Career Advice

The FDM Consultant Journey

Paul Brown
27.04.2022 Published: 27.04.22, Modified: 27.04.2022 09:04:32

FDM believes that everyone with passion, aptitude and ambition deserves the opportunity to pursue a career in tech. Our Graduate Programme accepts applicants from all degree backgrounds, even non STEM related, and equips them with all the skills needed to launch a successful technology or business career working with one or more of our industry-leading multinational clients.

We then provide ongoing support and guidance throughout their whole career journey, from the day they become an FDM Trainee, their progression as an onsite FDM Consultant thriving in the client environment, and their emergence as FDM Alumni.

We recently followed one of these journeys to discover an insider’s perspective on the FDM Consultant experience.

The Student – Exploring possibilities

We spoke to Hideyuki Kanazawa who graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a BSc (Hons) as a physics major, with a mathematics minor.

Like so many graduates, he was uncertain where his degree would take him, but technology had always been an area of interest for him.

“To be honest, I thought that with a Physics degree I was limited to careers within the academia, education and research space.

I’ve always been amazed at how technology benefits us by improving access to free & unfiltered information and providing a platform for digital communication. Not only does this help with our daily activities, it also enables countless career opportunities by evening the playing field for people of any race, background or gender (which I think is remarkable). This was a factor that inspired me to pursue a career in Information Technology.

After speaking to a few alumni who had graduate jobs in technology companies during NUS career sharing sessions, many possibilities unearthed and working in the IT space was one of them.”

Hideyuki felt that, while it seemed there were plenty of opportunities for careers in IT in 2019 when he graduated, whether he could land a job was another question… There was a local talent pool shortage with technology firms from US, China and other countries pouring in and setting up shop.

“My personal experience was, after applying for more than 50 roles at various companies, I got 2 interview invites. One of which I flunked and the other I failed at the final stage.”

With limited programming knowledge and experience, he rated his chances post-graduation to be 0.

The Trainee – Opening up opportunity

And then, “I happened upon the FDM Graduate Program on a career portal.”

As a fresh graduate he saw that, despite having no relevant IT experience or degree, applying for the program would mean equipping himself with relevant technical skills and increased exposure to industry professionals. This was what he needed to kickstart a career in technology.

A particularly attractive feature was knowing that his training fee would be waived. “Many software bootcamps charge thousands of dollars promising attractive career opportunities. FDM provides the training for free and directly links you up with industry leaders.”

The application process proved to be smooth and straight-forward.

His interviews with account managers and trainers were greeted with warm welcomes and openness. Although, in his opinion, an area for improvement could have been the technical interviews and this is certainly one of the many aspects of the program undergoing continual evolvement.

After applying, he began his training in FDM’s Singapore Academy, opting to go with the DevOps track as “the course seems more well-rounded, teaching on-demand programming languages as well as software integration tools. Plus, it‘s a highly sought-after industry niche.”

Once getting into the training itself, he found that “FDM is a safe space to grow and learn.”

During the training he made close friends who were friendly, encouraging and always ready to share experiences. They all came from different backgrounds, like life science, engineering and biotech, but were like-minded in their commitment to starting an IT career. The great support network they formed helped him overcome training challenges.

His 2-month course was split into focus weeks where they learnt a particular tool throughout the week and had graded quizzes and assignments. The pace allowed him to quickly pick up many skills without being overwhelming.  

Dedicated and friendly technical trainers

The course started off with SQL and BASH, then covered Python, Java and DevOps Tools such as Jenkins, Docker, and Selenium. His trainers included the empathetic Veronica, who saw their lack of knowledge but recognised their passion. And Sheela, always happy to share her wealth of expertise from years of experience.

Despite this, Hideyuki did not feel 100% confident that he was fully prepared to go and work with one of FDM‘s clients. “While training at FDM did equip me with some technical skills, the imposter syndrome bell rang at the back of my mind as this was my first taste of work at an IT company.”

He thought perhaps FDM could introduce more complex problem statements as group project work for consultants during the course. This was good feedback and helps us as we constantly develop the program to more closely resemble the realities of IT jobs in a client working environment.

While Hideyuki’s training was all done in-person, FDM has since smoothly transitioned to fully remote training to ensure the safety of our community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consultant – Gaining invaluable experience

With his training complete it was time for Hideyuki to step into the commercial world, with his skills and strengths tailored to the role that would be the best fit.

“I was hoping for a role as a DevOps Engineer or Site Reliability Engineer, which I was fortunate enough to pursue in a global bank.” A role that, he had to admit, he doesn’t believe he could have landed alone.

Site reliability engineering (SRE) teams use software as a tool to manage systems, solve problems, and automate operations tasks. Hideyuki’s responsibilities included designing optimal solutions and implementation using relevant programming languages. This contributed to blue dollar savings, freeing up time for operational teams to innovate and start new projects, rather than repetitive, labour-intensive work.

He also developed and designed solutions for SRE projects across the bank which aided in the adoption of SRE best practices such as high availability, disaster recovery, service reliability etc.

Hideyuki’s advice to consultants fresh out of training was that, although the academy will give you enough to get started and to do well, to really excel you need to go the extra mile and keep learning. To acquire skills specific to his internal role, he took advantage of additional training provided by the client.

For Hideyuki, an aspect of the support coming from FDM was that it was now virtual, and he missed the human contact component. Support did come, though, “when Michelle was our account manager, she was responsive, friendly and helped a lot in the conversion process. Also Brandon from the HR team was a big help in many human resource-related queries.”

The Alumni – Unlimited possibilities

The FDM Graduate Programme provides a pathway for thousands of successful jobs for grads in tech or business around the world every year.

Hideyuki himself has reached a place that he wouldn’t have thought possible without it.

“Prior to the training, I wouldn’t have imagined myself having a stable position at a reputable company like a global bank. Much less sharing about my journey and experience with juniors and colleagues.”

Now, with his FDM Consultant period behind him, he’s looking ahead to new opportunities such as multinational software corporations, blockchain or securities companies, and hopes to maintain involvement in FDM’s future activities.

Hideyuki encourages anyone considering applying to the FDM Graduate Programme to weigh up the 2-year commitment against the opportunities that it opens up.

“You’ll be warmly welcomed by expert trainers and friendly account managers and have the opportunity to work closely with like-minded peers planning for a career transition. FDM will provide you with in-depth course structure and exposure to highly sought-after positions at reputable companies.”

If you’re ambitious, with a tech mindset, the FDM Graduate Career Programme can equip you with all the industry-leading skills you need to be job ready in just 6-14 weeks. You’ll then be placed as an FDM Consultant with one or more of our blue-chip, international clients.