What is your role in the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs?
I work as a software engineer within Market Data in Technology Infrastructure. Here we get to engineer really cool tools and services in order to enable market data to operate as efficiently as possible, and we work with other sub-teams in order to do this.
What does your average week look like?
Monday and Tuesday I am at university. This semester we have 3 lectures from 10am until 4pm on Monday, with an hour break at 1pm, and then Tuesday we have lab sessions from 9am-1pm. Here we get to put all of our technical skills into practice, and we spend time doing things like learning to programme in different languages, or taking apart computers - this is the really fun part! Between Wednesday and Friday I am in the office. Wednesday starts off with a 2 hour apprentice session, where we meet together to go over a topic which helps us to deliver our soft skills – for example delivering presentations.
I then have a team meeting with my team, discussing our priorities for the week. The rest of my week involves me catching up with and meeting people across the firm (often in different countries), working on my business objectives and attending seminars by our affinity networks.”
Why did you decide to pursue the degree apprenticeship programme?
I saw that this was an excellent opportunity to study and get a degree, whilst gaining some real industry experience for a number of years. I love the hands-on approach of this apprenticeship, and being able to take what I’ve learnt at university and apply it to work – and vice versa.
What were you doing before you joined the programme?
I was studying A-level Biology, Chemistry and Maths at Sixth Form, and had only played around with tech before for fun. Having no solid coding experience is fine. As long as you have an interest in technology you can learn!
In your view, what are the benefits of studying and working at the same time?
At university, we are taught the basic foundations we need in order to become great programmers regardless of the language. This is really crucial, but at work we are exposed to real life tech and knowledge which is quite advanced, and enables us to see the context of what we are learning in university. It also keeps me busy!
How have you approached balancing responsibilities for your university studies and your work at Goldman Sachs?
I leverage all the support at work. I am surrounded by tech experts with years of experience; these guys are goldmines of information and are so great to learn from, even with the university course. In terms of the workload, I try to do as much as I can during the week, so that on the weekends I can relax. I try to utilise the days at university to get as much uni work done then, because there is less time after work. Our managers are really understanding about the workload, and so the work from the office stays there. We don’t bring office work home.
What’s the one piece of advice from your experience that you would pass on to someone applying to an apprenticeship programme?
Make sure you know how to discipline yourself. Coming to uni and work is an amazing experience with a lot of hard work, and with a lot more freedom in terms of how and when you study. Because of this you need to be able to discipline yourself to work when you need to, and also to know when you need to relax. Find something that you enjoy doing outside of work or university and stick to it. Get involved with the societies at university, go to the gym or play an instrument for example. But it is really important to find something that helps you to withdraw from uni and work to maintain harmony