About me

Mel M.
Psychology
Psychology
BSc
Vanbrugh
2014
United Kingdom

About this profile

Software Engineer
Sky
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)
2015
£24000

About the job

What I do

It's all writing code - fixing bugs and writing new features. Of course, some time gets spent on setting up the development environments as well, but once that's done, I can focus on developing again. Occasional discussions with my co-workers about the best way to approach a task, but meetings are very minimal in this job.

Skills I use and how I developed them



Extracurricular skills:
PHP, Java, Python, JavaScript, command line tools

I learned some computer science at my local university before coming to York (mostly Java, PHP, SQL and CSS) but did not graduate there. Learned Python through Codecademy and Coursera. More recently, I have worked on my own projects such as writing a Django-based website (that also uses JavaScript and Git) and working on an open source project (which uses JavaScript). I learned a lot about Linux and its command line simply by using Ubuntu OS on my laptop.

What I like most

It's challenging and variable. There is no routine - every task is new (if it wasn't, you would write something to abstract or automate it). I enjoy problem solving and that's what I get to do. There is a fair amount of autonomy and almost no micro-management. I'm constantly learning and improving my skills. The end result reaches millions of people.

What I like least

I don't always get to use the technologies I prefer. There's always debates about which method to use. As a new starter, you don't really get to make the decision. It can be hard to change things that have always been done a certain way.

Setting up environments isn't always easy, especially with a big project.

Sometimes code can be very complex, making it hard to understand and modify.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

Several different CV sites, picking up recruiter calls/replying to emails. Once you send off a few CVs, you'll keep getting recruiters contacting you. The jobs they're offering are often not relevant to you but just hear them out and respond to the ones that are.

How I found out about the job

Recruitment agency

The recruitment process

I was contacted by a recruiter, sent in my CV and a few words why I'd be suitable. Then I had a phone interview, an online assessment and a final face to face interview.

My career

My career history

I worked as a survey scripter in a market research agency before. Also worked as a research assistant to one of my lecturers, doing web development and managing user accounts for a survey that was used by external researchers.

What has helped my career to progress

Doing my own projects, definitely. Experience is very important in this field, and anyone with a computer can get experience.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I would like to become better at what I do, and eventually be able to improve the product in significant ways (making it faster, more reliable, easier to maintain, easier to use, offering more features etc).

My advice to students

My advice to students considering work

You definitely need extracurricular experience in your chosen field. Work on your own projects, whether paid or volunteer (but you don't have to mention on your CV that it was volunteering). Also note down any challenging situations you encountered - you will be asked to give specific examples!



If you are a natural introvert like me, go to social events (even if you'd rather not) and practice being chatty. Interviewers tend to be biased towards outgoing personalities, even in introverted jobs where you spend most of the time working with computers. It's hard to be something you're not but it's only for the interview.



About this sector: Finding a project to work on is the best way to get experience. Picking which technology to work with can be tricky - choose something you enjoy but which also has decent job prospects. Around York there isn't that much choice so you'll want to look into London area as well.



You're not bound by the degree you did at university - it's perfectly possible to self-learn how to program. There are so many learning resources online for any programming language. Experience counts more than credentials in this field.

My advice about working in my industry

Finding a project to work on is the best way to get experience. Picking which technology to work with can be tricky - choose something you enjoy but which also has decent job prospects. Around York there isn't that much choice so you'll want to look into London area as well.

You're not bound by the degree you did at university - it's perfectly possible to self-learn how to program. There are so many learning resources online for any programming language. Experience counts more than credentials in this field.

Other advice

Apply for the York Award - it's really difficult and you'll probably not pass right away, but Careers offers you a lot of help. It's good practice for applications and interviews.


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