20 Sep Ask an Employer: A Q&A with Accenture

Ask an Employer: A Q&A with Accenture

Code Institute’s Industry Advisory Council exists for a few reasons: The IAC advises Code Institute on what they look for in employees, we collaborate on what languages we should include in course material, and Code Institute and the IAC sometimes work together on recruitment drives.

We talked to James Ryan, Technical Architect in Accenture about software roles in the company, career advice and the company’s culture.

What kind of software roles are there in Accenture?
People who work in Accenture Technology use their skills to help our clients transform the world around them.  We help shape and implement new and emerging technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.  We adopt a range of methodologies such as design thinking, DevOps and agile to work with our clients to design and implement solutions to stay ahead of the digital curve.

We currently offer roles across the full software development lifecycle; requirements gathering and analysis, design, implementation or coding, testing, deployment and maintenance. The implementation technologies range from modern technologies such as Hadoop and Angular to legacy Cobol and Mainframe.

What does Accenture look for in staff in general? Do you have any tips for someone being interviewed?
My advice to candidates would be to review the Accenture.com website, so they are familiar with the type of work we do and our corporate values. Our Newsroom will have the latest Press Releases from around the globe, including information on mergers and acquisition activity, that demonstrate how our company is growing and the capabilities we are investing in.

Collaboration is important in a company of this scale. We look for people who can demonstrate an ability to work with local and global teams to leverage best practices and share learnings. There’s rarely a problem that someone, somewhere hasn’t encountered, so being able to tap into these networks and ask the right questions is key.

To get a flavour for our culture, I suggest checking out our social media channels, we are active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s where we share people’s stories and corporate citizenship activity.

On a very practical note we now have three buildings in our Accenture Dublin Campus, so make sure to double check you have the right address when you are coming to an interview!

Lastly, we greatly value individuality. (Respect the Individual is one our core values.) We actively encourage our people to bring their authentic self to work, so remember to be yourself!

Is there a culture in Accenture of promotion or training?
Absolutely. Promotions are based on meritocracy. Many of our current managing directors started on our graduate programme. We also encourage our people to take advantage of the scale of Accenture and explore lateral moves to build a breadth of skills and capabilities.  The variety of work means endless opportunities!  

Training and ongoing development is key. And something we are very proud of. We have an excellent online training system that can help you create and navigate a learning plan from online courses, through to specialist residential schools. Globally, Accenture has five regional learning centres, one of which is based here in Dublin. In addition, we have lot of informal opportunities to learn, such as a virtual and in-person Communities of Practice.

What’s more important for Bootcamp grads to have, in your opinion; expertise in a particular programming language, a good project, or something else?
A good example of project(s) where individuals have demonstrated that they understand how things work is definitely a plus in my view. If the project demonstrates the use of technologies that are applicable to our clients, that is a bonus.

 What do the most successful software developers in Accenture have in common?
There are lots of things that make a successful software developer but if I was to narrow it down to three things they would be:

1: They are excellent problem-solvers.
Our Software Developers need to get their arms around different and complex problems to solve on a regular basis.  The ability to research and come up with innovative yet pragmatic solutions is a critical skill.  Knowing how to dissect a log file with a million lines to find where the  bug is faster than anyone else on the team can be challenging and rewarding.

2: They write clean, reusable code that’s easier to read and test.  
There are plenty of ways to write clean code that’s easier to reuse, read, and test—but no matter the method for getting there, it’s an increasingly crucial characteristic of high-quality software development.

3: They understand the business problem that we are trying to solve / where their bit “fits in”.
Great developers always understand how the company works at a business level and can speak the business’ language, translating business language to technology and vice versa.

What advice do you have for those starting off in a coding/software dev career?
It was a while ago at this stage, and prior to me joining Accenture, but when I started out I mastered a small number of technologies.  I believe it set the foundations for what I do today.  I was lucky in that I got great training from my employer. 

So, at the beginning focus on becoming a specialist in a few programming languages. Don’t just learn the syntax but learn how it is working under the covers and how the language interacts with the runtime environment, performance dials, memory usage etc.  Be inquisitive.  The problem today is that there are so many languages out there, rapidly changing, people are often jumping from one to the other and while they can get something working they often do not understand how it really works.  

I believe once you have mastered a few languages you can very quickly learn another and understand the concepts of different runtime environments…or at least know what questions to ask about the environment when something goes wrong.


Download Code Institute’s brochure here