Find out what goes on at Sky’s Leeds tech hub and why it’s one of the most exciting tech companies to work for in Leeds…
Sky is best known for broadcasting, but they also have a suite of websites and apps that are used by millions of people worldwide – and the team in Leeds play a key role in making them. Their tech hub is full of talent – they have a team of over 200, ranging from developers and quality assurance technicians to scrum masters, business analysts and product owners – and they’re all working towards the same goal, to build world-class products people want to use.
Be the one to break the news worldwide
Sky News aspires to be one of the most trusted news outlets in the world and you can be a part of that. The team in Leeds is responsible for its digital channels, which includes websites and apps in the UK, Germany and Italy, but they also work closely with the broadcasting teams in Osterley. In fact, all the real-time stats and graphics you see on TV come from the Sky News team in Leeds.
So what’s it like to break the news? Exciting, that’s for sure. Their work is naturally reactive. They have to be prepared for anything, to think ahead and predict challenges, because the solutions they build will be implemented at a moment’s notice and used by millions of people simultaneously. When you’re working at this scale, the pressure is on – stability and resilience are as important as functionality – but there’s real satisfaction in that.
“When I’m sat on a train, and I can hear news notifications going off and see people checking their phones, I know that they’re getting that breaking news because of my team. And when that happens, it feels more like a public service than a tech job,” Sarah Baker, Head of Technology at Sky News, explained. That sense of purpose brings the team together and drives them forward, because when you do break the story first, it feels like a real achievement.
Be a world-class destination for sports fans
Sky Sports is a whole different ballgame. They have a vast calendar of events to work to, which means they can plan ahead in ways that Sky News can’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Sports can be unpredictable. Tournaments change format at a moment’s notice, new events pop-up out of the blue – and Sky Sports has to respond, often at record speed, while maintaining that all-important quality.
At the same time, they’re building new products from scratch. They’ve just launched a new Sky Sports app in Italy and it’s a game-changer. They moved to a CI/CD approach, creating cross-functional teams that work together from the very beginning. The result? A more streamlined process that opens up the feedback loop and builds in all the good stuff, right from the start, be it testing, UX or accessibility. It’s something they’re really proud of.
“Over time, the things I’m most proud of have changed,” Spencer Hudson, Head of Product for Sports Experience, explained. “When I started, it just gave me great pleasure seeing my work out there in the hands of millions of people. But since then, I’ve helped build the Sky Sports Scores app from scratch, and now we’re trying to create a single, world-leading sports app for the UK, Germany and Italy. So it changes, it changes frequently.”
Be the driving force behind global digital platforms
Everyone knows Sky Sports and Sky News, but there’s another tech team working behind the scenes in Leeds to make Sky’s digital products work. The Platforms and Capabilities team holds, manages and transforms the datasets that power Sky’s digital presence. That includes everything from written content to images and videos, not to mention the complex world of sports data and the insight driven from their digital products.
The Platforms and Capabilities team works on the backend, so as a Sky customer, you wouldn’t even know they exist, but they’re the secret driving force behind Sky’s digital products. And in a way, they have the most exciting job of them all, because their work has so much variety. From collaborating with global teams to experimenting with new technology and updating legacy systems, no day is ever the same.
“We have to think about security, reliability, capacity and performance,” Tom Davidson, Head of Technology for Platform and Capabilities, told us. “Sometimes we have to combine multiple datasets, sometimes we have respond to changes really quickly, sometimes the data doesn’t change but we have to serve it 5,000 times a second – and that can give you a completely different engineering challenge for what seems like a very similar problem.”
Help make products used by millions at Sky
Sky in Leeds is building a team that’s as diverse as the technologies and the products they work with – and you could be part of it. From Scrum Masters to Software Engineers, Data Scientists to Solutions Architects, whatever your speciality, your skills will find a good home here.