Distinction achieving developer shares his passion for STEM

Ermiya Eskandary talks all about his love for tech and completion of his Level 4 Software Developer Apprenticeship.

From a very young age Ermiya loved all things ‘tech’. Encouraging this passion, Ermiya’s uncle sat him down at the age of 8 and taught him all about ‘C’ (in Ermiya’s words the “mother of all programming languages”. (‘C’ is a general-purpose programming language that is ideal for developing firmware or portable applications).

We had the pleasure of supporting Ermiya on his Level 4 Software Developer Apprenticeship Programme for which he has just attained a Distinction and asked him to reflect on a few aspects and share his thoughts.

How did an apprenticeship develop your natural talent and interest in technology?

Ermiya said “My parents weren’t initially happy with my choice as they wanted me to be a doctor! I secured 12 good GCSE results achieving 9’s (equivalent to A*) in subjects like Maths, Biology & Computer Science and had initially applied to several colleges. My parents felt that I should get all the studying and qualifications first and then enter the workplace. However, I just wanted to apply myself to learning in a real role straightaway.”

“I understood that my parents wanted me to gain something tangible and were concerned if I started in the workplace gaining practical experience in an apprenticeship, I would not gain any industry recognised qualifications. That was really the turning point when I found this apprenticeship. I explained I could start my career in tech, in a real job, getting paid and study a Level 4 Software development qualification at the same time.”

Ermiya adds, “Annoyingly there is a common misconception that you only do an apprenticeship if you do not get good enough grades to get into university. Clearly, I had the grades to continue on in higher education but I am a very logical thinker and I wanted to pursue a practical route. I feel science and programming are very hands on roles where you progress your knowledge through a combination of learning and doing practical activities. I love being practical, problem solving and getting paid to do it!”

Ermiya is so enthusiastic in his approach to work-based learning that he is an official STEM ambassador, Code Club mentor as well as a Code Your Future mentor. This involves visiting local schools and colleges, volunteering time on weekends, planning lessons & sharing his passion for technology with everyone and encouraging them to get hands on experience in programming activities. He’s also been on a few podcasts!

How did Intequal support your apprenticeship?

Ermiya was initially trained by another training provider but unfortunately the provider was no longer able to service the contract so Intequal was asked to take over some of the apprentices on programme. In Ermiya’s words the service he received from Intequal was “sweet”!

He swiftly built up a great relationship with his Intequal Pathway Planner, Nick Tones, who has since become Curriculum and Quality Lead.

“It would be easy to make false promises as the new provider, coming in to help me through the latter half of my studies but everything Nick said he would do he absolutely did. He replied nearly always on the same day to my emails, responded to my phone calls and when he told me the date by when my programme would be finished I was skeptical but we hit that deadline perfectly! Nick introduced me to Intequal trainer Vee Cepulis and between them they ensured I felt really prepared for my exam.”

Like so many learners, Ermiya admitted to generally getting very nervous before exams: “The MTA exam that I was advised to take obviously had old content however I knew it was the quickest way for me to progress past the finish line. I practiced on the MeasureUp platform and had some honest reviews with the guys. With their guidance I fixed a few areas which helped me gradually increase my performance percentage to over 70%!”

Ermiya sums up his experience by saying, “I didn’t have to chase up anything, the guys helped me to complete my portfolio, prep for the exam and arranged all the details for End Point Assessment (EPA). Nick rang me before to support me and rang me afterwards to ask how I got on – I felt really important!”

Ermiya’s experience throughout his apprenticeship has seen him working on software developments projects in various sectors such as education, healthcare, fashion, and even construction where his work gained a standing ovation from the client. Ermiya said “I volunteered to write up technical documents and was praised for the clarity of my communication skills – something I have definitely improved on throughout my apprenticeship studies.”

What’s next?

Having completed his apprenticeship Ermiya is now working as a ‘full-stack software developer’. A full stack developer is an engineer who can handle all the work of databases, servers, systems engineering, and clients. Depending on the project, what customers need may be a mobile stack, a Web stack, or a native application stack.

Ermiya finally added “I may look to specialise in back-end development as I enjoy the logic, will almost certainly look to continue my studies to higher qualification levels and aim towards achieving a senior development and/or leadership position in the not too distant future. I would also like to continue my talks in schools and supporting innovation in the STEM curriculum as I would love to see more students taking this career path and taking on technology apprenticeships. Thanks to Intequal for giving me a head start!”

“Ermiya is an exceptional learner in every sense. He took the lead on all aspects of his apprenticeship, and his hard work and effort was deservedly rewarded with an overall distinction grade. It’s also exciting to see that Ermiya has been able to use his apprenticeship to further his career and secure a new more involved job role. A model apprentice and learner, who is an inspiration to others.”

Nick Tones

Pathway Planner / Curriculum Review & Quality Lead, Intequal