O'Brien Alaribe

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I work for BSKYB in London, within the department called Sky Network Service (SNS), which is the branch of Sky that manages technical aspects of the network. This includes telephone exchange connections, broadband usage and management of our fibre optic network across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

What is your role within the company?

In brief, my role at Sky involves pair-programming with other developers within the team to complete stories which are raised in every iteration. I spend most of my time working on software functionalities and unit-testing my code to ensure it meets production standards. I interact a lot with the team’s Business Analyst and Testers to ensure that the given requirements are signed off before the end of every iteration. I also set up team meetings with PMO to discuss upcoming projects the team might be involved in. To summarise, I code with other developers to make the internet work for Sky customers. 

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

At Sky we practice agile methodologies; this means every day begins with a stand-up. The BA team has their stand-up at 9am and the developers have their stand-up at 10am. During the morning stand-up, each individual/pair briefly talks through their progress from the day before. followed by their actions for the current day. After stand-up we shuffle the dev pairs around and each pair chooses a story/task to work on for the day. On special occasions we go on team lunch at a restaurant in Central London, sponsored by Sky. Each person has a budget of £50. Lunch is typically an hour and we end the day at 5:30pm.

What are you enjoying the most and are you involved in any interesting projects? 

After pairing with the other developers for a while I was given a special project by the Head of Operations at SNS. The project was to develop a web application which will be used to grade all Java Developers at SNS. Developers are graded on their technical, business and soft skills. My task was to program this application from scratch using one of the most popular web technology stacks. The application was completed successfully and is currently ready for use by management.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

Initially I wanted to go on placement because I wanted to become a better programmer and also because it seemed to be what everyone else was doing. However, by actually doing a placement year I got to learn so much about my industry, aside from the obvious benefits of applying knowledge gained at University, a placement year allows you to truly understand the industry you’re going to be working in for the rest of your life. It’s a wonderful time to put a break on university life and a chance to get a taste of the real world before diving into it. 

What are you hoping to get out of this experience? 

I am hoping that after this placement I will have a deeper understanding of what I want to achieve in my field of study and how I can achieve it. The placement year has provided me with a lot of life experiences that will significantly influence my career path after University. 

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

I would honestly advise every student to do a year in industry. Many students go into university not truly grasping what life outside academia is really like. The truth is that in an industry you can learn/get real life practice of an entire university module in just one week. Mainly because you will be surrounded by experts in the field who can guide you properly when you're doing hands-on tasks!