Words by Manasseh
Posted 10 months ago

Manasseh, part of our first cohort of Ada Apprentices, talks about what it was like to join the programme.

When I’ve been sitting at my laptop for hours trying to figure out why my program isn’t working, I ask myself “Why Software Development?” The truth is software development is great for designing and creating new programs; we are learning new software development languages for what is now an essential part of our lives.

In my case, the National Archives were looking for 5 apprentices. Given my love for all things historical I was excited to apply, especially as they want us to help solve the challenge of digital archiving for the future. This was a great opportunity to know more about the organisation and learn a new skill, as up to this point my work experience was mainly in customer service (Tower of London, Disney Store, The British Museum, London Zoo).

Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, has been an interesting experience with thirteen apprentices from three very different organisations (Google, The National Archives and Janus Henderson Investors). Most of us met for the first time at Ada’s Launchpad week at Wyboston Lakes business retreat. There we learnt a lot about each other and mostly about ourselves and what was expected of us as Ada’s first apprentice cohort. I definitely thought I bit off more than I could chew, before I even started. But the retreat and the weeks to come allowed us to build a supportive bond, where we pulled each other out of whatever slump we were in and got each other back on track. There were tantrums, tears and frustration but there was also a lot of progress, laughter, food and GIFs.

The support and confidence The National Archives digital team has given us apprentices has allowed us to lead our own project, updating the organisation's Latin website. There is so much I have learnt about web development, the Agile methodology and teamwork. But what I still like about The National Archives is that there is always more for me to learn and there is space for me to grow and become a better developer.