Written by Nimalan Kirubakaran
I joined the Government Digital Service (GDS) as an Apprentice Software Developer in October 2018 with no prior coding experience. I’d spent the previous 8 months working as an IT trainer through a graduate placement programme at the Cabinet Office and before that I was a secondary school teacher. I went from not knowing how to right-click on my work Macbook to becoming an Apprentice Software Developer at GDS 8 months later.
The application process for the apprenticeship involved teaching myself Ruby using every free online resource I could find. I then spent 3 months with a Cabinet Office training provider learning industry best practice in software development. Both of these experiences gave me the skills to apply for a role at GDS on the GOV.UK Pay team. Working in the team, I’ve really been immersed in modern software development practices and can now write production code in a microservice architecture.
What I’ve learnt in my role
My role on GOV.UK Pay involves constant problem solving. This can range from implementing a new feature to figuring out how to scale a system used by millions of people. I’ve had the opportunity to use cutting edge technologies which has broadened my knowledge of software development. At GDS we work in multidisciplinary teams, and I have enjoyed working and learning from user researchers and content designers making sure user needs are always at the forefront of what we do.
Working at GDS
GDS is an exciting place to work as you are given the opportunity to work on services that are essential to the public. For me, as a junior developer, I’ve been able to draw on the wealth of knowledge and experience from the community of developers which has been amazing for my learning and development.
I’m also part of a much bigger community of people working in technical roles, within GDS and across government, as my role is in the Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) profession. There’s always lots of interesting projects going on across the profession and I’ve found blogs like Digital People really useful in keeping me up-to-date and giving me ideas for new ways of doing things.
If you’re interested in working at GDS, you’ll find our open roles on our careers site. You can also sign up for our job alerts to be notified when a role comes up that matches your skills.