Fullstack Developer Insight

Published: May 20, 2024

At Allstate NI we prioritize developing a talented workforce that is equipped with skills for the future. We offer a 4-year paid Apprenticeship in partnership with Ulster University with participants graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Computing Systems upon completion. The degree itself focused on a range of modules within the IT industry such as software development, cloud computing, data analytics, security and artificial intelligence. During the four years at Allstate, Apprentices got experience working in different areas of the business to gain industry experience. Hear from Ryan who recently completed our Apprenticeship.

1. Which area have you specialized in/area of the business you work in currently?

Full Stack Developer — Data & Intelligent Systems (DIS)

2. What were the most valuable skills and knowledge you gained during your apprenticeship?

From the apprenticeship I have developed my hard skills exponentially through on-the-job training, formal education and mentorship. In my opinion, the development of these skills is even more valuable as they are learnt from real life enterprise level systems and processes.

This apprenticeship has also benefited my soft skills too. Coming directly from school into this apprenticeship at 18, my soft skills had major room for development. Fast forward 4 years and I have had the opportunity to partake in lots of networking, teamwork projects and presentations helping to build confidence, adaptability and professionalism.

Allstate Northern Ireland - Fullstack Developer - headshot of an ANI employee.

3. Can you share some specific projects or tasks you worked on during your apprenticeship that had a significant impact on your learning and development?

At the beginning of the apprenticeship all apprentices were placed in different areas of the business for a set amount of time, these areas included Cloud, Software Development, Data Science and Security. I feel that rotating in these areas helped to build upon my adaptability, picking up new software systems and processes quickly to make the most out of the time I spent there. Additionally, it also helped build upon my communication skills as I was continuously exposed to new people. This rotation period really helped to paint the bigger picture of what was going on within Allstate's systems and how they integrated with one another to bring value.

4. How did you balance on-the-job training with classroom or theoretical learning during your apprenticeship?

Some people might believe that the University course would have aided me with my on-the-job training, ironically, it was the exposure to actual Allstate systems that made the University work easier. Through my network I had developed within Allstate I was also able to reach out to specialists in modules where I found myself struggling. Allstate also provided study days in which apprentices could choose to dedicate to university work — especially useful when deadlines were close. 

5. Did you have a mentor or supervisor during your apprenticeship? How did they support your growth and development?

I signed up for D&IS ANI Mentoring program. My mentor Keith was able to provide lots of insightful knowledge from his career experience. Through mentoring I was able to evaluate what skills I needed to improve and what opportunities I should take to help pave the path to the career that I want.

6. Can you provide examples of how your apprenticeship experience prepared you for your current or future career?

Through the apprenticeship I was able to get exposure to real world systems and processes at an enterprise level. Experience using modern tech stacks like Spring Boot has given me great exposure to modern API development. CI/CD best practices employed within Allstate have also aided my understanding of code quality, testing and deployment processes. Allstate has also provided me the opportunity to develop my presentation skills, in the modern IT industry I feel that this is a must have that will benefit me in any future career.

7. How did your apprenticeship experience shape your understanding of the industry's challenges and opportunities?

The apprenticeship helped provide a light on what processes / systems work in the modern IT ecosystem. Originally, I wasn't aware how slow it was for systems and processes to change within the company. With the introduction of Outcome Based Delivery [OBD] I feel as though the company is more adaptable and responsive which bring a great opportunity to deliver value to customers quicker.