"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.
With a background in Chemistry, Ras soon realised his experience could be used within the Tech space.
- Name: Ras
- Job title: Business Analyst
- What area of Sky Technology do you work in? Online Service – Billing & Payments
- How did you get to where you are now? My background is actually in Chemistry. I got my Masters and PhD from the University of Sheffield, before working for a few years in the chemical industry. I worked my way up to Project Manager and then realised that my skillset could be used in a variety of industries. I joined Sky in 2012 as an Analyst for NOWTV and was involved in the delivery their App on 5 different platforms. I then moved on to the team responsible for Sky’s future technology which unfortunately I can’t reveal to much information about, but there are definitely some exciting things coming for Sky Customers! I joined the Online Service team in March 2015 and am now leading the analysis for the Billing and Payments team.
- Describe a typical day… As the link between the Business and Development team I spend most of my day liaising with stakeholders to make sure I feed the correct requirements to the Dev team. This gives me a broad knowledge of the product and allows me to meet lots of different people.
- What are the technologies you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? I use Confluence to share and document knowledge, JIRA to track user stories and EPICS and Slack to communicate with the wider team.
- Is there any technology that you’ve worked on at Sky that you’re particularly proud of? I really enjoyed working on NOWTV as I was able to get involved from the beginning. We were encouraged to innovate as much as possible to make NOWTV a best in class experience for the user.
- Do you have any examples of things you’ve worked on that are ‘changing the game’? There are always plenty of opportunities at Sky to work at the bleeding edge of technology. Working on the future technologies team was exciting as we were working on something that will be best in class.
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? At Sky I’m able to balance work and a social life very easily. I don’t take work home with me and there is flexibility in working hours if I need to make a personal appointment.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love working with like-minded, fun people. I think Sky definitely attracts a certain quality of person and I’m proud to be a part of that.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I organise secret gigs in unique spaces around Leeds
Hannah’s passionate about technology and proves you don’t have to have a technical background to work and excel in the technology industry.
- Name: Hannah
- Job title: Project Manager
- What area of Sky Technology do you work in? Central Services. My team provide a project and programme management capability delivering cross-functional initiatives across the Technology department.
- How did you get to where you are now? By being passionate about technology and proving that you don’t necessarily have to have a technical background to work and excel in the technology industry.
- Describe a typical day? My days vary depending on the projects/programmes I am working on, but without doubt there will be multiple meetings, video conferences, catch ups with graduates and sometimes presentations to senior staff. No day is ever the same!
- What are the technologies you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? As a Project Manager I work with teams that specialise in many different technologies and it is important that I have a good understanding of what these are whether it be IS Security monitoring tools or programming languages that our developers use. As a Graduate Manager placing graduates in teams across the organisation I need to have a solid understanding of all the technologies we use.
- Is there any technology that you’ve worked on at Sky that you’re particularly proud of? It’s still in its infancy but I worked on a project linking our technology systems across customer platforms to create a central portal; helping us to analyse the accounts in ways we hadn’t done before. This is the first of its type for Sky and has already been utilised by many other teams, which makes me proud!
- Describe your work/life balance at Sky? It is fast paced at Sky so there are sometimes late nights and early starts, but it is also rewarding and we are lucky that Sky has amenities onsite that help with work/life balance including a gym and salon. Also the other day I worked late but had a delicious but very reasonably priced evening meal at our new Italian restaurant The Loft.
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love the work environment at Sky and even though I work in the Technology team we have access to all Sky studios, are invited to screenings and can mingle with presenters and celebs in the canteen.
- Would you recommend Sky to other females in this industry? Absolutely – without doubt!
- What would be your advice to other females who want to do what you’re doing? Don’t be held back just because you don’t tick all the boxes – nobody is perfect and everyone has room to grow!
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I am a season ticket holder at Southampton FC and often try and catch Matt Le Tissier when he comes onsite at Sky!
Sunil is a Sky Sales Advisor with a few good stories to tell.
- Name: Sunil
- Job title: Sales Advisor
- Team: SRS/ South West/ Uxbridge
- What’s the best thing about your job? Meeting new people
- Top three things about working at Sky?
- Passion/Teamwork from fellow employees
- The fast pace of change
- The excitement of working for Sky – a brand leader
- Describe your role in one word: Interactive
- What’s your favourite thing about your week? Every day is a new day and has fresh challenges
- What’s your favourite Sky show? Game of Thrones
- You’re on a desert island, what’s the one box set you want to be watching? Banshee
- If you could only watch one Sky channel for the rest of your life what would it be? Sky Movies
- If Sky came to you and asked you to make a programme, what would it be? Who would be in it? It would be a fly on the wall documentary about our team and the personalities in it. I would be in the starring role!
- What is the first thing you show a new joiner? Our amazing product, the channels, programs and even our apps, it is a whole new world and will blow their mind!
- If you could be any Sky TV Character, which would it be and why? I get called Homer Simpson!
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I’ve had lunch with Steve Gerrard in our head office in Osterley – I still have the scarf he gave me!
What's the best thing about working as a Sky Sales Advisor? The pay, perks, and incentives - according to Lee. But that's not all…
- Name: Lee
- Job title: Sales Advisor
- Team: SRS Bristol
- What's the best thing about your job? The freedom and ability to control your own destiny!
- Top three things about working at Sky? 1. The pay, perks and incentives. 2. 'One Sky' knowing everyone's views and opinions are counted for, no matter what their role within the company. 3. The team environment and competition.
- Describe your role in one word: Engaging.
- What's your favourite thing about your week? The variety of unique and interesting members of the public you meet.
- What's your favourite Sky show? The Newsroom
- You're on a desert island, what's the one box set you want to be watching? The Newsroom, again!
- If you could only watch one Sky channel for the rest of your life what would it be? Sky Sports 1
- If Sky came to you and asked you to make a programme, what would it be? Who would be in it? A show where Peter Dinklage (Tyrion from Game of Thrones) inherits a hundred sheep. He has to learn to become one with them as he attempts to overcome all obstacles that threaten his once before peaceful life.
- What is the first thing you show a new joiner? How relaxed and stress free the job can be, provided you work efficiently.
- If you could be any Sky TV Character, which would it be and why? Raymond Reddington (The Blacklist). Watch the Blacklist and you will understand why.
- An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I won £32,000 on a football bet once!
Hear what our current intake had to say about their experience:
Millions of people are passionate about football. But how many can turn that passion into a career? Mark’s done just – he’s a Producer for Sky Sports
Mark has a job that many football fanatics can only dream of. So how did he get to where he is now?
“I only joined Sky supposedly for a week back in December 1991 – somehow I’m still here!” he says. “I began in a department called ‘Tape Despatch’, which sounds more glamorous than it actually was. Basically, I spent eight hours a day erasing video cassettes.”
Six months later, Sky Sports helped launch the Premier League and Mark helped launch our new Football Library. At that stage this consisted of a wardrobe with four shelves and Mark was guardian of the key.
In January 1994, Mark joined Sky Sports as a Production Junior and that’s when things really took off for him. “Over the next few years I worked on many different strands of live football, performing various roles,” he explains. “I was on the gantry counting corner kicks at Anfield when Blackburn won the title in 1995, and the following year I was in the VT truck, again at Anfield, for the famous 4-3 against Newcastle which still remains my favourite Premier League game.
“I was also part of the team out in Rome in 1997 when England drew with Italy and qualified for the 1998 World Cup Finals. Just one of several memorable foreign trips.”
In 2001, Mark began producing Sky Sports’ Bundesliga and La Liga coverage. Since then, his involvement has been widespread, covering both the Premier League and, for the last couple of seasons, the Champions League.
Last year, Sky Sports showed over 10,000 hours of football, an increase of more than 29% over the previous year, helped by the launch of Sky Sports 5. Our viewers can now look forward to 57 more Barclays Premier League live matches before the end of this season, making Sky Sports the home to over three quarters of all live televised fixtures for the remainder of the season.
So how does Mark play a part in all this?
“A non-programme office day sees me planning for programmes – which, in reality, means sitting at my desk talking about football and joking with my colleagues. It’s a little like being in a pub but with a tea in my hand rather than a beer! A programme day is always busy, one quick decision after another. Ironically, the quietest part is usually the match itself.”
Mark has many memories to cherish from his 23 years at Sky Sports but one stands above all other. “I spent an hour chatting with George Best after his Goals On Sunday appearance, which I produced in January 2005 – what a legend! I can definitely say, if you love football it’s the best job in the world.”
If you’re a social media guru with a passion for IT, take a look at our apprenticeships in Digital Service