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Friday, April 8, 2016

Hear from Dale about how attending our Explore Sky event helped him secure a role on Sky's Software Engineering Academy!

My journey into Sky’s Software Engineering Academy

It all started when I received an email from my university promoting Explore Sky – a tech insight day, hosted by Sky at their headquarters in Osterley. An application process was required just for attending, which included a telephone interview. Initially, I thought this was rather strange just for attending an event, but I later realized that this was very helpful – more on this later!

Prior to attending the event, I imagined Sky being a huge corporate company, where everyone wears a suit and spends all day at their desk. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as I walked on campus, I immediately picked up on a startup-like culture. The buildings were stunning, with some of them even having their own colour themes, like NOW TV.

The event started with a welcome talk from both TARGETjobs Events and Sky – we were given the plan for the day. Next, Colin McQuade, a director at Sky, gave a talk about what it’s like working at Sky. I was intrigued to learn that the technology used within each development team for a Sky service is not limited to a select few – instead, it comes down to what is best suited for purpose.

After networking, we were split up into the areas we were interested in – for me, this was Software Engineering. Conrad Langworthy, Head of Software Engineering Academy, spoke about the Software Engineering Academy in more detail, as well as bringing along some of the current graduates to give us an insight of how the Academy is from their perspective.

Finally, we all got back together and took part in a hackathon. Split up into around 5 teams, we were tasked to design a Sky branded mobile app, aimed at showcasing TV content. Each team had a scrum master, designers, developers and testers. Working together was great, and gave a real insight into what it would be like working there. To simulate working conditions, small groups of people were taken away from the team for a tour around the campus. The hackathon finished with presentations, showing what we managed to achieve.

By the time the event finished, I had fallen in love with Sky. I really wanted to get involved. I started filling out my application a few days later, and realized most of the questions that were being asked were similar in some way to what were asked in the application to attend Explore Sky, and all of the application tips discussed at the event really helped to give me confidence in my answers.

I heard back shortly after confirming that I had reached the next stage, which is an unattended coding test. The test involved writing a piece of software to solve a given problem. It’s designed to be challenging, but at the same time being relaxed. Instead of being pressured into solving the problem within a few hours, the test is given over a few days. I submitted my solution feeling quite confident that I had managed to solve the problem.

Next, I heard back saying I had reached the next stage – a telephone interview. The interview was very relaxed, and followed a similar structure to that of the interview conducted by TARGETjobs Events – do you see a pattern emerging here? The interview lasted roughly 30 minutes and I finished feeling confident, but still wondered if I had answered the questions the best I could.

Fortunately, I received an email saying I got through to the final stage, an assessment centre. The name definitely sounds worse than it is! The day was so relaxed – it even took place in the same room I was in at the Explore Sky event, so I was comfortable.

The following week, I received the good news that I had been accepted into the Academy. I start in June, and I can’t wait!

For anyone thinking of joining the Academy, here are my top 5 tips:

1.      I highly suggest that you attend Explore Sky! I honestly believe that I got into the Academy because of all the hints and tips that I was given throughout the event. Especially the application process of the event, it made me feel much more confident when applying for the Academy.
2.      While studying, volunteer at a startup. I spent a few hours a week helping a new tech company get their software up and running. You will gain so much experience of what it’s like writing software for the real world, and you’ll also have something great to put on your CV. For me, it also gave me something to talk about in my application process.
3.      Make sure you know some background on Sky – the more, the better. Find out about what Sky are planning on doing in the future, it will give you great topics of conversation when it comes to speaking with recruiters.
4.      Don’t be shy – both at the Explore Sky event and on the assessment centre. Everyone there is in the same position as you, has the same interests and are there to network. If you get the chance to speak with current graduates at Sky, do it! It’s great to talk to someone who has been through the same journey you are about to go through.
5.      Finally, just be yourself. If you have an interest in technology, you will love Sky. The Explore Sky event and even the assessment centre are both packed full of fun activities that a lover of tech will enjoy.

If you're interested in a career in technology at Sky pre-register here to be the first to find out about our next event http://targetjobsevents.co.uk/explore-sky/pre-register