For me, the initial appeal of Mastek's Graduate Programme was the focus on values over experience. We were told at the start of the programme that who we were as individuals was just as important as what we could do. The programme involved 3 months of training across multiple technologies. All a prospective employee needed was a keen desire to solve problems and keep up with the fast changing world of technology. This fits in quite well with Mastek’s PACTS (Passionate, Accountable, Collaborative, Transparent and Sustainable) values system. If you’re interested in succeeding at a graduate programme for a company that places a high degree of emphasis on character, here are five steps to help you do just that.
1. Don't be intimidated
As part of the graduate programme training, you'll find yourself working with a large group of people coming from diverse backgrounds. Some will have a computer science degree or industry experience, others might have coding experience and still others may have never coded before. That's perfectly okay, you don’t need to feel intimidated or worry about this. You have all been offered a place on the graduate programme because Mastek believes that each one of you is quite capable of succeeding.
2. Ask questions, however silly they may seem
Everybody in your group will have a different level of knowledge. However, if you don’t query things you don’t understand, your tutor might mistakenly assume that you are knowledgeable about the subject. It's most likely to be just a bit of lingo (URL, HTML, CSS and the like). But if you're not sure, do ask. While those teaching you know the answers, you're not expected to have this knowledge. If you are confused and don’t ask the question, you’ll be the only one missing out.
3. Learn to fix things on your own
You're going to make a lot of errors when writing code. In such a scenario, it's quite easy to just stick up your hand and wait for your tutor to come and fix it for you. But, is that the best way to learn? See if you can figure out those errors yourself first? How about asking the people around you if they have seen this error before? It may take a little time for you to get used to it, but understanding why errors crop up is a great way to further your knowledge of how the code works. If you've spent some time on the problem and still don't know how to resolve it, raise your hand for help. Make sure you fully understand how the problem was resolved after the tutor helped out. (9 times out of 10, it might just be a spelling mistake or a missing semicolon.)
4. Make notes
At the end of each day, your tutor will most likely publish notes summarising the topics covered. These notes are extremely useful. Yet, I would recommend that you make your own notes, as you go through the study day. Keep a note pad (either electronic or paper – whichever works best for you) open at all times.
It’s a good place to start noting down basic steps. For example, write down what you typed in the command line to run that program? Will you remember it next time? How did you configure the program you just opened? What did that abbreviation stand for? These little things may not make it onto the main class notes. The basic rule of thumb should be that, ‘If you don’t know it, write it down.’
5. Take advantage of the learning opportunity
Do not take the graduate programme for granted. For the next 3 months, you are being paid to learn how to excel in this industry. You will be taught by a top tutor from Mastek’s Learning and Development team. You will be involved in presentations andQ&A sessions with Mastekeers at all levels of the company - from junior developers to the CEO and everyone in between – ask them anything you need to. You will have ample opportunity to meet these people in both professional and social environments, so make the most of it to succeed.