Tom Linker

Technology Graduate

"The goal of the first year of the graduate programme is, essentially, to find your feet."

My life as a member of the ITV family began in September 2019. Having graduated only three months previously, I was nervous about being thrust into the real working world. Fortunately for me, I had clearly chosen the right company to work for, as my experiences since have been nothing but enjoyable.

Emily has done a good job of describing the first few weeks, but when we joined a year earlier, Covid wasn’t even a thing, so as well as meeting everyone in the London office, the graduates had a couple of week-long trips to our offices in Manchester and Leeds. There, we learned about the different ways they work, the systems that they create and manage, and the roles that make up the team (we also got to go on the sets of some of Britain’s most-loved shows).

After that, we spent a week making our own short TV show, that we’d then edit, transcode and perform all post-production tasks necessary on real-world tv shows at ITV. This was such an amazing experience and a great introduction to the company.

The goal of the first year of the graduate programme is, essentially, to find your feet. It’s primarily made up of lots of short placements in a variety of teams where you can get a flavour of what each team does and how they do it. My first placement was working in the Architecture team. I helped out on a project based around Cloud Playout of live events. This included attending important meetings with senior people, researching vendors and making presentations. I very much enjoyed my time in the team and learned that it is a career I can definitely look at in the future.

At the start of 2020, I worked in two different teams before the pandemic hit. These were Behavioral Data Engineering (BDE) and Workplace. The former of these focuses, naturally, on data and how it flows around ITV’s services. As a computer science graduate, I always had an interest in data engineering and it was great to see it first hand in a practical environment. I was amazed to see how reliant the entire company is on this relatively small team with such a significant job. The workplace team looks after all of the devices, equipment and processes used by ITV employees. They work in a completely different way to BDE and on completely different problems. I really enjoyed being able to see so many different aspects of technology in such a short period of time.

Coming into this scheme, my instinct was that software development was going to be my natural home, seeing as I’d come from a 4-year computer science degree of which programming was a significant part and something I really enjoyed. Most of the backend services at ITV are written in Scala, and as part of the graduate scheme we are all given the opportunity to learn it through a professional course.

My placement as a backend software developer in our Direct To Consumer (DTC) team is my longest to date. I spent 4 months with the team that’s responsible for the transferring of metadata from within ITV to third parties, such as Amazon and Google, for use on their services. It was an amazing experience where I took on so many different responsibilities and challenges. Even though I only ever worked with them virtually, I saw all my colleagues as my friends when I left, that shows how successful our virtual working has been.

Tim (our scheme manager) and I have always been on the same page about my development at ITV and we have regular meetings to discuss it. Even though we’re both pretty sure I’ll end up back in the software engineering team, the graduate scheme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and there is so much still to learn and get out of it. Since this placement I have spent time with the Cyber Security team and the Platform Engineering team. These are such important teams — not only within ITV but in the whole Technology sector — and the skills you learn there are transferable to every role at ITV.

Next year, the plan is for me to finish learning what I can from short placements in important teams and then spend even longer working in a Scala Development role, albeit in a different team.

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