John. Computer Science Graduate. Manchester Metropolitan University.

Before I began University, I wasn’t sure which area of IT I wanted to be a part of. I just knew that I enjoyed IT and that I wanted to pursue a career in the field. That’s why I chose to study Computer Science, I knew it would be a solid foundation for whichever path I would go on to take.

As I progressed through the various units and assignments of the course, I began to realise that although I appreciated the beauty of an efficient algorithm and relished the thrill of solving a problem with my very own programmatic solution, maybe full-time software development wasn’t for me in the long run.

I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year spent as a Junior Software Developer & IT Support Engineer at a local software company in Manchester, and I would recommend anyone takes part in a placement if their course offers a ”sandwich” placement year, but for me, it reinforced my suspicion that I didn’t see myself as a programmer. There was no doubt that I enjoyed learning and implementing technical solutions, but I also aspired to work closely with end users and customers to understand the bigger picture to deliver real change and value.

When I graduated and set sail on the turbulent seas of job-hunting, I started being interviewed for various software development roles, such as mobile application development. It was 2014 and app development for iOS and Android was the future, right?! However, I began to realise that a Computer Science grad is a bit like being a “jack of all trades: a master of none, but often times better than a master of one”. This didn’t help me secure a position though.

Then I got lucky; a call from Graduate Recruitment Bureau about an open Junior Consultant position at a small start-up based near Manchester. As I listened and learned more about the role, my excitement grew. This sounded like a perfect blend of technical hands-on work, and customer-facing interactions and consultancy.

That’s exactly what it turned out to be. My time here was extremely exciting and pushed me to the limits of my skills and abilities. Ten years later I have progressed through various Professional Services roles and now Salesforce, leading me to my current position as Global Head of Automation Professional Services. Consistently voted in the top 10 places to work in the UK and globally, Salesforce is the perfect environment for techies like me who believe the customer is what’s most important, something I’m very passionate about.

My top tips are;

  • Regardless of the degree you graduate with, try to maintain an open-minded approach to your career plans.
  • Your degree doesn't limit you to a specific role; instead, it opens numerous doors to exciting opportunities.
  • Embrace the versatility of your education & background and explore the many paths available to you.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s where learning and growth truly happens