DVLA Digital Academy & YII Students: Our Ambitions for the Year Ahead

Earlier this year, we launched our Digital Academy programme, as part of our Centre of Digital Excellence (CoDE) scheme, which provides a structured path into various exciting digital professions.

Last month, we welcomed a cohort of new students into the Information Technology Services (ITS) team. Now they’re just beginning a bootcamp which involves developing their testing, coding, and programming skills. Once completed, they will separate into their teams, this being the ‘cloud’ team or the ‘software developer engineer in test (SDET)’ team. 

In this blog, our Year in Industry and Digital Academy students share their ambitions for the upcoming year. 

First, we hear from Leighton and Lee, two of our new digital academy students:  

Leighton Taylor – SDET:  

Having just made huge career switch from mechanical engineering to IT, this upcoming year is all about improving my knowledge and understanding of all things coding, testing and really make the most of this fantastic opportunity that the Digital Academy has provided. We’ve already had a few courses so far and the academy has loads more lined up for us in the near future.

I’m super excited to learn new skills, concepts, and programming languages. As well as learning the new job, I recently booked a skiing holiday in France and I can’t wait to get on the slopes and try my best to not look like one of The Three Stooges. Currently, the goal is to complete the bootcamp, join the squads in the new year and put all the theory into practice. 


Lee Patterson – SDET:  

Being accepted into the Digital Academy programme means that I will be equipped to progress with my career within DVLA. I have always had a passion for learning new things, particularly coding languages and I’m really looking forward to progressing with this. Since I began my ITS journey, I have been supported in learning the Ruby language along with many other skills.

My long-term goal is to become a senior SDET and to be in a position where I can contribute to the development of future CoDE students. There has been a lot to learn so far but it’s definitely a leap I’m glad I took.  

Our year in industry students also provide their thoughts:  

Jamie Quinn – Software Engineer:  

During my time in the CoDE team from 2023 to 2024, I aim to build core skills in cloud computing, programming, research, and AI. Through AWS certification, Python and TypeScript projects, consuming research and experimenting with generative models, I will develop technical and research proficiency.

Collaborating in hackathons and cross-functional teams will grow my Agile abilities. With consistent effort and focus, I can achieve these professional development goals, ready to fully embrace the innovative digital curriculum. This is an exciting opportunity to expand my knowledge and become future ready. 

Jonathan Lim – Software Engineer:  

Being a part of the CoDE team has been an exhilarating journey and I have set specific goals to utilize my time in the programme. My primary focus will be on mastering docker files and AWS lambda functions, 2 essential aspects of software development. To bolster my skills, I actively participate in CoDE and hackathon sessions, which sharpens my critical thinking and coding proficiency and expands my knowledge base.

Additionally, I am studying deep learning and machine learning, preparing for an upcoming course. Overall, the CoDE team is an ideal platform for developing my personal and professional development. 

Matthew Salter – Software Engineer:  

I’m really enjoying my placement as a software engineer at DVLA’s Emerging Tech Lab and my ambitions for this role cover a few areas. Firstly, I aim to complete the AWS practitioner exam, which I believe will be a significant milestone in enhancing my cloud computing skills. Furthermore, I’m eager to expand my coding proficiency by exploring new programming languages. This will not only broaden my knowledge but also enable me to contribute to future projects.

On top of that, I’m keen to learn more about AI and machine learning, as I think these will play a big part in my future career and I am able to do this as part of the emerging tech lab. I also hope to use this placement to get better at working in a team, communicating effectively, and solving problems, all key skills for a successful career in software engineering. 

Ross Couch – Strategy and Communications:  

My main ambition for this year is to make the most of the range of opportunities that get presented to me. I have been given a wide range of opportunities so far, from attending external events to represent the organisation, to having the responsibility to manage the digital screens, one of the team’s key communication channels.

I aim to continue making the most of these opportunities by approaching them with confidence and taking onboard advice and support from my colleagues. I have also just signed up to attend a training course on ‘presenting confidently’ which will allow me to develop my communication skills further. I aim to use these opportunities to develop my skills across the board and become a well-rounded, skilled employee. 

Hear from CoDE Business Analysts

Our CoDE business analysts (Jackie Davies, Hayley Ryan, Nathan Phillips, and Steven Brown) have provided an update on their busy time undertaking the ‘BA Bootcamp’: 

The initial Business Analysis (BA) eight-week Bootcamp, organised and run by the Business Analyst Team in ITS, has come to an end. Throughout this time, we attended daily education sessions that provided an overview and application of the British Computer Society (BCS) Business Analysis Service Framework. We learnt about different analysis and documentation techniques that can be used throughout the various stages of a business change lifecycle. 

The bootcamp also provided an overview of stakeholder analysis and engagement and introduced us to various implementation methodologies with a focus on both the Waterfall and Agile approaches. Throughout the bootcamp, we were able to apply and cement our learnings by completing lots of activities and group-based tasks.  

We were also introduced to various key business areas throughout DVLA, including visits to the Contact Centre, Mail Room and Casework and Enforcement Group (CAEG) departments. 

The final week of the bootcamp required us to attend a formal three-day training course for the BSC Foundation in Business Analysis and concluded with an exam that we all happily passed. This successful outcome was due largely to the very well organised bootcamp sessions that we attended.

Discover new opportunities in ITS!

Check out the development opportunities DVLA’s ITS (Information and Technology Services) team has on offer here: