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Case Study: Elliot Davies

Personal details
Degree:Computer Science Profile picture
School(s): School of Computer Science
Year of Graduation:Jun-2015
LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/elliotdavies/
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: The Times & Sunday Times
Job title: Newsroom Developer
Occupational Sector: Journalism
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I applied for a number of jobs during my fourth year (as everyone does) and The Times happened to be hiring for someone to start during the summer immediately after my graduation date. I applied with a cover letter and some code examples, went to London for an interview, and was offered the place.
What does your job involve ?
I work on the editorial development team, which sits in the newsroom alongside the journalists and focuses on two main areas: coming up with new ways to tell stories digitally, and building tools to support journalists in their work.
What are the best bits of your job ?
A great team; the freedom to make technical decisions; and, because my job varies with the news, the fact I never know what's going to happen after I arrive for the day.
Why were you successful?
Working in an editorial capacity obviously requires some knowledge of the media, so I was helped by having done work experience with a number of newspapers while at university. I had attended numerous student journalism events, which really helped with networking – in particular, The Times' Build The News hackday, where I had met some of the team I now work with. Finally, I was heavily involved in The Saint, the student newspaper at St Andrews, in both editorial and technical roles.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Because our team is small and empowered to make technical choices, I actually find some of the computer science fundamentals to be the most useful skills: data structures, algorithms, estimating complexity, and so on. I've also benefited from a good knowledge of software architecture, a solid foundation that makes it easy to switch between languages (on the team we use everything from JavaScript to PHP to Elm), and the ability to think critically.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
We work on all sorts of projects and often have to switch between them rapidly: on a given day I might spend the morning architecting a CMS, then swap to building a client-side web app in a framework like React (with all the concerns about performance and UX that entails), and then finish up by configuring a deployment process in AWS. We generally work 10-6 (though we're very flexible) and the team is very sociable, with frequent meals, drinks and events. I'd recommend it!