The QA Academy
Through the gateway blog Michael Jakeman

Blog by Kat Jackman, Marketing Campaign Manager at QA and Huffington Post Blogger


When you leave University sometimes it is difficult to know what to do next. Lots of jobs require practical experience and many jobs require a specific degree course that is directly relevant to the job that you are applying for. When you start University you don’t always know what job you want at the end of it because you don’t have enough life experience or know enough about yourself to choose something that is directly related to a specific job. University is just as much about finding out about you as a person and getting valuable life experience as it is about completing a degree. You may think that doing a degree such as Sports Science means that you are going to end up in a sports related job role, or doing a maths degree you’ll become an accountant, but that isn’t correct. At QA we have identified that if you have completed any STEM degree subject – then you could have the right mind to become a Software Developer.

Our QA Gateway Programme is a new programme to fast-track STEM graduates to high profile careers’ in technology. High-calibre graduates will undertake an intensive training course in Software Development or IT Infrastructure for three months. At the end of that three months the graduates are provided with a job as an IT Consultant for a minimum of two years where they will work with interesting clients on real projects, to accelerate their experience and develop valuable contacts within the IT sector. As the UK’s leading learning company within IT – graduates will get the best training, and will get a great job at the end of it.

Michael Jakeman is one of our first candidates to start our Software Development programme this month. He graduated this year with a 2:1 in Sports Science and has struggled to get into an IT development role until now. I asked Jakeman to give us some insight into his challenges of finding a job, and why the QA Gateway Programme is for him…

Why did you apply for the QA Gateway Programme?

I applied for the Gateway Programme because I have always had an interest in technology but found it very hard to break into the IT industry. The Gateway Programme offers me a chance to gain valuable experience and a placement at a top company.

Have you had any Software Development experience?

I’ve got no software development experience, and the QA Gateway Programme is the only scheme which accepts STEM grads as well as IT grads. It’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in technology and software development. At the assessment day we completed a short test and a series of activities designed to assess our suitability; QA weren’t necessarily looking for someone who was already qualified for the role.

Why have you decided to pursue a career in tech?

I grew up around technology and seeing the change in the last 20 years I can’t wait to see and be part of the development of the next 20! The technology industry is only going to increase in size and I have wanted to be directly involved with technology from an early age.

Who/what inspired you to start a career in Software Development?

Software development has become more and more apparent in everyday life, mobile apps such as Hive and hundreds of others mean increased efficiency of everyday items. Having the opportunity to be part of this is exciting.

From your research when looking for a job – what are the main options for science graduates who want to get into a Software Development role? 

Every software development role I have seen for graduates has required either a degree in computer science/related degree or an understanding of Java, C++, C, C# or another language. 

How do you think that your University course helped you to prepare you for the working world?

I think that university teaches you skills that can be used directly in the working world, working within teams of various sizes and producing reports to deadlines. With a large amount of graduates coming out of university I think you need to be dedicated and know what you want to do and what you’re going to enjoy rather than applying for every role your degree makes you suitable for.

Having been to an Assessment Day for the QA Gateway Programme and know the details – how do you think that the QA Gateway Programme will impact your career journey?

It will help develop my career and push me in the direction that I’ve wanted it to go in since graduating. I’m going to be taught by some of the best trainers around, working alongside a small group of like-minded individuals followed by placement(s) with top flight companies.

How has the QA Gateway Programme supported your transition so far from going from a science graduate with no/little development experience to preparing you to start the QA Gateway Programme – Software Development pathway?

After the assessment day I was offered a place on a week-long QA course to confirm that I was ready for 4 months intensive IT training.

What course have they already put you on and how was it?

Due to my lack of software development experience I was offered a place on a 5 day Java Fundamentals course that QA ran in the centre of London. It gave me the time to decide if the Programme would be right for me as well as aided my Java knowledge.