Meet Frances, Software Engineering Academy
Frances wanted to be a vet and studied plenty of science subjects throughout school; but Software Engineering took her eye, especially after chatting to some of the Sky developers at a careers fair.
When I was growing up I actually wanted to be a vet, so I did a lot of science-y subjects at school – I studied Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at A-Level.
Over the two years I realised that being a vet wasn’t for me. I instead focused on my passion for video games and applied to the Computer Science course at Newcastle University. While at university, I developed more of an interest in Software Engineering rather than gaming.
There was a careers fair at my university and as I was going around all the stands I noticed that the team at Sky seemed genuinely enthusiastic about their roles and working at Sky. I spoke to some developers who had been through the graduate scheme and I was able to ask them further questions on it and it prompted me to apply.
I was successful and am now in my development job on the Software Engineering Academy and I’ve really been enjoying it!
One of the most interesting events that I’ve taken part in involved showing some school students around Sky Studios and developing a phone app with them. It was pretty fun and exciting because you could see they were amazed by some of the things they were doing, like they thought that building something like that would be beyond them. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s true!
Initially I had visions of being sat in a dark basement all day tapping away at a keyboard, with no one ever seeing you, but that’s not true at all. It’s initially a bit scary here, just because it’s so big! There are so many thousands of people working here. It can be a bit intimidating just wandering in to a brand new building with all these people with all of their computers doing this that and the other, but everyone I’ve spoken to has been really friendly. No one thinks any less of you if you ask a question that seems silly or obvious. I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome. At the moment I’m working on Now TV (Sky’s subscription-based streaming service), which is really exciting and uses lots of innovative bits of technology.
I’ve also gained confidence in my abilities. Work I’m doing is being used by real customers - I know that if what I was developing wasn’t up to scratch, it wouldn’t have made it to that stage. At university I knew I could do what was asked of me, but there was a lot of self-doubt, especially when starting new topics and concepts.
One thing I would say is take every opportunity you can get. You can sit there and do your day job – the bare minimum – but there’s so much else going on here. Events, talks, days out. keep pushing yourself, put yourself out there because no one else will do it for you. We’re all there to help each other out if we need it.
One of my first projects was to create an iPad app to be taken out to the university recruitment days. That was really nice, because I’d been in that position myself so could think back to what students would like and need. The Starting Out team are now using it for a second year, collecting applicant’s details.
There were five of us new graduates working on it and we did all of the developmental testing and analysis so seeing out on-campus and in use was really rewarding.
On a daily basis though, I’ve been involved with several on-going projects and am learning new languages, skills, and techniques every day. I’m keen to try more and more projects and see more of what Sky has to offer, as the work is far more varied than I expected.
My advice to potential candidates is to not wait until summer to start looking for jobs. The sooner you get to know which opportunities are available, the sooner you’ll be able to figure out which ones are best for you, and get applying!