James Toal joined the Expleo graduate programme in Dublin, Ireland in 2018. Since then it has been all go, from his four week induction in South Africa, to meeting his new team in Belfast. The friendships made on this journey have developed his network and encouraged collaboration on his client projects.

James reflects on the last year in this recent blog.

Never a dull moment on our graduate programme

If I had to describe the Expleo graduate programme in a single word, it would be: busy. Over the past 11 months I have not stopped learning and having fun, this was exactly the start I wanted to my new career as an automation engineer.

First up was a trip to Durban in South Africa for four weeks, where I was trained in Java, GIT, Selenium, Linux, Docker, Ranorex, SQL, Consultancy Skills and ICAgile during the week, and then relaxed at the weekends with my fellow graduates. Actually, that’s not quite true. It’s hard to switch off when you’re ziplining through the jungle or doing the world’s highest canyon swing

Back in Belfast, I met my career coach and then began intensive training in Selenium, Java, Maven and Jenkins, as well as the current automation framework that’s in place at Expleo. Almost immediately, I began work on a real life project, using Azure Dev Ops to manage our repository, tasks and overall management. Within just two months, I was working on-site with one of our clients.

My first engagement was an international airline, where I was set the task of automating manual test scripts and reducing the time for a manual tester. It was hard work, but hugely rewarding to build relationships with my counterparts at the airline. Next, I worked with an international law firm, where I got the chance to work on a proof of concept for Eggplant AI, exploring how Artificial Intelligence can improve our automation testing processes further.

The social side never stopped. Here’s a few of the highlights: an eight ball pool night, ten pin bowling night, charity mud run and dragon boat race. I especially enjoyed our Christmas, summer and brand launch parties. I still found time to get involved in loads of great internal initiatives like the brand ambassador programme, lunch and learn, a day in the life of another employee, presenting to fellow graduates, and even arguing with them in a debating match!

I was asked to give a talk at the 2019 graduate intake day. My message was simple: just go for it. You will need to work hard but you will get an incredible experience in return. 

Find out about early careers at Expleo here.

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