Case study

Junior Java developer — Liam Withers

Liam studied for a degree in Computer Science at Loughborough University. He now works as a junior Java developer. Find out more about his role

How did you get your job?

A friend from university was working at Access Health and Social Care - part of The Access Group - a large software provider with offices across the UK. He only had great things to say about the company, and given that Access had an office on my university campus, it seemed a perfect opportunity.

What's a typical day like as a Junior Java developer?

Using programming languages, most of my days are spent writing code for new features in the software. The rest of the time I am investigating bugs, problems with features or parts of the software we have already released and published.

As part of a development team, I also review the code that my colleagues have written to check for errors, or to find where it can be improved to make it more efficient and effective.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Problem solving. This could mean fixing a problem with the software, or being confronted with a complex challenge or aspiration that the customer, or the wider market, wants the software to help with.

Beginning with what seems like a near impossible task, working together to break it down piece-by-piece and then writing code that becomes a real working solution is great. It's really rewarding working from an initial idea to seeing the software actually being used.

The software that I work on is used by those taking care of elderly and vulnerable people. It's nice to know that our software is helping make the lives of carers easier, improving the safety and quality of care that people get, and helping the system as a whole to be more efficient. There isn't a lot of money going around for these services.

What are the challenges?

Coming up with future-proof solutions to problems, our customers' needs and ways of working change, we may need to make the software work with other systems and so on. This means we have to add as much elasticity and flexibility into the software, so that it can adapt to changes.

It's also really difficult and can be frustrating to fix legacy bugs, which can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack.

How has your role developed?

Personally, I've started working on larger features.

How do I get into development?

  • Learn to code.
  • Understand database design, SQL, front-end skills (vanilla HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Any popular JavaScript framework - Angular, React, Vue.js etc.). Lots of development roles also require front-end skills, and other non-programming technical knowledge.
  • Train your mind for problem solving.

While the vast majority of our team have degrees in computer science, mathematics or a related discipline, there are some who are self-taught, although this is a rarity.

Once you are in development you need to keep up with the changes in the industry and as you might expect with software development, things change fast.

Find out more