How Subah Khan went from being a fast food worker to software coding

02 Jan 2020

A former fast-food chain worker who discovered an unexpected passion for problem-solving and software coding has finally found his calling after joining EMIS Health in Leeds.

Dad-of-two Subah Khan, 36, has joined the Leeds health tech firm as an apprentice junior developer, tasked with coming up with solutions and codes that will help the business provide state of the art IT services to healthcare providers up and down the country.

But it hasn’t been a straight path for Subah, who has also worked as a door-to-door salesman, an account manager and a recovery truck driver before taking the plunge in a new career.

After just a few weeks, Subah – who has no previous experience in IT – said it’s one of the best decisions he has ever made.

Subah, who lives in Bradford with his wife Binish, said: “After almost 20 years in the workplace I can finally say that I am excited to go into work every morning and look forward to what each day brings.

“When I finished school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and ended up doing all kinds of jobs. At that stage I just wanted to earn money, so I didn’t really care.

“But as I’ve got older, I’ve wanted to get into a career that I’m really passionate about.”

He added: “It sounds cheesy, but I feel euphoric to be at EMIS Health - I’m still at the excited stage. My wife has started talking about retraining too.

“There is so much opportunity out there. It’s unbelievable. I’ve struck lucky with EMIS Health. If there’s anyone who’s fed up with where they are at in their career, then I’d say it’s never too late.”

While Subah has always shown a flair for an Excel spreadsheet, he never made the connection between problem solving and coding until he found himself looking for a new career.

He said: “I’d not really shown any interest in IT or computers when I was younger, so I never considered it as a career.

“When I was working in sales, I used to have to wait for the data team to produce a report for me. One day I just thought I could have a go at doing it myself – so I did. In the end I’d done an Excel spreadsheet and found a formula that meant everyone could do their own.

“When I worked for the skip hire firm I did them a spreadsheet of where all the skips were kept – before, they had been going by memory – and I organised a platform for recovery drivers to share their quotes for jobs.”

Subah applied for EMIS Health’s apprenticeship programme after seeing it advertised online.
Completely new to the tech and healthcare world, Subah found the apprenticeship scheme was a perfect way to retrain but keep his family financially stable.

Subah, who is one of 14 apprentices at EMIS Health, added: “If it wasn’t for the apprenticeship programme, I wouldn’t have been able to retrain, and I’d still be doing the same jobs.

“EMIS Health really has given me a life-changing opportunity”

Subah Khan

Subah, originally from Slough, left school after his GCSEs and started working at McDonalds. After spending some time travelling, he returned to the UK where he worked as a door to door salesman.

Subah applied for the role as a junior developer through Code Nation and trained for three months before joining the team at EMIS Health in Leeds.

He said: “The good thing for me was that they weren’t interested in my technical expertise, they wanted to know if I enjoy problem solving and what made me tick.

“The job challenges me and I feel really rewarded when it goes well.”

Subah Khan

The scheme, in partnership with Code Nation, was launched in April 2019 and currently supports 14 apprentice software developers, including four employees who have moved within the business. Apprentices spend 20% of their time learning new skills and the rest based in the work environment.

Jacqui Summons, Group HR Director, said apprentices are vital to the future of tech firms that continuously develop new software.

She said: “Nationally, apprentice numbers are falling despite the introduction of the levy and there continues to be a lack of understanding of the apprenticeship scheme. At EMIS Group, we are really embracing this way of attracting people from less traditional sources and allowing people like Subah to challenge themselves. In the process, they are to contribute significantly to our future success.”

EMIS Health is hoping to take on more apprentices in 2020, with a view to filling spaces in other areas of the business.

To find out more about job opportunities at EMIS Health go to https://emisgroup.careers.

Subah Khan, EMIS Health