Tech City UK Blog

We recently took on a new recruit, Calvin Benton, a university student who developed his digital business skills through DBA and is now an intern with Tech City UK! This is his story…

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During my second year of university I decided I wanted go on a placement year between my second and third year. Many application forms, interviews and assessment centres later I was able to get a year long role at IBM.

Towards the end of my second year of university I began taking courses on Codecademy to learn the basics of web design. After I had completed the courses I was able to create a very basic website to display products (coats that I bought, up-cycled and sold over the internet at the time). The site never went live but it was really great to have created a website of my own from scratch.

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At the start of my placement year I had an idea for a job search website for students and graduates that I came up with when talking to my friends about what they wanted to do when they graduated. I began working on this idea on my evenings and weekends. Initially I found it hard to come back after work and continue to work on a computer but it soon just became natural as I was really passionate about what I was making.

The framework of my job search website came together quite quickly. However, as an economics student, I had to complete a lot more online courses in order to learn the programming languages I needed to create a job search site. I had around 40 hours of learning ahead of me. Fortunately, after 5-10 hours of learning I was able to add something new to my website each time so the process was really exciting.

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After a lot more extracurricular coding sessions, I finally had a finished product. I really wanted to share my new website with the world but I didn’t really know how. My friends who were using the site were already finding jobs that they wanted to apply for but the saying “build and they will come” wasn’t really applying.

Then, I came across an article on TechCrunch about free online courses, provided by Tech City UK. I started the first Digital Business Academy course and began learning so many things that I could use immediately to develop my website.

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As I took more and more of the courses that interested me, I learned about concepts such as wireframing and making greater use of Google Analytics. I created wireframes to mock up different variations of how people could use my website and this testing really helped me to understand my user and how they interacted with the product. I then completed the marketing courses which helped me to create a marketing strategy to help share my website.

During my time at IBM I was able to gain a really great understanding of how big corporations worked and functioned. Taking the Digital Business Academy courses gave me an insight into how different is it to work in smaller startups. I was really interested to see what it would be like to work in a really fast paced startup environment. As I had completed over six DBA courses I was able to apply for a paid internship through the rewards section. After an interview I was fortunate enough to get a placement at Tech City UK.

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Despite having only been here a few weeks, I have learned a whole new approach to working and developed a host of new skills. This has been an inspiring experience already and will undoubtedly help me as my career progresses.

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