Google Project Katalyst: Michael & Zaid’s Journeys

21 April 2023

Google Project Katalyst: Michael & Zaid’s Journeys

Last year Netpremacy and other leading partners in the UK teamed up with Generation Leader and the Google Project Katalyst Programme to offer career opportunities to talented young people who may be under-represented within the tech space. Since embarking on the programme, Netpremacy has been lucky enough to have two fantastic new starters, Michael and Zaid, join our team through the project; they are now establishing career paths within the SaaS and Cloud Engineering teams at Netpremacy. We’ve caught up with them a few months in to learn more about their journeys with the Katalyst programme and how they have settled into their roles at Netpremacy.

First, what is Project Katalyst, and how did it come to life?

In 2021, it became apparent that there was a common theme running across the tech industry surrounding the struggle to attract, hire and retain talent. This was only highlighted by increased demand within the Google Cloud space identified by many Google Partners.

Teams at Google recognised there was potential to solve this issue. They set out to help grow the pool of available skilled individuals locally whilst also tapping into underrepresented groups, and this is where Project Katalyst was born.

With the help of the leading charity Generation Leader, Google launched Project Katalyst in the summer of 2022. The 12-week programme is designed to cover a range of technical and soft skills topics.

Throughout the course, participants complete their Google Cloud Digital Leader Certification, both Michael and Zaid are working towards professional-level Google certifications with a plan to complete these within the first six months of employment in their new roles.

What happened next?

After the 12 weeks of training is complete, this is where partners such as Netpremacy come in. Partners like ourselves were invited alongside Katalyst participants to join meet-and-greet days hosted at Google. These sessions were highly insightful for all parties, giving partners a chance to share with participants more about their business whilst giving participants the opportunity to engage in valuable conversations with potential future employers.

Fraja Hodges, Tom Anderson and Guy Ellis attended the first of its kind ‘Katalyst launch day’. Guy Ellis, Professional Services Director, explained, “Meeting the wide range of Katalyst candidates for the first time was invaluable; learners in the programme had a wide variety of backgrounds from school leavers through to qualified electricians – all with valuable transferable skills. Pairing the knowledge and attributes of these individuals with their personal aims and objectives allowed us to match our open vacancies to the programme graduates in a unique manner. Ultimately, the day allowed us to meet with our now-new colleagues, Michael and Zaid; we were immediately impressed with their knowledge and presence. After completing a more formal interview process, we were delighted to offer them both positions.”

Just a short time later, Michael joined our Engineering team as a Junior GCP Engineer and Zaid, our SaaS team, as a Technical Specialist. Since joining Netpremacy, they have both thrived in their new roles. We caught up with them to learn more about their journey from their perspective!

Firstly, how did you guys find out about Project Katalyst?

Zaid: I only heard of it by chance, I had just finished my degree in computer science and was looking for employment; as I was job hunting, I stumbled across Generation and was drawn to the Google Cloud Platform Engineering Program.

Michael: I heard about it from my work coach at the job centre when I was still looking for a job. After being told about the Katalyst programme, I applied as soon as possible because I was intrigued by Google Cloud since I had no prior knowledge about it.

When you both joined the Katalyst project, did you have a specific goal or job role in mind you were looking to achieve?

Zaid: As I was new to the concept of the programme and was aware I would be learning about GCP, the goal in mind was to always work within that field.

Michael: After doing my research about Google Cloud, I read about the different roles within the industry and was immediately interested in the GCP Engineer Role since it involved a combination of development, implementation, coding and testing.

After 12 weeks on the programme, what do you feel was your biggest outcome or achievement?

Zaid: The biggest outcome of the Katalyst programme for me is working for Netpremacy, my biggest achievement was passing the Cloud Digital Leader exam within a week of being introduced to the learning material.

Michael: I’d say the biggest outcome of the Katalyst Programme for me was the employment opportunities and the knowledge of various things such as Linux, Google Cloud and Python. I was also able to get my Google Cloud Digital Leader certification.

So now you’re a few months in, how are you finding your roles at Netpremacy?

Zaid: I really enjoy working at Netpremacy, I am currently working within the SaaS department, focusing on data and mail migrations.

Michael: It’s been a few months since I joined Netpremacy, and it’s been great so far. I’ve learned much more about my responsibilities as a Google Cloud Engineer and gained more knowledge on things I never knew before, such as Terraform.

You’re both working across different departments; what type of projects have you been involved in since joining Netpremacy?

Zaid: I am currently working on three projects taking care of account conflicts, data migration, admin console training, technical documentation, tooling configuration, shared drive creation and App Authentication.

Michael: I am part of an engineering team that helps deliver cloud solutions to various companies, and my role consists of a lot of development, implementation, coding and testing. I recently just started working on my first large project since joining Netpremacy, working on a Base Landing Zone for a customer.

Do you feel you have built on the skills learnt through the Katalyst programme working with Netpremacy?

Zaid: As this is a slightly different role to the Katalyst programme, I would say the skills I have learnt from Netpremacy have enriched my understanding and ability to undertake the projects I am currently working on. I must give credit to the Head of SaaS, Kevin Jordan and the team, Chris, Ben & Jack, for supporting me as I gain new skills.

Michael: I feel like I have most definitely refined the skills I gained from the Katalyst Programme since joining Netpremacy, and there’s still a lot more to learn, which I’m looking forward to.

Where do you hope to be in a year’s time?

Zaid: I hope to be working on many more projects at Netpremacy while growing within the organisation.

Michael: In a year, I hope to have completed my Google Associate Certification, which I’m working towards and many more certifications. I also want to be involved in many more projects in the future, possibly even leading them.

Do you have any other comments on your journey with the Katalyst Programme?

Zaid: I’d just like to thank the Head of Partner Engineering, Richard Regan, and the team behind the scenes at Google and Generation for putting the Katalyst programme together.

Michael: For anyone wanting to start a career in Google Cloud, I really believe participating in the Google Katalyst programme is the best way to do it.

We’re delighted to have Michael and Zaid on board and to have been a part of the launch of Project Katalyst; we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the programme and looking forward to watching Michael and Zaid’s careers develop at Netpremacy.