and passion in modelling things grew, from simpler experiments like a cannon ball being thrown to the theoretical Gedanken experiments of general relativity as performed by Einstein.  

Through my later years I began to grow more interested in how all these things could come together to form life and I often had many discussion with close friends about free will and the idea that humans are just a reaction to the environmental and sociological surroundings. This was a topic I would broach with a lot of caution before retreating rather quickly to assimilate the information I had gleaned. The idea of modelling life began to become an ever growing interest. Throughout my university career I have always been developing in Java and I have always been modelling information, scenarios and theories. Modelling stuff using Java was second nature to me, so it is no surprise that I am intrigued by the idea of modelling, for example, an e-Coli cell in increasing degrees of complexity. For example, how many computers would it take and what processor speed would be required to model the human brain in all its complexity.

What was your career progression?
During my final year of university I heard about the company FDM from a friend. Everything that I had planned before then became completely inconsequential. To get completely hands on with Java development and the promise of working for some of the biggest companies in the world had completely sold the dream to me. For example some people face the prospect of working for companies like Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and many more besides. So the idea of having these on my C.V. was of course a very tempting prospect. It wasn’t long however until my love of standing up and presenting became known and from then on I was to work towards becoming a Java trainer.

What job do you do now?
I work as a Java trainer for FDM. It is a wonderfully challenging job where I constantly have to be on the top of my game. Potentially facing completely new situations daily where trainees are stuck on an interesting bug. Standing up in front of people and training them is something that I truly enjoy. I find it interesting how people learn, even more so when I get to see how the logical thinking of a person matures over time. It is truly fascinating to watch. When I am not training people then I am helping devise new exercises, working through previous exercises, profiling what I will be training the next day and the best possible way to do that.

What does the work involve day to day?
It involves standing up and delivering a series of training sessions. It involves aiding people in debugging their code in a way that makes them think about the problem rather than just giving them the answer. It involves constantly being available to speak to trainees who have queries, potentially even about technical topics which I have never even covered before for myself. I always find that these are the most fun things that can happen because it represents a truly new learning opportunity. I have to manage the training progress of individuals providing insights and guidelines as to how to best achieve a deadline.

What benefits does the job provide?
The main benefits of the job involve being involved with blue chip companies and earning the experience that I can use later on. The other benefits are that FDM is a very dedicated and involved company in terms of its staff development and FDM will actively help to supplement my learning if required and they will also give me the maximum opportunities to expand my horizons by providing opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by. The biggest benefit is that I am in an environment that I can thrive in. I can push and challenge myself and keep growing both technically and personally. FDM is a company that respects, appreciates and invests in the entirety of a person and it will work to provide full rounded training both technically and in terms of “soft” skills.

What personal skills or aptitudes do you need for the job?
I need excellent communication skills plus an avid imagination in order to help keep training sessions moving in a very strong and positive direction. I need to be absolutely compassionate so that a trainee can come and speak to me if they are struggling and having a problem. I need to be able to communicate on their level and provide good direction to not only improving their technical skills but also in terms of developing their “soft” skills. It is also a well known fact that stories are a magnificent aid in learning so my being able to make up a story on the spot is always useful in capturing attention and putting concepts across in a new way which is more digestible.

What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career is right now. Actually working for FDM, training people in Java. I would have never have thought I would have been training people in Java after such a short time after graduating from university, so for me, this is an incredible privilege and the absolute pinnacle of my career. The fantastic thing is that the sky is the limit and there is a huge scope for career growth and development within FDM.

How does your physics training help you in that work?
Physics is one of those special subjects which is absolutely packed full of transferable skills that are appreciated in every kind of work place. For me specifically, physics really helped me to think on my feet. Part of what physics is, is being able to face an unknown problem and then start to chip away at it with a solid determination, not necessarily knowing where the other side is or how far in you will get. It teaches and harbours the ability to face an almost un-scalable problem and begin to break it down into the smaller manageable pieces. 

As part of my job I am constantly facing the unknown. But more than that, I am facing the unknown and training people to tap into the ability to face the unknown and work through it. Every IT problem in any company is a logical problem that needs to be broken down. Physics means that I can do this. As part of my physics study in Edinburgh there was also focus upon the “soft” skills, for example delivering presentations, writing technical reports, interpreting information, withstanding high pressure Q and A with questions in fields that you may have not covered but you are still expected to problem solve your way through. This focus, coupled with the technical analytical skills that were taught have meant that I am able to withstand the more difficult questions that trainees can pose and help solve them in a beneficial way for the trainee. 

Another aspect of physics is being able to work outside the box. For example taking a piece of equipment and being able to see the other areas that it can apply to. This is hugely beneficial in any IT business because code re-use is core to saving time and money for the business. Another aspect of physics that has been undeniably beneficial for my career is how to view things. This is greatly helpful in terms of Object Orientated Programming, because physics already teaches a person to modularise and break a problem down into the smaller parts. Physics also teaches how to use these smaller parts to make a whole. There are a lot of similarities between probing a physics problem or theory and programming a piece of software, from planning, development, deployment, testing and feedback to restart the loop. This is the very essence of both physics and software development.

Anything else you would like to add?
FDM is the kind of company that truly appreciates a person and all the skills that they can grow and FDM will go out of its way to provide huge career enhancing opportunities for any individual who shows commitment to their own career. A physicist who has a good grasp of logical thinking and problem solving will find that FDM provides a truly exciting career within IT at the very forefront with some of the most sought after companies in the world. This includes facing and being part of the solution of some of the most innovative technical developments of the century. The ability of a Physicist to face these new problems and the ability to conceive initial solution plans from the first glance makes IT the best way to truly test, develop and enhance the abilities of a physicist in some of the most exciting and challenging environments to date. FDM is a company experiencing rapid expansion and now is the best time to take part in that expansion and be part of a truly exciting company.

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