Guest blog: Thinking of a career in tech?

Jo Duncan from Oggadoon grills YellowDog top dog Gareth Williams on the SPARK Skills Festival and his best tech career advice
14th December 2016

This month, founder of YellowDog and all round top dog Gareth Williams joined a stellar panel of speakers at a day full of talks and demos at the SPARK Skills Festival.

“The best candidates are often people who talk about how and why they’ve done things, rather than just what they’ve done”

 

The event brought together young talent and whizzy tech people from across the South West, for a day of skills, thrills and spills.

Chaired by Rosie Bennet, Entrepreneur in Residence at SETsquared, Gareth was joined on the panel by Becky Sage, Managing Director at Interactive Scientific, Mike Oram, Lead Trainer and Software Developer at Mayden, and Graham Weekes, Head of Development at OVO Energy.

spark-skills-fest-panel

Startup to corporate: The panel settle in to discuss the pros and cons
of working for different sizes of company

 

They all wanted to look at how to get into tech, and what it’s like working for small and large companies. So we grilled him on how it went.

Jo Duncan: What does TechSPARK mean for Bristol and Bath?

yellowdog-gareth-williamsGareth Williams: TechSPARK is an amazing thing that brings together like-minded folk, to help make Bristol and Bath the best place in the world for tech. They’re based really close to us in the Engine Shed, which makes it easy to get involved in all the cool stuff they do.

JD: Tell us about SPARK Skills Fest, what was it like?

GW: Tech is such a vibrant, rapidly growing sector in Bristol, so the event was brilliant because it was organised for people to learn about that.

It also meant employers could find the bright new talent, and the new talent got to see all the interesting things already happening around them. Especially in tech – skills are so important. SPARK Skills Fest was a chance for people to learn what the work is like, as well as how to get a job in tech.

JD: What does YellowDog look for when you’re on the hunt for new talent?

GW: As well as their skills, we look for the right behaviours and attitude. The best candidates are often people who talk about how and why they’ve done things, rather than just what they’ve done.

“I want more diversity [at YellowDog]… so we can add even more vibrancy and different perspectives to the organisation”

 

I always try to look for people who balance out the team, and I think the more senior you get the more you realise you need variety to make your business really work.

JD: What advice would you give young tech pups?

GW: I think there is a good way to answer interview questions: don’t just say what you did, but try to talk about how and why you did it. I remember an interview I had recently with someone, who talked about his achievements showing a real blend of technical skill and knowledge, as well as an understanding of how tech needs to be commercial.

JD: What kind of people do you want to attract to YellowDog in the future?

GW: Bright, energised people who love doing difficult things, to solve interesting problems for our lovely customers. I would also love it if we could encourage more women into tech jobs and careers.

For the future of YellowDog I want more diversity, with people from different backgrounds, so we can add even more vibrancy and different perspectives to the organisation.