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A day in the life of a tech grad by two graduates, Ryan Winstanley and Tom Parkin.
In our latest blog post, we’re hoping to give you an insight into what it’s like in the day to day life of a graduate on BGL’s newest graduate scheme. Ryan and Tom have shared their experiences to date.
Life as a technology graduate here at BGL Group really means every day is different. I have been in comparethemarket.com for eight months now, and have been involved in some of the most pioneering projects using the latest cutting edge technology.
In my short time here, I have helped build conversational chat bots, ran and taken part in hackathons and innovation days and presented at conferences. Opportunity is the key word here at BGL Group - you are encouraged to grasp it with both hands and develop your own future.
My highlight of the year so far has been seeing my work actively used by customers on the comparethemarket.com, specifically within the life journey. By listening to customers and not being afraid to try new things, we successfully designed and implemented a chat bot which has proven to be popular. Being part of this project enabled me to learn languages such as NodeJs, exposed me to concepts in natural language processing and has enabled me to attend the prestigious Microsoft: Future Decoded conference.
As a graduate, you are encouraged to experience all aspects of the business, which I am fully embracing having recently moved into the Business Intelligence Data team at comparethemarket.com. I am currently using technology such as PowerBI to empower the business to make more educated decisions by being proactive with consumer data and understanding their purchasing habits. All of this is made even more fascinating by the people, events and atmosphere.
The next few months are looking just as bright too! As part of the “Great Place to Work” programme, I’m off to see a private screening of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy film with my colleagues, present our Million Makers proposition in a high-rise office in London and move on to starting my next placement.
Like the rest of the graduates you spend the first few weeks in the company as a ‘BGL graduate’ and at this stage I wasn’t aware of which team I would be joining. When the day arrived, I found out I would be working in the BGL’s life insurance business, Beagle Street, in their IT Team with a focus on software development.
From the word go I was introduced to the rest of team who were very welcoming and friendly. Throughout my time I have learned about technologies used by the team, good coding practices and got to work with highly skilled developers. I had exposure to the whole development life cycle from working on stories right up to testing completed work and ensuring any bugs were caught before the weekly release to live.
Beagle Street is known for its fast pace with work prioritised weekly enabling quick responses and rapid changes. Each week genuinely brought new challenges and meant my role was quite varied as I could be working on a micro service solution one day and be looking at a future architecture change the next. The team is also a big advocate of pair programming where work is tackled by two developers. With one steering the development and the other writing code, this principle enables higher quality code to be produced as two heads are better than one. Since its introduction, code related issues have decreased which means overall time for actually developing is increased.
Another core practise involved test driven development. This is where a unit test is devised that covers an aspect of the acceptance criteria set out in the original story, all before the actual code is written. As the code is yet to be implemented the test will likely fail and, at this point, the pair will usually swap roles. The code will then be altered so that it passes. Once the test has ‘gone green’, a refactor stage begins where the code is refined to be as efficient as possible. This continues until all the development aspects are completed. In addition, the code is put through several related functionality tests to uncover any other issues.
Once the developer feels the code is production-ready it is handed over to QA. Here, the code will be put through its paces to ensure it has no faults, once properly scrutinised it is ready for the release cycle
Before I started I had very limited knowledge on object oriented programming but since being with the team I certainly feel more confident and have much improved my understanding. The team has very skilled developers who are very passionate about their industry and will strive to help you at any stage. I would certainly recommend Beagle Street for a rotation, not just because of the exposure to a variety of different technologies, but because of the chance to work with great people!