November 29, 2019

Career Story: Nick Fallows

Hi, my name is Nick. I’m nearly 39 years old, I’m a husband, a father, a step-father, a rugby fan (some would say obsessive), a veteran, and last year I achieved something that I always thought was a pipe dream; I became a Software Developer. The route I took to achieve this dream, wasn’t the most traditional way someone would take to become a Software Developer, but there is, as they say, more than one way to eat a Jaffa Cake (personally I eat the around the edge first, then eat the middle in one go) and this my story.

Early life

I was born in early 1981, in a place called Isleworth in West London to a Welsh mother and a father from, ironically, Stoke-on-Trent (this will become clear later). Just before I turned 9, we moved to a little town in the Valleys of South Wales called Maesteg.

In April 1998, just after my 17th Birthday, I left home and joined the British Royal Navy as RADAR operator. Joining the military gave me many values to live by, which I held me in good stead and continue to do so. These are: time keeping, respect, pride in my work, teamwork.

Beating the Obstacles

I enjoyed my years in the military, but in 2010, I took the brave leap to leave the only life I had known for 12 years, in the hope of starting a career in the IT sector. Unfortunately, a month after entering my 12-month notice period, I ruptured my Anterior Cruciate Ligament in my left knee and was unable to partake in any courses that would allow me to transition into the IT sector.

When I left the Royal Navy, I started working for one of the largest retailers in the UK. Whilst I was there, I started a 6-year long distance learning degree in Applied Computing.

In 2016, however, I was struggling to complete my course work as I had no one to bounce ideas off and get the right guidance. I started looking for a new job; this was going to be critical because if I couldn’t get a job in the IT sector, I was going to finish the modules I was currently doing and not complete the final 2 years of the course. In March of that year, everything changed.

First Steps in the IT Sector

March 2016, I was given an opportunity to interview with a Software Company based in Stoke-on-Trent, Galleria RTS. This is something that I will always be grateful for, I remember being nervous but determined. The company took a punt on me as I had no experience, but I was keen and eager to learn. The role wasn’t as a Software Developer, but as a Support Coordinator, but I didn’t care, I was working in the IT sector. Within my first 6 months, Galleria RTS was bought by RELEX, and became the Space and Assortment arm of the company.

I felt I progressed well within my role, gaining the respect of my peers and supervisors alike. I felt trusted in my role, which is not something I had felt since I had left the Royal Navy. I felt I had built a rapport with our customers, as my role involved me liaising between the customers and development teams, ensuring that tickets that were raised regarding the software we developed, were dealt with in a timely manner and customers were kept informed of the progress.

During this time, I also persevered with my degree, and in 2018 I achieved something that 2 years prior I would never have thought I could have done; I obtained a First-Class Honours degree in Applied Computing. The dissertation/thesis for my course was to create a piece of software, from concept to implementation, which I decided along with key stake holders within the company, was to redesign the antiquated Release Management System that the company used to allow our customers to download the software we supplied. The new system that I designed for my project, is now actually in use. This, again, is something that makes me proud.

Life as a Software Developer

In September 2018, I was given the opportunity to move over to Software Development, initially on a part time basis, and in January this year, I became a fulltime Software developer and achieved my dream.

I previously mentioned that I had values that I continue to live by, and these apply to my current role too. I take pride in all that I do, and even get a little excited when things that I’m trying to do actually work. I also like to think that I’m a good team member, by helping others wherever I can. My own personal values, I believe, also align with RELEX’s own values. I look at what they mean to me – I am having fun doing the job that I have always wanted to do; I try not to do anything stupid in my work by thinking things through; I can see the value that the work that I’m providing; I try to think about the work I do in a holistic way. This ensures that what I’m doing benefits not just the company but our customers. Lastly, there are many people in my company that I consider friends, and what could be better than working with your friends.

No matter what the future holds, whether it is with RELEX (hopefully) or with another company, I will be forever grateful to the people who took a punt on me 3 years ago as that allowed me to achieve my pipe dream, and of course my wife who supported me through this journey. There are many things that have I done in my life to date that I am proud of. I’m proud of my children for all they have achieved so far, I am proud to have served my country with distinction, I am proud that I have achieved a degree, and I am proud to call myself a RELEXian.

Nick started his RELEX journey in March 2016, and has held roles within both Support and Development, having previously served within the British Military. He works through issues and problems found with the Space and Assortment on premise solutions. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching TV, movies and most sports, and he also enjoys listening to audiobooks.

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