Many young people aspire to secure a long and fulfilling career in tech; it’s a fast-paced industry where constant change keeps you on your toes and throws new challenges in your direction every day, so it’s not hard to see the appeal.
Oscar Howlett, 22, joined Tisski at the very start of 2021. With a passion for problem solving, an interest in maths and a fascination for computer software and automation, a career in tech may have turned out to be the perfect choice.
“Maths was always my strongest subject at school and since I enjoyed it, I decided to study it at sixth form and university,” Oscar said. “In hindsight this was probably a bit risky in that if I suddenly fell out of love with the subject, I would be stuck studying a degree that was very challenging and unforgiving – but thankfully I made it through university and was able to call upon my computer skills to pursue a career in tech.”
With hundreds of thousands of people obtaining a degree each year, a university qualification won’t necessarily help you stand out in the jobs market today like it did several decades ago – and that can make job hunting a daunting experience.
For those who are uncertain of the path they wish to pursue, the search for employment can be even more difficult and while it may sound as though Oscar knew tech was his calling from the offset, this wasn’t the case.
“Applying for jobs is a tedious process and was made even more tricky by the fact that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Oscar explained. “A lot of my friends from university had already completed summer internships at accountancy firms – the natural next step for maths graduates. When I did decide tech was the way forward for me, I found myself at square one hoping that someone would take a chance on me.”
And take a chance on him, they did. Oscar was offered a position as a graduate consultant at a tech firm, complete with three months of training and shadowing.
“I actually had no previous knowledge of Dynamics 365 and no well-rounded idea of what being a consultant entailed when I was offered the role,” Oscar admitted. “But what really appealed to me was the balance between technical and functional skillsets.”
While some tech consultancies would always choose the computer science graduate with a notable amount of technical skill, Oscar’s experience highlights how some employers in the industry are happy to take a chance on those demonstrating great potential and a willingness to learn.
It was Oscar’s passion and potential that secured him that all-important first role, but it was by chance that it led to a newfound love for the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform technologies and community – something which only boosted his confidence in his choice of career path.
“There are so many things I like about the tech sector but two stand out. Firstly, even though the tech sector may at first appear somewhat devoid of emotion, the extent to which the advancements in technology have affected people’s lives is unfathomable. From smart farming to remote learning to Dynamics 365 systems for charities, it’s motivating knowing that the work I’m doing has a chance of improving someone’s life.
“Secondly - and one that probably does not get mentioned enough - is the amazing community of people online that are constantly sharing their ideas, pushing boundaries and offering their help to others.”
Embarking on the next step in his journey, Oscar recently joined Tisski as a Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Developer. Here, he will work on client projects by playing an active role at all stages, from requirements gathering to deployment and supporting the wider project team.
“My previous role offered me a great fundamental understanding of Microsoft technology, so I’m hoping this will allow me to make significant contributions to upcoming projects,” Oscar said. “From what I’ve experienced so far, there is a real supportive and collective culture at Tisski, which will definitely play a great part in my further skills development. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
With his university days not too far behind him, we asked Oscar whether he has any advice for young people hoping to break into the sector. “I really believe there is a career in tech for pretty much everyone, it’s just important to find the right balance of skillsets that will allow you to succeed.
“Be careful not to close any doors when you’re studying as you never know what you route you might find yourself pursuing. There is a ridiculous amount of free learning available online; make the most of it and use personal development as a way to help you stand out from the crowd.”