Mandeep Roopra

Project Leader at Heathrow Airport

How did you come across Just IT?

I studied Computer Science at university, but started working outside of the IT industry. I was looking to get back into IT in 2010 so I started looking online for jobs, and I came across Just IT’s website. I spoke with them and they were very helpful and invited me to come into the office. The job guarantee scheme at the end of the course convinced me to take it on.

What was your background in technology beforehand?

My degree in Computer Science was the only relevant knowledge I had about technology. However, after graduation, I started working independently away from IT for about 6 years. This was just a short-term thing as I always wanted to get back into IT and Just IT was able to help me do that.

Why did you want to get back into IT?

I have just always enjoyed IT. I’m a bit of a geek at heart; I take interest in audio visual and other techy stuff. I studied Pharmacy in my first year of university, but I had friends who were doing IT related degrees, and I took more of an interest in their work! I soon realised that I needed to do what I enjoyed and that’s when I changed my degree to Computer Science.

Would you say that having a degree helped you reach your current position? And why did you decide to do a course even though you had an IT related degree?

I wanted something extra on my CV and working in a different industry for six years made it difficult for me to land a job in IT. Just IT’s Network Professional Programme was ideal for me at the time – especially with the job guarantee!

What was your first role in IT?

Just IT placed me in my first IT role. It was a 1st Line Help Desk role with a law firm called Clyde & Co LLP and I was there for 4 weeks, but they decided to keep me on for another 3 months. I found the placement very useful as I got the experience from being in an office environment, which was the first time for me. Also, the interview preparation process helped me a lot.

What does your current role consist of?

I’m working as a Programme/Project Manager. I look at our IT and Business strategy alignment. I take projects from the point of conception to funding approval and then hand them over to Project Managers to manage and deliver. There is a lot of stakeholder management and I have ultimate responsibility for the projects’ budgets. I ensure that the risks are managed by the MPs and also that the contracts between us and the suppliers are fit for purpose.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

I like where I am working as I’m working in Business Change and Services which is an area I can learn a lot from! That’s important to me; learning whilst working is what I need and look for in a role. Also, I enjoy liaising with the business on a daily basis. I enjoy being able to understand the issue and then deliver the solution.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

This is one of those questions you get asked in interviews, and if I am going to be honest, I really don’t know yet. So far I have progressed quickly, I have gone from being an IT Service Desk Engineer to Programme Manager in just 7 years! It’s easy for me to say that in 5 years’ time I’ll want to be a Programme Director, but one of the reasons I am where I am today is because I have always been open to new opportunities and never tied myself down to something specific.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face so far in your career?

The biggest challenge I faced was when I left Clyde & Co to take an opportunity in a very technical firm. Where I have been open to new opportunities, I have taken on roles where I have had not so much experience in – this has meant I have had to learn a lot.

How do you go about dealing with challenges at work?

The way way I find to deal with challenges is to make use of the people around you. Ask for help when you need it, and generally the people you work with will be happy to help.

What would you recommend to someone who is currently considering a career in IT?

I would recommend being open to new opportunities as it puts you in a good place. People will see that you are willing to work hard.

If you want a career in IT, then you must already have a passion for it and be ready to work hard for every step you take. Not every step you take will be good, but every step is a learning experience and that’s important. New opportunities will help you grow and learn.

What would you recommend to those who don’t have a degree?

Personally, my degree did not make me more employable. It was more about my experience and what I had done in previous roles. For those of you who don’t have a degree in IT, your best option is to get work experience which you can do by doing the Network Professional Programme or an Apprenticeship.


If you’d like to know more about starting your IT career with an £18-28k job guarantee, visit our Individual Training page or give us a call on 0207 426 9835.