Associate spotlight: Michael Laird at Kingfisher

For the latest in our associate spotlight series, we interviewed Michael Laird, who is currently working as a Software Developer at Kingfisher.

Why did you join La Fosse Academy?

I had a slightly different route than most people coming into La Fosse Academy. I joined as a teaching assistant having graduated from a previous bootcamp. Because I didn’t come from a technical background - I studied History at Uni and worked within business operations - I felt that I still had some learning to do. By La Fosse Academy giving me the opportunity to take a teaching role, I was able to further cement my knowledge as a developer.

It was also about the mission. I had to pay for my first bootcamp, and I am lucky that I was able to do that, but I know that's not everyone's experience. La Fosse Academy ensures that coding is accessible to everyone, and I wanted to be part of that.

What have you been building at Kingfisher?

I have been with Kingfisher for about 7 or 8 months now, which is really exciting. I am on the Channel API team, which is built using Java and Kotlin.  

Kingfisher has banners in the UK, Ireland, France, Poland and other European countries which all rely on our API. This is exciting and scary at the same time to be working on a team with a lot of responsibility, however we have lots of good practice and processes in place to manage this.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve come across during your placement?

The biggest challenge was getting used to working on such a large codebase which has ots of dependencies and communicates with so many other services. The Channel team have really helped get me get to grips with this, always willing to answer my questions and share knowledge.

Another challenge was learning all the languages and frameworks that we use in the Channel API team. Previously, I worked a lot in JavaScript and Python, but I was able to take the principles from those in getting up to speed with Java and Kotlin.  


How has La Fosse Academy helped and supported you through those challenges and in placement in general?

I actively use La Fosse Academy's post-grad curriculum, and value the regular check-ins with my engagement manager to see how I am doing, as well as get advice if needed. Equally, I have a great manager at Kingfisher who I speak with regularly to check I'm on track. Overall, I am glad that I have people to reach out to and it is always nice to talk with other La Fosse Academy associates that are working at Kingfisher during our monthly call.


Thinking about your time both working as a trainer at La Fosse Academy and as an associate on placement, what would you say makes La Fosse Academy special?

From working alongside Beth as a teacher, it is clear that the priority is ensuring the course is enjoyable, student-focused, and the best it can be.

In my experience, I’ve seen a misconception that bootcamps don’t properly prepare you for the industry. La Fosse Academy demonstrate that this isn’t the case, working hard to ensure that its associates are set up for success, and that its clients have confidence in their training. Furthermore, La Fosse Academy back their associates by finding them their first roles in tech and supporting them during that transition.

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