What Top Software Developers Want: Graduate Edition

By Deborah Miller, Synthesis Talent Acquisition Specialist

Each year Synthesis embarks on a journey in search of remarkable young talent for the annual Graduate Programme. Since its inception in 2002, when the first incumbent joined, the project has seen one of the graduates become one of only four Directors of the company. This serves as testament to the scope of long-term growth and career trajectory the programme provides. Pretty cool, right?

The relentless demand for technical capability makes this resource increasingly scarce. Synthesis recently researched what these graduates identify as the ‘non-negotiables’ when choosing a graduate programme. Below, we explore our findings and the secret to why Synthesis remains a compelling choice year on year.

Rapid upskilling. In terms of the programme itself, the expectation for achievement is high, but remains directly correlated to the talent, aptitude, and capability of our annual recruits. The curriculum encompasses a steep learning curve, ensuring every member of the team is upskilled by exposing them to various business divisions whilst diligently pursuing required certifications. Newcomers are additionally afforded opportunities to take courses provided by the company which pertain to financial wellness and overall self-improvement. In a matter of weeks, by swiftly equipping our novices with the essential tools, Synthesis is able to scale our workforce considerably by nurturing and developing a brand-new pool of techies.

Work-life harmony is another crucial box to be ticked when young graduates are seeking their new home away from home. Despite the challenges presented by the programme and the dedication that is required, we emphasise a healthy work/ life balance and therefore ‘play hard’ is also encouraged. Newly appointed graduates will play an instrumental part in our annual and highly anticipated Synthesis Hackathon where the company forms teams to develop innovative tech in the limited time span of a 24-hour period. It is here where you will witness ‘dad’ and ‘dev’ jokes freely exchanged and an alarming amount of caffeine imbibed. Traditionally, the Synthesizers will debut their latest melodic masterpiece and our Chief Disruption Officer can be found entertaining the masses by demonstrating his flair for the art of DJing. Apart from the Hackathon, Synthesis is permanently fully armed with artillery in the form of Nerf guns and copious amounts of superior coffee is readily available. One of our more profound organisational mottos is “no coffee, no workee”. I must confess that as a non-technical Synthesis employee, I have never once attempted to operate the complicated machinery labelled ‘coffee machine’ in the kitchen, opting instead for the instant Nescafe version. I encourage my non-technical counterparts to follow suit. Coffee snobbery is something I quickly discovered when I joined Synthesis, which sometimes feels like the set of The Big Bang Theory. Fun is a crucial part of this overall life equation and an aspect which is never overlooked at Synthesis.

Company Ethos. In our quest to identify the finest graduates, we find ourselves in the search for individuals who present with a passion and curiosity for technology, but most importantly, people who boast a unique and hybrid skill set, namely, technical proficiency, hunger, and humility. We at Synthesis believe that humility is a valued virtue, which sets the few apart from hundreds of hopeful applicants. Our culture, which embraces and emphasises “down-to earthiness” is starkly contrasted to the rigid concept of hierarchy, a notion we believe remains foreign to ‘Generation Y’.

Technology stack and projects. Synthesis boasts an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner status and therefore we pride ourselves on the exclusivity of our Graduate Programme. One of the core objectives is to remain proficient in emerging technology. We have a division fully dedicated to both the discovery and future implementation of ‘the next big thing’. In identifying upcoming trends, our team is able to appreciate the most revolutionary technologies before the rest of the world has mastered the correct pronunciation of K8s. Newly joined Graduates are exposed to an open environment, with opportunities to learn from leaders in the field and apply their newly acquired knowledge to high-impact projects.

Swag. Wikipedia defines swag as the “Stuff We All Get” and interestingly it’s an influential factor in the newly qualified engineer’s decision-making process. Our Synthesis Marketing team focus their creative talent on ensuring everyone is kitted out in the coolest T-shirts. The company Friday breakfast is a fun occasion where we are united by the T-shirts and ‘swag’ we proudly wear.

Reward. We aim to de-stigmatise the discussion around salary, perceived by many to be uncomfortable. We understand that a fair remuneration equates to the concerted effort of our employees, and therefore we undergo extensive research to ensure our packages are both market related and fair.

Our findings. Our goal is to discover talent who can be future leaders at Synthesis. We are frequently delighted by the sheer grit, tenacity and determination of the youth. These are the awe-inspiring graduates who demonstrate a hunger to excel. These are the prodigies who have dedicated their youth to their academic obligations, hoping they will one day, metaphorically speaking, stand on the shoulders of technical giants, to peer into the future and optimise tomorrow. This is our next generation of geeky Synthesis masterminds.

The Synthesis Graduate Programme is a 365-day paid exploration journey into the realm of innovation; an initiative which aims to reveal the innate potential in our country’s gifted youth. It is a privilege to form part of this initiative where raw talent is embraced, refined and realised. If you happen to be reading this, during your much-needed break from your Rocket Science textbook, please do consider Synthesis’ 2022 Graduate Programme as your next and last stop. The weird, wonderful and humble are all welcome.

What top software developers want graduate: edition

A day in the life of a Synthesis graduate

By Kayleigh Slogrove, Software Developer

A graduate programme aims to equip the graduates with the necessary skills to not only survive in the workplace but to thrive and bring fresh innovation to the organisation. Graduate programmes are unique to every organisation in many ways. It differs in duration, skills gained and, of course, the graduates. The one key difference of the Synthesis graduate programme was the mentality. I was a graduate in the Synthesis graduate programme for 2020 and this is my experience.

Mentality is defined as the characteristic way of thinking of a person or group. Synthesis promotes the mentality of growth and acceptance. Workshops around body language, how to have tough talks and how to communicate effectively are held to assist the graduates in gaining the soft skills necessary for workplace environments. These workshops were held in the first two weeks of my programme which was otherwise spent studying for certifications that I would not have obtained without the support from Synthesis. As a freshly graduated university student, you feel as if you are at the top of your game and that you could do anything. It quickly became apparent that I knew only the barest fundamentals of working. I had to quickly learn about the current technologies used, industry-standard best practices, in addition to those soft skills I mentioned before. Once I was placed on a project, there was a completely new learning curve to deal with, such as the technologies specific to project. In short, the next few weeks of the programme felt like a sink-or-swim situation.

Even though it felt like we were left to sink, there were many people who reached to help. These people made time to assist with many, probably very basic to them, questions with infinite patience. This created such a welcoming environment which encouraged making mistakes, learning from them and becoming better programmers. In doing so, Synthesis had encouraged a mentality of acceptance which lifted off the pressure of proving yourself as a graduate. As the weeks went on, the situation changed from sinking to swimming, even with the steep learning curves of new technologies, new people and learning how to handle the workplace.

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