Ross Keely Software Development Apprentice
‘The culture at Sky is very open, friendly, and opportunistic.’
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship at Sky? (Why this particular programme and company?)
Sky’s software development apprentice program is nicely structured and provided a coding bootcamp to learn the foundations of software development while applying it to real world projects. It’s streamlined to prepare you from apprenticeship to an experienced developer role.
The choice to join Sky was an easy one. Being a household name and a globally recognised leader in the media and entertainment industry meant there would be a vast array of teams to join, areas to work in, and experienced colleagues to learn from and network with.
How did you find out about your apprenticeship?
I found Sky through a LinkedIn job search.
What does your role involve? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My role consists of working on assigned task for specific product features and writing code for it. On a day-to-day, I review a backlog of tasks that have been prioritised for a 2-week sprint. I meet with my team daily to report what I worked on, what I will work on for the day, and share any blockers. Afterwards, I work on my assigned tasks and collaborate with my peers to develop and test new features, improve existing ones, fix bugs, and review code worked on by others.
What’s the culture like at Sky? How are you supported?
The culture at Sky is very open, friendly, and opportunistic. I’m supported through my mentors, my apprenticeship program where I gain real-world experience, and my teammates and peers where we collaborate and bounce ideas together.
Adjusting to working life can be challenging, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
A challenge I faced initially was time management. I would get excited about solving a problem but realize that I had spent half my day on one thing. To avoid this from happening, I set a specific amount of time to troubleshoot, and if I don’t resolve it by then, I reach out for help and move on to the next task. This helps save time as it can be a silly small typo causing an error and having a second pair of eyes is invaluable. It’s a learning process — you won’t solve every problem on your own.
Who is your learning training provider and what does the learning for your qualification consist of?
I’m learning through Multiverse, and the learning consists of a full-stack development bootcamp course. It consists of front end, backend, databases, unit testing, and CI/CD.
What are the most important transferable skill you use in your role? (Please name at least three).
How can students begin developing this skill in their school subjects? Is it specific to certain subjects or can it be developed across the curriculum?
School subjects like Math and computer science are a great factor in software development. Although it’s not completely necessary to get a degree within these fields, it helps understand how to write good algorithms.
English or any subject where you work with others or that helps you improve how you communicate ideas to others either verbally or through text.
What can young people do outside of school/college to develop this skill?
A lot of resources are available online to learn how to code. It’s ultimately up to your curiosity to take it further. I recommend using freecodecamp.org which covers a rich amount of coding content and is what I used to start learning.
What was the application process like?
The application process was about 3 months long and very well streamlined. It took a wholistic approach to see where your skills are in various areas, including basic coding knowledge (loops and simple algorithms), communication, and collaboration.
How has this apprenticeship helped your career – career goals?
Sky’s apprenticeship has helped tremendously with my career. I did not have a clear path before joining. I actually worked at a food processing factory before I made my way into coding. I’m grateful for Sky accepting me into the program despite my background being very different, and my university degree being biology. I’ve now found a passion for coding and have real work experience where I can learn and excel in my career journey towards software development.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement is working on an internal shadowing app that will allow Sky employees to schedule join shadowing sessions hosted by their peers. I’m excited to see how the project grows as it becomes more widely used in the company.
What advice would you give to someone applying for or considering this apprenticeship?
Stay curious, set boundaries to better manage time, and ask questions! It will fuel your learning and career ambitions. Sky is a great opportunity to get started with foundational skills into real-work experience.