Tom Upson first joined the business on a 6-week internship programme and is now our Associate Developer. Here, he talks about his career path at First Central and gives his advice on starting out in the tech industry.
Did you always want to work in tech?
From a young age I've always had a strong interest in tech. I knew it was the industry for me, but I never knew exactly what aspect of tech I would end up in.
How did you start working at First Central?
I first worked at First Central for 6 weeks over the summer of 2017 when I took part in the Discover Digital internship programme. I then started working full time in September 2018 after I completed my A-levels.
What is the internship programme?
It's a programme run by the Digital Greenhouse
where, over the 6-week summer break, post-16 students are given the opportunity to embed themselves in the digital sector.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to get into tech?
Take every opportunity you can. Schemes like the internship can help you get your foot in the door, and even if it doesn't work out, you're still getting your name out there, which is especially beneficial in Guernsey where the tech industry is tightly networked.
What's the best thing about working at First Central?
Definitely the people. Right from my very first day of the internship, everyone has been supportive and willing to help, which has helped me pick up the platform quickly, as well as embed myself in the office.
What coding languages do you use?
We operate predominantly on Microsoft technologies, so most of my time is spent writing C# for the back-end services and websites. This extends to query languages such as SQL for interfacing with the database, or mark-up languages such as HTML and CSS for designing the user-facing site. It really depends on what needs changing, but it covers the whole technology stack.
If someone was interested in learning to code, what would you recommend they learnt first?
I would suggest learning languages such as Scratch or Python. They’re both easy to learn and provide you with the tools to explore concepts such as loops, conditional statements and other fundamental programming techniques which will prove to be very useful.
Is it easy to self-teach coding or would you recommend a course?
I don't think there’s one clear-cut way of learning to code. Personally, I learnt the basics through school and then built on that knowledge out of self-interest. But courses are good too, it just depends on how you prefer to learn. I would also suggest an internship scheme as it’s a fantastic way of getting to experience the working environment.
What do you think the future of tech looks like in Guernsey?
I think it's very promising. The interest in tech is growing as it becomes a bigger part of people’s lives.
If you could improve one aspect of tech in Guernsey what would it be?
I would like to see Guernsey utilise technology more. There are many places where technology could be used to overhaul manual and time-consuming processes.