The Financial Times is dedicated to finding and supporting the growth of junior talent within the technology industry. This sector can be cutthroat and tough to find your footing in when starting out. Since 2016, every September we have welcomed two graduates into our Product & Technology teams for a 12 month programme which sees them rotate around three teams of their choice for six months, with the option to decide which team they would like to join for the following six months. So far every single candidate who has joined us has chosen to stay at the FT following the end of their graduate scheme, and they have transitioned to become fully integrated permanent members of the team.
In 2017 we realised by narrowing our candidate pool to ‘graduates’ we were potentially missing out on a lot of talented people who may not have attended university to study computer science. Our teams are made up of people from all walks of life, which is something we value and consider a huge asset. Why limit or place barriers in front of those who can bring something different to the table? This is why we have made the change, both in name and practice, to a ‘Technology Talent Scheme’, away from the traditional ‘Graduate Scheme’ approach. This means we’re opening our doors to those who may have zero technical qualifications, as a reflection of our open-minded culture.
Culture is inherently important to FT Product & Technology. We talk about it all the time, in meetings, hackathons, internal conferences and workshops, away days, on blogs and even IRL. We want to foster a culture which views junior developers/engineers as a vital resource with a fresh perspective on working processes. We partnered up with Makers Academy, a leading web developer bootcamp in London, to create a video to explain why we feel it is important to invest and nurture junior tech talent. We currently have nine employees who graduated from Makers Academy.
Hear from our two most recent graduate scheme developers, who joined in September 2017, about their FT experiences so far..
“Since starting last September on the graduate engineering programme, I’ve been been lucky enough to work on three teams within the FT, each serving a different role within the company and each with a unique working culture. As part of Cloud Enablement, I helped manage the FT’s cloud infrastructure by automating certain processes. I was also able to spend time on support, helping other developers from throughout the company solve any problems they had using our cloud services. After a couple of months I moved onto FT Labs – a team which experiments with new ideas and technologies to assess their viability. In this team I helped port an existing Google Home game over to Alexa and got to grips with some of the other front-end tools and libraries the company uses.
So far, I have been enthusiastically welcomed and supported within every team I have worked. Outside of these teams, I’ve experienced a fantastic culture of sharing. Developers, designers, product managers, and even journalists are always keen to share their knowledge, whether that’s through weekly lightning talks or informal workshops.
Currently, I’m working on a very different kind of team. As part of interactive graphics in the newsroom, it feels like I’m doing something different every day. After studying computing at university, I never expected that I might one day be working a world-leading newsroom, creating graphics for a publication read by hundreds of thousands of people a day. I’m super excited that by the fact that soon I’ll be able to get something published, in print and online, with the help of a group of incredibly talented designers and journalists.”
“Hi. My name is Katie and I joined the FT’s Grad Scheme in September.
I am fairly new to programming. I studied Actuarial Maths at Leeds Uni. Since my first day I’ve been fully immersed not just in the culture of the FT, but also in continuous professional development.
Since September, I’ve been working in Internal Products within the Technology Department. On the Grad Scheme, you’re expected to move departments every two months, but I’ve been so happy and felt so comfortable in Internal Products that I’ve been given the freedom to stay there.
I expected coming straight from Uni into a big firm would be intimidating. Everyone has their established roles, knows how everything works, and I’m terrible with names. The reality couldn’t have been further from my expectation. The office is warm and welcoming, and by the second week I was an established regular at FT Boardroom, a regular board game focused pub-trip at the end of the week.
My line manager has taken a genuine interest in my career development. We meet every two weeks to discuss my career progression. We set targets for things I want to learn, and work out how to go about it. I am constantly learning and moving forward at work. It’s exciting and motivating and funny, considering 6 months ago I didn’t know what continuous professional development was.
My experience hasn’t been confined to the office. Attending the Amazon Web Service conference was enriching, and I’m off to Berlin with my team for the CSSconf and JSConf EU in June. Can’t complain.
Of the many advantages of working at the FT, those that stick out are the tech talks given in-house, both from internal and external speakers. They’ve covered a range of topics; Artificial intelligence, Voice UI and Good User Experience. FT Women is also an amazing thing. Google it.
I’ve also got flexi-hours. There’s a lower limit of course, but I’m given the freedom to decide how I structure my day and I can’t explain how useful that actually is. Not to mention discounted gym membership.
I feel like the only one amongst my friends to actually look forward to going to work in the morning. (Really). The FT is purposeful in giving those on the scheme the freedom to develop their skills. This week, I’m enrolling on the online course ‘An Introduction to Computer Science’ in conjunction with Harvard University.
I feel incredibly well supported by my team and the wider community at the FT. If you are interested in applying, check out the link below.”
If you are looking to start a career in tech and would like join the FT’s progressive teams, we are accepting applications for our Technology Talent Scheme until February 14, 2018.