After one month at TalkTalk

Can’t believe the time flies so fast, it’s been one month already. Before going into, how was this month, I’ll go through their interview and the on-boarding processes.

The Interview

I started my interview process at the beginning of July, which pretty much took 1 month. I applied for the job through their LinkedIn Jobs Page and I’ve got a call after a week from Cara, one of their recruiter (as a funny thing I only realised it’s about TalkTalk on the 2nd call, because initially I understood that is about ThoughtWorks because of the accent 😅, and yes I applied for a job at TW as well). The job that I’ve applied for is a Senior Software Engineer with leading and mentoring responsibilities. The tech stack that I’ve been made aware was Angular for front-end, Elixir for micro-services and Azure for the Cloud. Later, Elixir got replaced by C#.

The interview process was a regular one, split into 2 steps:

  • an initial call with a senior dev manager
  • and a half day at their offices with the same dev manager and a principle, where half of the time we had a chat around my background, technologies and the other half was the technical test

The chat around my background was very good, it didn’t feel like an interview, it was more like a Tech Coffee thing. On the technical side, we started a bit on the wrong foot because of some technical issues and because there was no document with the problem spec I got a couple of times confused about what they were asking (now we have everything in a proper document with examples, yeey for the next candidates). The spec of the problem was pretty much to design a “kind” of an engine. Because of the OO way of solving the problem, I only managed to write tests and design 6 – 7 classes with some minimal code implementation from the requirements which was fine anyway because we got to chat a lot about design patterns, principles, etc. Because of the little time remaining for actually writing the rest of the solution I chose to have a chat about how would I do solve it. (Never put pressure on yourself solving an interview problem, it’s more about the approaches you’re going for).

The Offer and the On-Boarding

After a couple of days I’ve been called by Cara where I’ve got the great news, I passed the interview and I have an offer.

After accepting the offer, there was an on-boarding process where on my TalkTalk account from where initially I applied for the job I start receiving some messages. I found those messages quite useful, it was about me providing personal informations and some messages were about the company. I was getting every 4 – 5 days a message which kept me engaged with the idea of getting prepared for the new role.

The Induction

On 2nd September I started my new role, and when I was thinking that I’ll put my hands on some C# I remembered from the on-boarding messages that there is a 2 days induction. I was like: “How would I’m going to survive to these, because usually this kind of stuff is boring”. And it wasn’t, actually I think that this is the best induction ever that I’ve had when I joined a company.

First day we played all sorts of games, got to know more about the company, had lunch together and because we was around 25 joiners the atmosphere was quite intensive as well.

I have to say that I felt like a kid by playing some of those games, and I’m curios if the >40 years joiners felt the same ha ha.

Second day we got more knowledge around the Telecoms domain, we did a Kahoot! game and had a walk in MediaCity where we lunched.

Meanwhile I stole 10 minutes from the induction to get to know my manager in person (I was a bit nervous about that, probably because of previous traumas with managers ha ha). Even though we had a couple of chats through email, I was happy to meet him before actually joining the team, had a chance to see the desks and I got introduced to some people as well.

My First Month

My first month was a mix of everything. It started with getting my work laptop, doing the setup and have a look through the existing code. As the squad that I ended up is quite new, there was no processes / documentation written so I start doing that. In fact I start writing everything, all processes, how the team works, code review guidelines, code standards etc.

Actually after the first Retro Meeting I’ve been assigned to take the lead on collaborating with the team and decide:

  • the code standards
  • a git branching model
  • and a squad name

Finally I started to feel that I’m bringing some value in a team, all my skills and experience started to matter and finally I was listened. That’s how I work the best, that’s what I want to expose through my culture which is based on:

  • Ambition
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Commitment

and not a dictatorial or a keep opinions for yourself kind of environment.

As a result of the Retro I already had 2 presentations within the team about:

Git Knowledge Sharing

and

Git Branching Model

I appreciate a lot the effort that TalkTalk put in this one month so that the new employees to get as much domain knowledge as possible, but not just that the tech stack knowledge has been improved as well. Couple of days ago we’ve had an Azure workshop done by Microsoft Engineers where we’ve learnt how to fit best our services in Azure Cloud.

And it wasn’t only about workshops or conferences, a lot of social stuff happened as well. It’s not just about work isn’t it? We are still humans, and we (mostly I) may still want to drink some beer and chat after work.

One thing about this new role is that I didn’t get to code yet, I mean it kinda makes sense, there is a lot of stuff to be put together in a new team and anyway we are at the POC (Proof of Concept) level at the moment.

I think 60 – 70% of the time I’ve been involved in meetings, conferences, which is very important for me to get the domain knowledge and exposure which later on will help me on the career progression as well.

What are my future plans within TalkTalk?

  • get more understandings about Telecoms domain
  • get more understandings about the current and next architectures
  • get to learn how can I be responsible for the technical leadership of a squad
  • working with, product owners, external stakeholders, design and UX to identify opportunities help and define requirements and find the best fit solutions
  • plan, design and deliver the solution as well as mentoring and improve coding practices and processes within your team
  • help identify new technology and opportunities to innovate
  • apply for a Principal / Tech Lead role

Why TalkTalk?

The choice was a straightforward one because I knew what I wanted:

  • to work again in a big company, so I did the switch from broadcasting -> telecoms
  • the whole team is new, so we all are in the same pot, that’s when you get to speak with each other the most and force the collaborative skill
  • new tech stack, C#, Angular TS, Azure
  • get to be part of the core, the core of the new products that TalkTalk has envisioned for their clients, leading current good practices for the full software development lifecycle (including coding standards, code reviews, source control management, build processes, testing and operations)
  • leading and mentoring developers
  • chance to design and work with complex architecture

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