The Skills Bootcamp in Data Technician finished a few days ago. We caught up with one of our candidates, Wayne Rafferty to talk about his experience.

Wayne started out working for an American automotive company, Johnson Controls, straight after A-Levels. He became 2nd in command of an automotive production line of 50+ personnel.

During that time, he bought his first laptop and started researching its operating system as a hobby (Windows ‘95/XP). He quickly got hooked.

“I’ve always been self-taught. Researching this, I got really intrigued about how to repair these things! A lot of people would go to the local IT shop; I was telling them, you don’t need to go there, let me see if I can fix it!”

Soon after, the opportunity arose to support his brother’s restaurant business from an IT perspective, so Wayne set up his own IT company on the side, TechRaff Computing Solutions. TechRaff specialised in laptop/PC repairs such as adding memory, tackling viruses, recovering data, etc.

Career-wise, still in automotive, he switched to a company that builds cockpits and consoles for Jaguar Land Rover as Production Order Controller and Data Analyst Coordinator. Eventually, he became Head of Production Planning and Control over two UK sites.

His position fell under logistics, but, as department head, one of his responsibilities was liaising with the Programming, System integration, Industrial Engineering, and Change Managements to evaluate their system specification requirements. Anything programmers and the integration team needed to change for new vehicles, he was one of the stakeholders as technical specialist adviser. He worked in a Manufacturing Execution System that he maintained, altered, and configured.

Although Wayne really enjoyed his role, temporary health problems affected his ability to continue within the automotive industry.

However, Wayne wanted to keep working with data. He saw everyone moving towards Cloud Computing, researched it, and became passionate. “It’s a fundamental area to go into. Anyone in IT needs to have basic knowledge of this – Agile, Amazon, no matter the industry,” so he applied for Skills Bootcamps on the Government website.

Frustrated by waiting times that were “far too long!” he took the advice of a LinkedIn contact and looked into Firebrand.

He got a speedy reply and, less than a week later, he was on the course. “Quite impressed with the speed!” Wayne said.

The experience was a bit different from courses he’d taken in the past. “Before the pandemic, I did Microsoft courses; went to companies on-site, had classes there… a lot of physical interaction.”

However, he really enjoyed the more open environment and his cohort of 14, most with IT or Data Analyst backgrounds. Some people returned after having kids; some had worked with data without being certified.

“Regardless of our backgrounds, we have one main thing in common – we love data, playing with data, analysing data! That’s what brought us together.”

“We worked off each other. I loved the interaction Being in groups with people from other bootcamps…I had good confidence in the group” and, in turn, he supported it. “I suggested things for us to look into” and created an Excel sheet for his group with useful information such as links to pre-reading.

“I’ve always liked supporting and teaching others, I had to teach and train my staff anytime there were changes. I see these key points and know what people want and ask those questions. It’s in my nature. Certain students came to me for advice.”

Wayne still runs his business – now, as free technical advice platform – because he wants to help people.

"I was in the same cohort as Wayne; he's a very hard working individual. What makes him stand out is his willingness to help others, going as far as organizing tutorial sessions for anyone who needs help and offering support during trainer-led sessions. He also created a support group which is now an alumni group providing the opportunity for members in my cohort to keep in touch. I'm glad to have trained alongside Wayne!" said his peer, Emmanuella Chukwueloke, on LinkedIn.

On the course, he studied Excel Visualization, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, and Azure Data Analysis Fundamentals. He will receive diplomas for all modules and a certificate of completion for the Skills Bootcamp.

“Mock exams from Pearson Vue have been really useful, given my dyslexia – But, to be honest, dyslexia has never stopped me going!”

Would Wayne recommend Skills Bootcamps?

“If people have experience, bootcamps will be the best thing to do. They allow you to gain that knowledge and upskill within a short period of time. If you’re entry level and want to get into this kind of work, they will help you do it within a perfect schedule. You need to commit 5 days a week!”

Upon completing his programme, Wayne has decided to go down the Cloud Security Specialist route for Microsoft and has been in contact with a well-known company.

Thank you for talking to us, Wayne, and good luck with everything!