I've been a web developer for about 4 years. I'd consider myself a very competent PHP programmer and have expert skills in front end UI development.
Anyway. I dropped out of my Software Engineering degree last week, because I wasn't learning nothing. The whole learning process was slow. We did OOP Java last semester, now my OOP knowledge is good anyway, aside from that though it took them a whole semester to learn what I could have learnt in a few days to a week. I didn't want to waste 4 years doing that.
So I took a job as an apprentice with a poor wage. £100 a week to be exact. I'm 24, most of you are probably thing "what the hell". But I have been self taught in a bedroom, I have little commercial experience, so when a 29 year old graduates from uni with no commercial experience it's going to be very hard to get a job, regardless of the qualification.
My question is how do I move upward? I have been given the role of basically data input. Over time things will increase, tomorrow I am setting up Ad Words campaigns for the company, but my job will still stand as a data inputer for the time being.
I just want to prove myself quickly, increase my wage and move on.
The system the company uses at the moment to manage their multi million pound store is XCart. I have spotted probably over 100 faults with it. But I am scared to speak up.
The MD wants to drive more traffic to the site, but the HTML isn't even valid let alone SEF (Search Engine Friendly). I feel like telling him he could boost his traffic by setting up a decent store, like Magento, and begin trying to increase traffic before splashing out hundreds on adwords (get the mark up right first). The IT manager in charge of it all is probably a little old fashion hence why the store is the way it is. He's a sound guy, so I don't want to talk behind his back.
Any advice on moving up quickly? If you was the boss of a company that makes £80,000 a day, would you want input from an apprentice?
I also think I am showing a lot of dedication to the job because I am taking whole spreadsheets home with me and inputting data after I finish work. I am doing lists that should take a week to do in 48 hours.
Well if you want to provide something your boss might be impressed with, put together some hard numbers he can clearly see the benefits of. What I usually do if consulting with a business in terms of accessibility and usability is do an audit of the website and produce a comprehensive report of faults I have found, why they can be a problem, who they would affect, what the potential cost to the business might be, how they can be resolved, stuff like that. Generally speaking throwing comments about how a website is written will not get you much attention but saying you found some spare time to do some research on the current site and how it might be improved will be useful to them. Also when you do decide to audit the website (on matters such as accessibility) make sure to directly mention stuff like accessibility laws, percentages of disabled visitors (especially if you can see the stats) and general information which will impact the business, your boss will recognise what you have done more if you do the job at the professional level rather than just making comments about the current job being done.
I've seen many people in the same sort of position as you over the years, indeed many were actually my staff at the time.
1. Work hard, always get in on time, produce work to dealines
2. Be open with suggestions on how to improve things, write them all down and tell your line manager - if you see the big boss in the corridor stop him and talk to him or ask if you can have a 10 minute meeting with him to talk about a few ideas you have - if you can pull this one off many senior managers will see how keen you are and might open some doors for you
3. Tell your boss that you're not being stretched enough and you feel your talents are being wasted on mundane tasks, you need to be challenged!
4. Volunteer or express your interest in any major projects the company has on, if you never tell anyone you'll never move on
5. Apply for every internal job that offers an advancement, even if you feel you're not qualified. You probably won't get shortlisted for most of them but if you're known to be reliable, produce good work, and keen, the interview practice will be good for you. If you get offered a promotion but it's not in your chosen field then take it - aprt from broadening your skills you can still apply for other jobs as they arise
5. Be patient. One chap that worked for me did pretty much what I've said here and working through 4/5 jobs at the same company he became a senior manager in less than 10 years, and quadrupled his salary as well - all in less than 10 years!
Finally, the improving X-cart scenario would be a good starter suggestion, I'm sure you could write up a 10 point plan of action to improve it. I wouldn't recommend suggesting moving to a different cart at this point as it may rock the boat too much, you'd be better off by showing you can improve and fix an existing system, rather than just replace with an off the shelf part that won't really demonstrate your true skills.
Finally, if it's a multi-million pound company, and you want to suggest a new cart system, offer up at least 3 alternatives and draw up a list of benefits for each one - the final decision will be out of your hands, but this would show initiative.
Although I agree with the advice given so far I'd be careful about offering too many suggestions too soon. Try to fully understand what's going on at this company and in their industry before jumping to any conclusions about the way things should be done.
I understand that you want to move ahead quickly but without the degree/certification or past work product to demonstrate your expertise you're stuck proving yourself at this company...