Intro

Scott Logic formed in 2005 under the leadership of Gary Scott, who is still the spearhead of the company to this day. Founded in Newcastle, Gary formed a consultancy whose purpose was, and still is, to develop quality software for our clients. Initially, the client base was focussed on investment banking and financial services, however over the years the portfolio of clients has diversified and now includes clients in the government, healthcare and scientific sectors, for example. Scott Logic now has four offices over the UK: Bristol, Edinburgh, London, and Newcastle, and is continuing to grow. One of these growing opportunities is the graduate programme. This year, Scott Logic had two intakes of graduates, in February and August - August tends to work naturally for recently graduated students, but February can be good for people leaving education later in the year. I will describe the events tailored for the larger August intake, which I joined in 2018 as a graduate developer.

The Recruitment Process

To join Scott Logic you must first pass certain hurdles. Firstly, there’s the online application process. Here, you fill out a form detailing who you are, what experience you have, along with uploading your CV and covering letter. I found this process straightforward, and it was appealing that there were no online reasoning tests. After passing this initial screening, you’ll be invited to the first of two rounds of interviews. I found this process a lot more personal than other employers. Scott Logic don’t generally do phone interviews for graduate applicants. Instead, they prefer to meet you face to face, giving you more chance to really express yourself.

The interviews themselves are what you’d expect from a software company. Technical and logic questions will be asked and your CV will be discussed. I found that the interviewers at Scott Logic were very approachable, they made me feel as comfortable as you can be for an interview. In addition to this, no specific software knowledge is assumed. For example, I had never seen Java before working at Scott Logic, so the interviewers tailored the questions to my experience, and didn’t make me feel as though I was missing knowledge. Finally, you’ll be offered the role if successful. Scott Logic were prompt and thorough with their feedback at each stage of this process.

Grad Week - The Beginning

To kick off the graduate programme every new starter attends Grad Week, hosted by the Newcastle office for my year. Having your travel arrangements (for non-Newcastle graduates) being booked for you is the first taste of work life. After checking in to the hotel and meeting your fellow starters from your local office you prepare yourself for your first day.

Day one is full of introductory talks and activities to get to know your colleagues. However, an office tour is the first item on the itinerary, a chance to experience the office culture. After work is the first planned evening activity, a pub night. This was a great chance to meet colleagues and further understand how the company works. On the second evening, a friendly pool competition was held at the local sports bar. This gave yet another social opportunity to make connections through the office, whilst in a relaxed environment.

Day three began the mini-series which dived into the work of the three practices Scott Logic hire grads into: user experience (UX), development, and testing. First up was UX, and various tasks were carried out during the day to give a taste into a UX designer’s life. I found this extremely useful, as it showed you how a UX designer’s role fits in with the responsibilities of a developer. Go-karting was then on the agenda as the evening activity approached.

The next day we got to experience the tasks and challenges of being a developer. Here, software development activities were carried out on a pre-made web-based application. We had the opportunity to play with a fully functioning mock trading app and examine both a JavaScript front end and a Java back end. These tasks gave a great insight into what a developer would be working on for a client project.

On the final day we were introduced to the world of testing, participating in a number of challenging tasks. For example, we were given a particular application with deliberate bugs programmed into it. Our task was to explore the code, noting down any bugs that we could find. This also wrapped up grad week. The attention that Scott Logic gave to us as graduates at the start of our careers was great. It felt as though you really are valued as a part of the company, and that your development is a primary concern.

Back to Bristol

After going our separate ways, each office began their own development routes. In Bristol, we began with the software language, JavaScript. To learn this we utilised the popular learning website, Codewars. However, this website wasn’t compulsory. We were encouraged to learn in the way that suited us. To help us in our learning and to ensure we had some guidance we were each given a mentor. Your mentor can give suggestions on how to approach a problem, help you get started on a particular task, or review what you have done, although everyone in the office is happy to help!

After we felt ready to tackle our first project, we moved onto the first of three “graduate projects”. These vary from office to office, but for us the first challenge was to create a simple todo-list web application. Initially, we implemented this in vanilla JavaScript, and once completed we re-wrote our application using a library, React in my case. During this first mini-project, you realise how technically agnostic Scott Logic is as a company. People aren’t forced to use one particular integrated development environment (IDE) or command terminal, but instead, are supported to work in an environment that suits them.

After the completion of the todo project the tester and developer graduates split ways. As a developer, I began the next development project, the chat app. For this project, we further cemented our knowledge of JavaScript and the previously mentioned library, React, along with another popular library, Redux. Whereas the testing graduates went back up to Newcastle for a fortnight of testing related seminars and activities. On their return, they updated us on what they had learnt.

Office Culture

Not only does Scott Logic motivate and support you to develop your knowledge on your own, but they also encourage study groups where more experienced colleagues guide you through a concept or area of interest that will further your career. As an example, us Bristol graduates all took part in study groups related to Agile development and Object-oriented Design Patterns. These sessions offer a great way to discover how the industry works, and to learn it directly from those who are currently a vital part of it.

Graduate study groups aren’t the only form of collaborative learning at Scott Logic. Tech Talks are also carried out by employees at all levels. These presentations are insights into a certain technology or area of software. For example, recently a talk was given on how to use the highly configurable text editor, Vim. Through these talks the wider company can develop, and share knowledge of current and growing technologies, which helps Scott Logic to remain at the forefront of its discipline.

The social side of Scott Logic’s culture has also been evident in Bristol. Monthly office lunches are organised, which in the Bristol office are currently achieved using an in house voting application. It is also very common for groups of people to gather at the local pub after hours. Office-wide sporting tournaments, namely table tennis and chess, are yet another confirmation to the unity that is evident between the staff at Scott Logic.

Conclusion

To summarise, Scott Logic is a growing software consultancy, who employ problem-solving graduates with a passion for technology. Whilst being a graduate developer myself I have gained an understanding in the world of agile development, learnt new software development skills, and furthered my soft skills. I look forward to future client work, and further developing my technical dexterity.

If you’re interested in any of the graduate programmes Scott Logic has to offer, you can find out more information here.

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