You’ve fostered your passion for technology, honed your skills through further training and armed yourself with the technical knowledge needed to thrive in the ICT industry. Concepts like cloud technology and Internet of Things, microservices and loose coupling, systems and automation all spark a flame in your mind and you are ready to make your mark on one of the most interesting and exciting industries around. By this point you’ve probably researched and considered joining a graduate programme as they’re the perfect opportunity to fast track your career growth and assimilate into a company’s culture without feeling overwhelmed, but what sets one graduate programme apart from another has become difficult to pinpoint.
“Most people would associate a graduate programme with an overkill of training and documents. BBD knows that nobody wants that, hence why we’re clear about our Graduate Programme being more than just your average grad programme,” says Thabang Ledwaba, software engineer, Grad Master and member of the 2017 class of grads. Always on the lookout for the next best grads, we recognise how far you’ve come and your enthusiasm to take the tech world by storm; you are more than a graduate and you need more than a graduate programme.
We have had a Graduate Programme (in some shape or another) for as long as we’ve been around for – which is more than 35 years. Our directors are passionate about educating the youth, growing the industry and employing newly qualified individuals to join our business because they recognise the value bright young graduates bring to our teams. “Being selected to be part of the Graduate Programme at BBD is an affirmation that you have the potential to innovate and contribute alongside some of the brightest minds within the business, where senior engineers with deep experience have superb track records for teaching and growing the next generation of superstars,” shares director, Gus Pringle.
From the early days of after-hour bootcamps to the BBD Graduate Programme as it is known today, we have taken its evolution very seriously, creating a programme that challenges you both technically and personally, allowing you to grow as an individual and in your career.
“There is something very special about your workplace creating an environment that helps you grow exponentially as an individual,” explains Sam Hillebrand, BBD grad class of 2019. “The Graduate Programme is structured to introduce you to multiple languages and tools in a guided manner so you can learn as much as possible within the year. By working on projects with other grads, you learn with each other and from each other.”
But apart from a structure that encourages knowledge sharing and draws on the mentorship of expert industry professionals, what is it that makes the BBD Graduate Programme more?
Real-life projects and teams
“The biggest highlight for grads is working on actual live projects which they can see come to life and make a difference for people in every sphere of their lives, giving our grads a sense of ownership in what they are doing,” tells Grad Master, Chris McCully. From day one of the programme, our grads are put on actual client projects with existing teams within BBD. This allows for hands-on experience from the get-go. “The programme was brilliant in exposing me to real work and development – I literally messed up a system on the first day” recounts Lebwaba. “But this was probably one of the best moments in my career because I quickly learned the importance of teamwork and learning through your mistakes. Those two lessons are the most important things about the programme.”
Learning as a life-long pursuit
While you are given the space to learn from your mistakes and despite you needing to take ownership of your own career, we actively support you and ensure that you have the tools you need to keep on learning not only throughout the programme, but in your career moving forward. With continuous learning as one of our core values, BBDers are constantly adding to their skillsets, playing with technologies and learning from those around them, ultimately shaping the direction of their own career trajectories. “At BBD, your career is in your own hands and each person is treated as an individual. Our Research and Development team have built a gamified learning platform to track your own learning path as well as assist you with an individualised learning programme through your first year and beyond. This platform is available to everyone in BBD and engages you on your learning journey, helping you track achievements and milestones,” explains fellow Grad Master, Rivash Ramnarain.
Becoming and being a BBDer
Not only is one of our key focuses to teach our grads as much as we can both technically and personally, but also to develop them as true BBDers. And just what does being a BBDer mean? Well, it takes a combination of wit and grit and a deep craving for knowledge, paired with a tenacity and drive to find solutions, withal wrapped up in the ability to play hard. We work hard and do whatever it takes to drive quality project delivery, having fun every step of the way. “BBD values their people, and the environment we work in is like no other. When we’re not hard at work delivering innovative solutions, we’re enjoying events and meet-ups that happen all year round, helping us build relationships within our teams and the broader company,” says Ramnarain. “Being a BBDer requires commitment and determination, but the hard work is one of the most rewarding you’ll ever come across.”
What sets BBD apart
”If I look back now and consider what I was driven by and looking for as a youngster starting my career, I believe it can be summarised into diverse experiences, fun, professional growth and building relationships with high performing people seeking the same journey” reflects Pringle “based on what I see from the grads joining BBD, I believe that those ingredients have not changed and I make it one of my personal missions to ensure it is delivered on”.
Diversity of experience is a highlight for many in the company as we offer you the opportunity to try new technologies, methodologies and industries, without needing to move companies! With teams across the globe who specialise in a broad range of technologies, as well as our successful track record in a vast number of industries including financial services, insurance, gaming, government, telecoms and education, exploring and growing your expertise in what’s out there is easy with BBD.
“Diversity of experience, be it on a new tech, a new client, a new team or even in a new country, is all part of the recipe that BBD cooks with and what grads are looking for. Diversity of background and thinking is a core part of who we are too” highlights Pringle, commenting on the assortment of people who make BBD what it is. And our grads are no exception.
We’ve seen grads spend their final year of varsity camping out in our offices to get a jump start on the programme, effectively starting their own before the official programme kicked off. We’ve had entire friend groups from the same universities join the programme after hearing about the force that is the BBD way. We’ve seen graduates so skilled in and passionate about software that although they did not receive a matric pass, their ability surpassed even that of some of our honours degree holders!
Some of our grads started their own computer school under a tree in Venda, set up a Saturday coding school to try introduce more people to the industry, and set up computer labs at their community schools with our help. Some of our grads are chemical, mechanical, and mathematical engineering graduates who later realised software is the way to change the world and made a point of catching up their skills. One of our grads even juggles a software development career with social upliftment initiatives and still finds the time to use fruit to fly things. “It is the passionate, the best, the brightest, the most potential-filled, never-give-up fighters that make up our BBD grads,” says Pringle. And it is these grads who build on the BBD culture of whatever it takes.
“My skillset has grown tremendously as an engineer, and also as a part of a team. I’ve had to work hard, but the reward of knowledge and experience gained is immeasurable,” reflects Hillebrand. The BBD Graduate Programme is more than a graduate programme and our grads go on to be some of the most sought-after engineers in BBD. It’s about having all the makings of a BBDer and using the Graduate Programme as your launchpad to a successful career in software development, where you create solutions that can change the world.
For more information on our Graduate Programme, to download our Grad Book and watch our More Than video click here.