Working on the Sky plus homepage was pretty exciting but that’s not all Isla enjoys about being a Product Analyst.
- Name: Isla
- Job title: Product Analyst
- What area of Sky Technology/PDD do you work in? Special Projects
- How did you get to where you are now? I met a Director from PDD (Neil Garratt) at my master’s thesis presentation day. He said there were lots of ‘fun things’ going on at Sky, and asked if I’d like to get involved. So a few months later, I started in a concept development role, and worked in a small project team that came up with the new Sky+ homepage on the Sky+ box. Then I moved with several other colleagues to this project, and switched to a Product role.
- Describe a typical day…? It really depends on what phase we’re in. But at different moments in time we might working with UX to define a new feature, or talking to different departments from around the business (Sky Movies, Sky sports, Marketing etc) to find out what their requirements are, briefing insight on some research we need. Then once we have defined a feature, we will brief the development teams and work with them to make sure features are built correctly, solving problems as we go. So it’s quite varied.
- What are the technologies you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? My experience so far has been working with the set top box mainly. While I don’t work on the box directly, my role requires an understanding of how all sorts of supporting systems work to get the right information to the box at the right time, and what that means for the user experience.
- Is there any technology that you’ve worked on at Sky that you’re particularly proud of? I think the new Sky+ homepage was pretty exciting. Just think of the number of households who look at it every day! Plus one of the main aims was to drive connections and increase usage of VOD, and our homepage has had a significant impact on. The power of product!
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? Pretty good really. Its only on very rare occasions that I need to stay late or work at home. And I’m pretty strict with keeping my work and personal phones separate, and not checking emails outside of work.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The variety of people I get to work with on a daily basis, and my team.
- Would you recommend Sky to other females in this industry? Mostly yes. I’ve enjoyed my time at Sky so far and have never felt I’ve been treated any differently because I’m a woman – this has been a great place to have started my career. Saying that, it is definitely an area that is still very much male dominated and while that is the case, things will have a more male-centric culture and approach to things. I studied engineering and have two brothers, so I am fairly comfortable holding my own in meeting conversations or joining the banter in the pub, but I know lots of other women who are less confident in this.
- Are there any misconceptions that people have about doing your role? Well for starters, lots of people don’t necessarily know what being a ‘Product’ person is. Also, unlike other very technical roles where you need a deep understanding to join in the conversation, the product or customer experience is something everyone can have an opinion (especially when experience is something we all do all the time like watch TV). So your energy is often on managing different opinions from different angles in order to decipher the ‘best’ option.
- How have you seen the roles of women in the tech/product industry evolve over your career? I’m only 2 ½ years in, so it’s all still fairly new. Saying that, I am very heartened and encouraged by the number of initiatives encouraging women in tech (e.g Stemettes), the emergence of various role models (Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer) and the coverage this issue is now getting in the media (eg Martha Lane Fox’s Dimbleby Lecture).
- What would be your advice to other females who want to do what you’re doing? Don’t be put off – it’s not as geeky and boring as you might think. Also, digital/tech is only going to keep growing over the coming generations as it becomes embedded into every element of society and daily life. So unless you want the boys to be in charge of all of this, get on board!
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I play the saxophone and sing, and would love to learn the guitar
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is the variety. I like not knowing what type of issue I will be dealing with..”
- Name: Amy Andrews
- Job title: Customer Service Advisor
- What area of Sky do you work in? Technical- TV, Talk and Broadband, Sky ID, Sky Go.
- How did you get to where you are now? I started out at Sky doing just TV technical and billing, over the years have been up-skilled in different areas and taken a few different ‘niche’ calls.
- Describe a typical day… Before the beginning of a shift I always like to check the intranet site to see any news about the business, I check my emails and the technical status pages to make sure I am up to date on any live issues. I open up the various systems I will be using on my calls, there are a few different ones needed. Once I start taking calls the day tends to go in a bit of a blur, you can easily get immersed in your troubleshooting and having a chat with a customer. I get two 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch- so the day gets broken up quite nicely.
- What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? The area I specialise in is called Help All, the role basically means I can help customers on most technical enquiries, in particular the online aspects of Sky; Email, Sky IDs, Sky Go, and all the other various Apps Sky provides. This is quite a small department so it can be challenging at times, such as when there is a big sporting event on. It also requires that you keep yourself up to date with all the changes Sky makes to its products, so you have all the correct info your customer needs.
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? When I first started working at Sky I was on a fixed shift working late shifts and weekends. It was quite difficult to manage my life outside of Sky as I had to book holidays to have a normal weekend off. Through feedback from advisors Sky Sheffield changed our shifts. We now work a 6 week rotational shift pattern, including a mixture of earlies, lates and weekends. This has significantly improved the way I can balance my life and work. I can still see friends and family some weekends, but I am also here for Sky’s customers when needed.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The thing I enjoy most about my job is the variety. I like not knowing what type of issue I will be dealing with, from one call to another, this way it’s never boring. I’m glad Sky gives their advisors opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn about different areas of the business.
- What would be your advice to someone who’d want to do what you’re doing? You need to be flexible in a business that is constantly changing and getting new products. You need to be willing to learn something new, enthusiastic and good at problem solving. One of the most important things is to be good at listening, and showing empathy.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I once had a customer enquire if Sky provided 3D glasses for cats! (Unfortunately we don’t).
Our people were given the chance star in the Sky 1 HD hit comedy Yonderland.
Back in November,we gave our people the chance to enter a unique competition to take part in an episode of Yonderland. Thirteen people were picked by the production team and then headed down to Yonderland (aka Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire) in December for a day of filming.
Tim told us 'I've been watching series two and am anxiously waiting to see my ugly mug in episode six on Monday night. It was a great day in Elstree last year. The crew were really welcoming and all of us Sky people kept each other entertained while we waited for our scenes to be shot. Should be a funny episode!"
Nila added: "This was such an amazing day and experience! I was lucky enough to be on set early and got to ask the production and set design team lots of questions and they could not have been more friendly. I learnt so much and loved all the behind the scenes stuff! The cast were also friendly and really funny to watch and they have to do the scene over and over for different angles. Continuity means a whole new thing to me now! One of my best days of the year- thanks to Sky and the Yonderland team for inviting us!"
"I am very proud to say that I also work for a department that understands how important it is not to neglect your family and personal life."
- Name: Maria
- Job title: Head of Planning for Set Top Box
- What area of Sky Technology/PDD do you work in? PDD- Software Delivery
- How did you get to where you are now? After working for 8 years in the Games Industry, I landed a job at Sky as Delivery Manager for Mobile apps. A year and a half later, I moved into my current position.
- Describe a typical day? Every day starts with strong coffee. First thing to do is to check my calendar as that will determine how I manage my workload. There are days that I simply spend putting planning options together and calling out risks, and there are days that I have to meet with various teams to understand their priorities and the status of their progress. Catching up on emails in between is always a fun task!
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I work for a department that delivers software innovation to millions of customers twice a year. By default this can be quite challenging and time consuming. But I am very proud to say that I also work for a department that understands how important it is not to neglect your family and personal life, and as such I am managing well so far. Most of the times anyway.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Whilst, managing efforts and plans across the business can be challenging, it is also be very rewarding. I get involved in discussions about strategy and future development plans quite early in the process and it’s quite inspiring to see that we are not short of great ideas when it comes to enriching our customers’ viewing experience.
- Would you recommend Sky to other females in this industry? Without a hesitation, yes. There are thousands of articles out there about equal opportunities for men and women when it comes to salary. And that should not be negotiated. But there is also another element that women feel very strong when it comes to work and that is, culture. The people at Sky is what makes this company stand well and above other media companies out there. You will meet and work with people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. You spend half of your day with these people and it’s important that you feel there is a safety net, a support net from your team. You will find this at Sky.
- Are there any misconceptions that people have about doing your role? I think any role that involves technology tends to be looked at a more apprehensive way. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I have often found that it’s the personality, sheer determination and commitment that can take you to the next level. My role is to put Sky’s product roadmap in a software planning mode, taking into account a number of dependencies. A lot of them are very technical but guess what? I am surrounded by technical people and I place my trust in them to enable me to do my job successfully. And it works!
- How have you seen the roles of women in the tech/product industry evolve over your career? There is definitely a strong current over the past years and it has definitely helped to see companies appointing women as CEOs or in more senior management positions. More women are pursuing technical degrees these days but the companies need to do more in this area in order to attract more female applicants.
- What would be your advice to other females who want to do what you’re doing? Don’t be afraid to do your background check and ask to find out more about the role than just what you read on the job spec. Seek further information about the function, the team and the culture. It is important you understand your surroundings and the principles this team is based on. Ask yourself: can I see myself in this environment and in this role? Visualise yourself as the Head of Software Planning and then go and become one.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? The world of jazz music has missed out to a first class trumpet player. Oh well… :)
We’re opening our doors this September to show you what’s it’s really like to work in one of our contact centres.
Where? Uddingston, Livingston, Dunfermline & Newcastle
When? Friday 4th September – 10am – 6pm and Saturday 5th September – 10am – 5pm
At Sky, we've been making entertainment better for over 25 years.
Delivering Sky’s mix of TV that people love, using pioneering technology, combined with award-winning service and superfast broadband is a genuine team effort. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for enthusiastic and talented people to come work for us. And what better way to find the right people than to open up our doors and show them what makes us such a great company to work for?
On Friday 4th September from 10:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday 5th September starting at 10:00am and finishing at 5:00pm, we’re hosting Open Day events at our contact centres in Uddingston, Livingston, Dunfermline and Newcastle.
This is a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at what we do. You will have the chance to meet some of the fantastic people behind Sky, learn more about our training and career opportunities and see what makes every place is unique and exciting. Most important, it’s a chance for us to get to know you over an informal chat and some refreshments.
Like what you see?
We have exciting opportunities for Sales Advisors and can’t wait to tell you about them all. We’re looking for friendly individuals who are committed to delivering excellent service. If you’ve got the right attitude, we’ll give you the training you need to succeed.
What’s more, if you join us, you’ll be entitled to a great salary, terrific benefits like, free Sky TV & broadband, sales incentives throughout the year, private healthcare and multiple discounts from retailers.
So come be our guest this September and learn what your future could be like at Sky.
Open Day locations:
Sky, building no.4
To apply for one of our Sales Advisor roles, click on the relevant link below:
Eleven of our Customer Service Group graduates went for drinks and dinner with their placement managers, and we joined by Chris Stylianou, Managing Director, Customer Service Group, who presented their certificates.
Chris Stylianou told us, "It was a real pleasure to be invited along to hand out the graduation certificates to some of our very best young talent - Very well done to all of them. It also made me feel incredibly proud that we have managed to retain all of our graduates and give them jobs at Sky where, hopefully, they can progress their careers for a very long time.”
What is Sky Academy Starting Out?
Sky Academy Starting Out gives over 1,000 young people a year the chance to experience real work at Sky through our work experience, placement, apprenticeship and graduation opportunities. Our Graduate roles receive in excess of 5,000 applications and over 100 are offered permanent roles each year.
"It has been a great journey"
David one of our graduates said: "The Graduate scheme in general has been a great journey and seen my confidence and experience grow in a number of ways. On joining the scheme I was an advisor in Sky Sheffield with some experience of management through the CEL development panel, but in two years I have grown to feel confident and comfortable (albeit still learning) in a CEM position in Scotland. The scheme has seen me engage with senior stakeholders, including directors, on a daily basis and increased my profile incredibly. I look forward to the next stage of my journey, wherever that will take me, with excitement and optimism. "
To read more about our available graduate opportunities, check out the link above.
"I specialise in database management, predominantly the database that controls all the services you see on your Sky Set-Top Box."
- Name: Sally
- Job title: Service Integration Team Leader
- What area of Sky do you work in? Broadcast Services Operations – Broadcast Platforms
- How did you get to where you are now? Studied Broadcast Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University and was hired by Sky as a result. I’ve worked as a Digital Support Engineer, Platform Integration Engineer, SI Engineer, and SI Senior Engineer, before my current role where I lead the SI Engineers within Service Integration.
- Describe a typical day… ? Happily, no two days are ever the same, but it usually starts with checking and responding to any emails that came in overnight, and reviewing the incident reports from our Ops Monitoring teams. Next up is going over the changes that the team are planning for the day and on other days the ones that are going through our formal Change process – something I help run on the Broadcast side of things. Then if there are any meetings, prepping for those, otherwise it’s a combination of Ops management, team management and liaising with my counterparts in Ops Monitoring and Support to increase awareness about the changes our team need to carry out. There also a significant amount of technical consultation with Projects and Programmes in Broadcast to ensure that Operations can support new functionality and keep the Sky satellite, VOD and OTT platforms running as smoothly as possible for our customers; all the while improving those platforms with new products & features.
- What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? I specialise in database management, predominantly the database that controls all the services you see on your Sky Set-Top Box, so fairly important. We are constantly changing the data based on business needs so we need to make sure our changes don’t upset the 11+ million customers that see that data.
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I work normal office hours so work/life balance is fairly easy in some respects, but with Sky having things like the post room and the new Fitness centre on-site, that makes life a little bit easier, being able to get things done during the day which sometimes would have to wait till a weekend.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? While our remit remains the same – to perform change without risk. The way we carry that out our tasks is constantly changing and nothing stays the same; it keeps you on your toes!
- What would be your advice to someone who’d want to do what you’re doing? You need to have a fairly analytical mind and be able to comprehend technical ideas. Good communication skills are essential as being able to translate those technical concepts to a range of audiences with differing knowledge is key.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? Most people who meet me think I’m American or Canadian, but I am in fact British, albeit via Bermuda! And no the Bermuda triangle doesn’t exist… to my knowledge!
Rob's currently taking part in Sky's Ruby bootcamp. Hear about his experience so far...
- Name: Rob
- Job title: Senior Developer
- What area of Sky Technology do you work in? Ruby Bootcamp
- How did you get to where you are now? I attended a #LeedsTechHub meetup, liked what I saw and applied.
- Describe a typical day… Working through the course reading, exercises and videos. We generally have hangout meetings in the morning with tutors to discuss the exercises that people have been working on and to share solutions. We also have workgroups where we all work on one specific topic using floobits to share editors.
- What are the technologies you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? At the moment it’s, unsurprisingly, Ruby. Although I have a background in Java and Groovy.
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I’m a bit of a morning person so prefer to come in early and leave early, it’s nice to have the flexibility to be able to do this. It also avoids traveling during the height of rush hour.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? It’s nice to be given the space to learn something new with the support of people who really understand the subject.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I’ve completed the Fred Whitton cycling challenge 3 times.
"Wow" - that’s all I could say...it was at this point when I realised where I was; I was at the heart, the home of Sky.
Sky Sports, Sky News, it’s all based here and to think that Sky is based only 20 minutes from home is initially quite hard to contemplate. I’m not going to lie I did get lost trying to find the entrance, but a quick call to Martha (one of the organisers of the day) sorted that out.
We were treated to a number of guest speakers throughout the day from a wide variety of jobs ranging from, presenters to those covering more technical aspects of production. For example, Isabel, the co-presenter of Sky News’s morning breakfast show, 'Sunrise' came in to tell us about her journey and participated in a Q&A session. This was very useful, not only for aspiring journalists but also for those looking to follow to their dream career path at Sky.
I felt that Isabel epitomised the message of the day; show your enthusiasm for your desired career and to take any opportunity that presents itself to you. Her amusing anecdote regarding her journey from presenting weather in an unforgiving and torrential downpour, showed me how, if I want to get where I want to go, I will have to work hard and work my way up. As gloomy as that may sound to some, the day presented us with ways in which we could help ourselves. One way was through speed networking, which is about meeting staff and those on apprenticeship schemes to give us an understanding about what employers and Sky are looking for.
When the day came to an end, I was glad that I had participated; not only because of the skills I have gained, but also the insight the day has given me into my potential future career and Sky itself.
The whole complex has a campus-like feel that oozes warmth and friendliness with people eating lunch together and others even doing yoga in the outside area. We met others who were participating in the event through friendly games carried out throughout the day. Also the staff were helpful and attentive. The whole experience was beneficial and worthwhile; one that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking at a career in journalism or any aspect in media itself (as the focus was not all on journalism).
This may have been my first experience of a working environment, but it has most definitely strengthened my ambition to follow a career in media.
Pair programming, creative thinking, team lunches and the school run, are all part of Gordon's day as a Senior Developer.
- Name: Gordon
- Job title: Senior Developer
- What area of Sky Technology do you work in? Software Development - Billing & Payments
- How did you get to where you are now? I am a new starter at Sky. I attended a Technology evening in Leeds and loved what I saw, so applied for an interview.
- Describe a typical day… Prior to 09:30 I clean up outstanding tasks from the previous day, deal with general admin, and prepare for the coming day. At 09:30 the team has a quick stand-up to discuss progress on in-flight tasks. This is followed by pair programming; working with a partner to design, code, and test new features. As the team is very sociable, we often eat lunch together. In the afternoon there’s more pair programming.
- Is there any technology that you’ve worked on at Sky that you’re particularly proud of? I’ve only been with Sky for a couple of weeks; the thing I am most proud of is the level of trust I’ve been given by my colleagues.
- Do you have any examples of things you’ve worked on that are ‘changing the game’? Some of the things I have been doing are laying the foundation to make more use of cloud-based services. This will help to reduce the amount of effort required to maintain certain systems and technologies.
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I have had an excellent work/life balance, I am able to organise my calendar, freeing me up to do the school run as required. The team are amenable to occasional home working and the technology being used is set up to support this
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Software Development is all about problem solving. Working with my colleagues to improve the end-user experience of our customers is very rewarding.
- Are there any misconceptions that people have about doing your role? Within Sky, there is a real appreciation that software development is a creative process. This is often misunderstood.
- What would be your advice to others who want to do what you’re doing? From an academic perspective I would recommend acquiring a degree in an area of IT. On a personal level, play with technology of all types, be inquisitive and ask questions about how things work. More importantly, find an area of IT that you love to play around with and enjoy what you do.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I have a Doctorate in Biochemistry.