Read Abdullatif’s apprenticeship journey and essential tips on how you can progress! 

Abdullatif Farah is currently completing a Software Development Apprenticeship with Merkle as a Junior Data Engineer! 

‘The highlight so far has been learning new technologies, feeling more competent and knowing I can actually do this and I’m doing pretty well.’ 

Where it all began…  

Abdullatif was born to Somalian parents in Somali, spending his childhood in Sweden, then moving to Kenya where he attended high school and completing his IGCSEs before settling in the UK. With a large family to look after, his mum stayed in Kenya whilst his dad joined him and his older brothers and sisters to attend universities. His dad provided support through settling in the family and currently makes visits between Kenya and the UK. Having already lived in eight countries and speaking six languages it would be great to explore more, but that would be a whole new blog post! 

When did you consider an Apprenticeship? 

‘I studied for A levels and planned to finish these, but 4 months before my exams I realised I was more interested in studying technology so decided to look at Apprenticeships. During this time, I completed some IT courses, did a boot camp and kept applying.’  

What IT courses would you recommend to those interested in technology?  

‘I signed up for a programme through the The School of Code which is entirely free and funded by the government - the course is 16 weeks and allows you to learn with others who are also trying to get into tech and have mentorship from those in the industry. They teach you how to build projects as a team and individually and introduce you to new technologies, which include html, css, javascipts, Express, Node, Jest, and SQLite. It was one of the few online courses I genuinely enjoyed as it was more of a community as you met online every day for those weeks, as well as a few in-person events.’ 

‘I also used Codewars which helps you get used to technical interviews, learn to problem solve and get proficient with coding languages such as Javascript and Python, which I recommend if you are looking at a career in software development.  Sololearn is good place for picking up new languages that are gamified.’ 

‘The best advice for self-learners is join communities through which has some IT channels used for communications and marketing, it’s used by a lot of different people and a place where you can get help from people proficient in coding languages.’  

When did you apply for your Apprenticeship with Merkle? 

During the course Abdullatif had been applying for apprenticeships and, although leaving a bit earlier than planned, having completed most of his learnings he graduated from the course. One of his applications was through Multiverse who are one of Dentsu’s apprenticeship providers and they had a role at Merkle! 

What was the interview process for the Apprenticeship at Merkle? 

‘It was a two-stage process with a formal interview and a technical interview - I was very passionate about tech so I was able to show my technical competence and got an offer for the Software Development Apprenticeship.’  

How does the 18-month Apprenticeship work? 

‘I have one day a week with Multiverse to train and the remainder of the week I work as a Junior Data Engineer.’ 

Did you have a buddy or mentor when you joined? 

‘I was provided a mentor through multiverse mentor scheme.’ 

What does a typical day look like as an Apprentice? 

‘I have been working with dentsu TikTok and helping to get the message out there to those seeking early careers roles and providing insights on my current position. There is a video covering ‘A Day in the Life’ which covers how I got to where I am, how to excel in the job and other insights on different careers which can be viewed on dentsu TikTok.’ 

What is your most memorable moment? 

‘I have a few – one of them was an initiative I was involved in called “No Filter with VIZs” which was only started last year in 2022, headed up by Tyler Christian, our Culture & Engagement Advisor. I was part of a panel of Gen Zs where I was speaking on stage on the topic of “What does Clout even mean?” where we covered what people do to be cool/trendy and how some people will do things just to be famous which makes it uncool. We also discussed how brands can use these trends to their advantage and influence and market a product. It was live streamed to the company, and we had around 1,000 views and made some videos after the session which were sent to clients. Other topics covered Burberry, SnapChat, Big Brother, TikTok, Influencers and Crocs which are really popular with Gen Zs.’  

‘My second most memorable moment was attending The Social Mobility Awards in October 2022 with the CEO Angela Tangas and Tyler Christian, as well as a few other Gen Z employees. It was fun as we were wearing suits and it was something I had never experienced before, going to an Awards ceremony and witnessing the amazing things the company are doing, especially as I had only been there for 4 months.’ 

What sets Merkle apart from other companies and why would you want to work for us? 

‘I definitely love the help you get in the company; everyone is willing to help you out and advise you, especially when you are new and still trying to get used to the company.’  

Finally, Dentsu are keen on internal mobility and career progression, what are your future plans? 

‘I’m hoping to stay with Merkle after the Apprenticeship and I’m having these conversations now, although I’ve only been here for 8 months, I was advised to speak early on to confirm I want to stay so this can be arranged. I would be interested in looking in progressing further as a data engineer.’