Career Stories: Mark Norris

John Smith

Deciding what you want to do after university can be a very difficult decision for students, which was the case for Mark Norris. Mark graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Pharmacology before discovering FDM. He tells us why he chose FDM to begin his career in technology and shares his experience of joining one of our clients as a permanent employee.

I grew up in Blackpool in the North West of England, and moved to Hong Kong after graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in Pharmacology. I’ve always been interested in technology and all it can do for businesses, but never considered having a career in the industry until I came across FDM. I saw their Careers Programme as a good opportunity to get my foot in the door of an industry where I previously had no experience.  The opportunity to receive commercially-recognised training and gain experience working with world-renowned clients really appealed to me and made my decision to join simple.

After completing FDM’s Java Development Programme, I was placed with one of their most prestigious clients as a Production Support Analyst on a Broker Outsourcing team. The biggest challenges came in the first few months on-site. It was a steep learning curve, as both production support and managing client relationships can be quite intense. Having to familiarise myself with how the product worked and improving my hard skills, all while under pressure to fix issues was tough but a strengthening experience. My role merged into one with a DevOps focus and I began honing skills in development and testing while maintaining client and vendor responsibilities. In my final year as an FDM consultant, my role had expanded to infrastructure-related work and planning our migration to cloud servers.

When starting a new career, it’s helpful to prepare by identifying your strengths and how they can be transferred to your role. Volunteer to be part of projects in order to develop your skills and show your team that you can be supportive. Another tip to remember is to always listen, watch and read.  There is an endless supply of IT and business knowledge; stay ahead of the curve and make sure you’re indispensable. Finally, be sociable and approachable to others when they need help or advice.

I have secured a permanent job in an industry I enjoy working in, and I am thankful for FDM and all those who helped me get to where I am today.

FDM’s specialise in business and technology careers for graduates, ex-forces/veterans, and professionals returning from a career break. Find out more about our careers programmes today.