Team Stories: Alice Payne, Software Engineer

Team Stories: Alice Payne, Software Engineer


27 February 2023 - 6 min read

Team Stories: Alice Payne, Software Engineer

What's your role? When did you start?

I joined Audacia in August 2021 on the Academy Programme. Prior to joining Audacia, I completed a chemistry degree at university and then worked in a few different jobs. I still didn’t feel like I’d found something that I loved doing and was interested in finding new opportunities.

My last job before joining Audacia involved programming in Excel VBA. I think this is where my interest in programming began; this interest then led me to find Audacia's Academy, which looked like a good opportunity to get involved in tech.

What was it like joining through the Academy? 

Joining through the Audacia Academy programme was a great experience for me. Being part of a small group of five people allowed for a lot of individual attention from our mentors, who were all experienced developers in the company. We had a good mix of theory and practical sessions, which helped me to build a solid foundation of development knowledge.

The Academy covered a broad range of topics, from basic programming concepts to more advanced development techniques. I learned a lot about software development best practices, including design patterns, agile methodologies, and code quality standards. All of these skills have been extremely valuable to me in my day-to-day work.

One of the things that I really appreciated about the programme was the emphasis on practical group projects. We were given the opportunity to work on a project as a team and apply the skills we learned in a real-world scenario. This not only helped me to put the theory into practice but also provided me with valuable experience working in a team environment, which has been invaluable in my current role.

There’s also skills that I learned that I maybe didn’t apply straight away, but have still helped me at some point in my job. For example, learning about unit testing has helped me to write better quality code and identify potential issues before they arise. The Academy provided a strong foundation of knowledge that has allowed me to continue learning and growing in my role.

I think the Academy provided a really solid foundation for me to build upon, and I've been able to continue developing my skills and knowledge since joining TechOps. I'm really happy with the progress I've made so far and I'm excited to see what the future holds. 

What does your day-to-day look like?

As a member of TechOps, my day involves supporting live systems and addressing any issues or bugs that customers report. Our team is composed mainly of software developers and testers who work together to ensure that any new features are thoroughly tested before adding them to a live system. Additionally, we handle small feature requests and work on implementing those features if they are accepted by the client. 

While I initially focused on one system and worked on a big feature implementation for a few months, I now primarily handle support tasks, and rotate between primary and secondary support every two weeks.

While it's usually just the people who are assigned according to the rota, everyone is always willing to help if it gets really busy. After that we'll focus our attention on picking up work package features. 

Clear communication is crucial in our work, and sometimes it can be challenging to identify the root cause of an issue. However, by engaging in a call with clients, we can better understand their problems and build meaningful relationships. 

Through my work in TechOps, I've gained significant experience working with different clients and systems, as well as improving my task prioritisation and project management skills. Furthermore, I've learned a great deal about software development and software testing, which I apply to my daily work.

How have you been supported in your role? 

Throughout the whole Academy teaching process we had a mentor who we could catch up with about how we were finding everything. I found this really helpful as they were often able to answer any questions I had. For example, when I began having appraisals, I was able to ask my mentor about their experiences and how they approached them. 

What's great as well is that this support didn't just stop once I had completed the Academy. I still had regular one-to-one meetings with my mentor as I settled into my new role, which I found really helped with the transition from the Academy. 

Today, we have career managers who are able to support employees in career development. Career managers are often someone from Audacia who we don’t necessarily work with in a team, but who can share their experiences about career progression and opportunities for improvement. I’ve particularly found it useful for understanding the different competencies required in each role and some of the career paths available to myself. 

What is the culture like at Audacia?

I think there's a really great culture at Audacia. Everyone is really friendly and willing to help each other. If you're stuck on something, somebody can help you or, if not, they know who to ask for. We also have resources on our Microsoft Teams that allow you to seek help, whether you’re working in the office or remotely. It's really useful because we've got a development channel where people can ask any developers any issue.

What is your favourite part of the role? 

The variety of work in TechOps is one of the favourite parts of the role because it keeps the work exciting and unpredictable. The tickets that come in can be very diverse, and you might be working on different systems throughout the day. This variety of work allows for a continuous learning experience, and there is always an opportunity to develop new skills.

Another favourite part of the role is problem-solving. Working in TechOps requires you to think creatively and critically to troubleshoot issues and develop solutions. This challenge keeps the work engaging and prevents you from ever feeling bored. Solving problems can also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, particularly when the resolution results in improved system performance or increased user satisfaction for the client.  

What advice would you give to someone who's looking to join through the Academy?

Never think that it's too late to apply. I joined Audacia a few years after finishing university and I always thought, “is it going to be too late? Am I too late to apply?” But the Academy is very supportive and open to all applicants, regardless of their background.

I would also say to make the most of the opportunities available to you. At Audacia, there are always new projects to work on and new technologies to learn. Take the initiative to ask questions and get involved in different areas of the business because people are always willing to support your interests and help you out where they can. 

Audacia is a leading software development company based in the UK, with headquarters in Leeds. Find out more about what it's like to work here and our current open vacancies on our careers site.

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