Associate Spotlight: Simon Allan

We have interviewed another associate - Simon Allan and asked him about his La Fosse Academy experience. Simon is our second-year associate currently working as a software engineer at Ford.

What makes La Fosse Academy and your placement company special?

La Fosse Academy gave me the tools and skills I needed to not only code in certain languages, but how to pick up and work with languages that I'm unfamiliar with. Ford Credit uses Java in their backend, and La Fosse Academy was able to provide postgraduate support so I could familiarise myself with how Java works and contribute to the tool. The role at Ford Credit lets me take initiative and work independently, whilst providing a welcoming and supportive environment so when I'm unsure about how to do something I know I can ask for help.

What would you say to someone who was considering joining La Fosse Academy?

I would definitely tell people to join La Fosse Academy. It's shaped my life immeasurably for the better.

Before La Fosse Academy I was working as an ecologist with little to no tech experience beyond a few coding modules I'd taken at university. The work was fun and rewarding but was unstable and poorly paid with little room for personal development or progression. It often felt like I was stuck in place.

I was nervous to move into tech at first, as my education and experience didn't map cleanly onto the technology sector or coding. Joining La Fosse Academy not only provided me with the knowledge base necessary to get into the industry, but also helped me secure a well paid placement with a company that values the people who work for them. La Fosse Academy also continues to support my personal development for new languages and technologies that offers a clear sense of progression and growth I haven't found working in other sectors.

Overall, the biggest thing La Fosse Academy has provided me is the confidence I need to excel in the sector, the confidence to deal with unique problems, and confidence in myself. I made friends for life in my cohort, and I'm grateful to La Fosse Academy for giving me the chance.  

What has been your biggest achievement throughout the whole process?

The biggest achievement during the La Fosse Academy would definitely be the LAP4 final project, where team and I built a carbon offset tracker for trips people were taking in their vehicles. We took data from the DVLA's API; used OpenStreetMap to build a route planner; plugged both the emission numbers from the DVLA and distance from OpenStreetMap into a calculator we built to figure out how much CO2 was emitted during the trip, and how many trees it would take to offset.

Getting the idea from our planning stage to building a working journey tracker and carbon offset calculator - all in the space of a week - was very tough but seeing it all work and showing it off to clients in the final presentation was one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

Do you have friends working in tech and how has your career trajectory differed from theirs?

At my placement, I've mostly specialised in Java, writing backend code to improve and maintain the services they offer, but the sector is very diverse. Most of my friends in tech came from the cohort - I work with two other La Fosse Academy grads who do the same thing I do - and they all do cool and unique things. One is a Business Analyst and manages her own team, while 2 of my friends are currently working on BiometricSecurity for the Home Office. Another is a frontend developer for a major fashion brand.


Are you inspired by Simon’s story and want to begin your own successful career in tech? Apply for La Fosse Academy now!


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