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Developing for the Future – Meet our Graduates

Cooper Software recognise the important role that graduates play in the success of our company and the entire software industry as a whole. Not only do they bring the latest skills and knowledge to our teams but they offer fresh ideas and a new perspective. What’s more, bringing students and graduates on board can be an excellent way for us to gain extra resource on projects while at the same time, allowing them to test and develop their knowledge on business and technologies and work on exciting, real-life projects that make a transformational difference to our clients.

We have strong associations with a number of universities – The University of Edinburgh, The University of Dundee and The University of Glasgow – with whom we work together at Undergraduate level to provide industry projects to students during their course but also to offer internships and graduate roles within our Research and Development and Engineering Teams. 

Our internship and graduate programmes are a chance for talented students and graduates to learn from and grow with us (and vice versa!), all while working on some exciting and technically challenging projects. From the start, we provide the opportunity to become part of a collaborative, fast-paced working environment, supported by a knowledgeable and industry leading team but at the same time, be trusted to carry out independent work and feel valued for your contributions. We allow the opportunity to further explore where your skills and interests lie and consider where you could focus in the future – either as a business leader or as a technical specialist.

Many of the interns and graduates we offer placements to go on to become long term employees with the company. We have many success stories from our programmes over the last 5 years but here, 3 of our developers who all joined the company as graduates to tell us more about their experience.

 

Thomas Gracie, Junior Software Developer

Thomas joined Cooper Software from CodeClan, Scotland’s first industry-led digital skills academy. Prior this, he qualified as a Mechanical Engineer through Edinburgh Napier University. His original goal had been to work in the engineering sector, however due to enormous competition for places, he had limited success in applying for graduate positions within this field. It was during this time Thomas became aware of CodeClan and realised that it provided an incredibly solid match to the skillset that he had developed during his degree as well as offering him with a solid grounding in industry relevant technologies and training.  He joined Cooper Software as a graduate developer in February 2019 after crossing paths with the company at a networking event, set up by CodeClan.

“When I joined Cooper Software as a graduate, I didn’t know what to expect given that this was my first role in the industry! My main understanding of how it would work revolved around a steady ramp up from internal projects to onboard me to the tech stack, until eventually being rolled on to live customer projects. Initially, I was tasked with recreating and uplifting an existing customer project with the longer-term aim of presenting to the client as a means of generating future business. Beyond that I was given the space and freedom to up-skill in relevant technologies at my own pace.

After my first year, I migrated over to the Delivery team where I am now part of an Agile Team with a focus on rapid delivery of customer centred work. I have been responsible for multiple new mobile applications being delivered to clients across this past year as part of our expanding workload.

The graduate programme has given me the chance to get much more hands on with real world solutions than I most likely would have done at other companies, while also not leaving me completely isolated as would most likely happen within an equivalent position at a tech start-up. The constant push to try new methods of working and different solutions has presented a constant and welcome challenge to me that I have been hugely pleased to be part of.

The support I have received has been invaluable. The team have challenged my perceptions of existing code and have also highly praised my work when something has gone well. Most importantly they haven’t let me sink under a heavy workload. Working with an exciting and expansive tech stack has also given me the opportunity to push my career. I really can’t overstate just how welcoming the entire team at Cooper Software is. The camaraderie has been key to maintaining morale through these uncertain times and everyone has pulled together look out for the each other.”

Grace Wong, R & D Principal NetSuite Developer

Grace joined Cooper Software as a graduate in 2016, having previously studied at Birmingham University where she received a BSc in Computer Science before heading to Edinburgh University where she completed her Masters qualification in Computer Science. In the 4 years she has been with the company, Grace has progressed from a Graduate Developer to a Principal NetSuite Developer.

“As a member of the R&D team, my main responsibility is software development. As a team we are also responsible for investigating and integrating the latest software technologies into our new products and improving existing solutions, so that our project is maintainable and will facilitate future development.

The first project I was involved in upon joining the company was the development of the Acquire Android solution. Since then, I have worked on many different projects across all the products and solutions Cooper Software offer, for example, ProScope, Trax, MTD and Acquire, which has given me great exposure to different kinds of ERP system and broadened my technical stacks.

Despite progressing from a Graduate Developer to a Principal Developer, the scope of my work has remained very similar. I still spend most of my time on software development. However as I have progressed through the company, I have gained more experience and confidence to up with a solution by myself, therefore I rely less on support from more experienced developers. I have appreciated the flexibility I was given in the approach I take in my tasks. Generally, the work I have done has given me a real sense of achievement and has allowed me to pick up new skills that I might not have had the chance to develop elsewhere.

My day usually starts with a catch-up call with the development team who are all working on the same project. Here, each member of the team will share what they have achieved so far, or give a demonstration of their work and then we will discuss the plan of our day. We will also share any development problems we are facing and everyone can offer help and advice.  The rest of my day will be mostly development work – problem solving and coding. After I have completed development of a feature, I must create a ‘’pull request’’ that summarises the proposed changes, where other members of the team would review and comment. In this way, we can prevent software bugs and maintain code quality.

Cooper Software has definitely given me the preparation for a career within the industry as I have just now. Joining the company as graduate, I felt there was a tech skill gap between what we learnt at university and the tech that is used in the industry. I have been given ample time and support to learn new technologies.  More experienced colleagues have also been a great source of support. They willingly and patiently answer any questions I may have around the development requirements or any Technical problems I have faced. I am also encouraged to explore cutting edge industry standards via developer courses and conferences to ensure we are always applying the very latest knowledge to our work.

I would recommend anyone who are interested to building a career in the software development industry, as well as anyone with an interest in creating ERP software to apply to this graduate programme. You will receive all the support you need and learn new skill sets that will extend your tech knowledge which will act as a steppingstone to a successful career.”

Keiren Waddell, Graduate Software Developer

Keiren graduated from the University of Dundee with a BSc in Applied Computing. He first came to Cooper Software in June 2019 as an intern before joining the graduate programme in August 2020.

“Before I joined Cooper Software as an intern I came in with no expectations as at that point, I still wasn’t 100% sure what direction I wanted to take in my career, if that was development or otherwise.

During my internship, I worked on an Angular application framework which I hadn’t experience before so my first task was to get a handle on this platform! I then went on to work on an internal project for viewing project progress with data from both Azure DevOps and NetSuite. When I returned in a graduate role, I started by working on updating a project to use more current versions of Ionic and Angular which was a good way to get to grips with the project and understand how it hung together.

Since joining the company, I’ve always been encouraged to take ownership of a project or elements of a project, especially as we are a small team working on multiple projects at a time. There’s also the opportunity to have the freedom to use different tech stacks if you believe it’s better suited for the work. We are also trying to ‘up-skill’ within the team to be more well-rounded, whether this be front-end, back-end, IFS and so on, so that in the future anyone can pick up any piece of work and run with it.

The team at Cooper Software is happy to help at any time and once key thing I’ve learned is don’t ever be afraid to ask anything! There’s no such thing as a ‘silly’ question and no one is expected to have all the answers, especially when you are just starting. Everyone is always available for a quick chat whether it be how to go about a task or getting some feedback about how a component looks which really helps you feel supported.”

Despite the challenges currently being faced by all businesses,we will continue to significantly invest in our internship and graduate programmes. As we continue into this year, we will be seeking a number of intern and graduate positions within the R&D and engineering teams. To find out more information please get in touch.

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