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Labs introduces Queen Mary students to ‘new breed’ of jobs

February 18, 2019

Labs introduces Queen Mary students to ‘new breed’ of jobs

“A lot of the students were studying non-tech disciplines: sciences, engineering, business, language, economics,” stated Nima Al-Shakarchi, Product Manager at Labs, about the recent Student Day visit from Queen Mary University. “We wanted to debunk the idea that you need a technical background to work in tech. There are a massive amount of new jobs in tech that aren’t related to programming.”

Alex Garcia, a data scientist at Labs, further explained, “There are far more alternatives to traditional jobs than students are presented with at career fairs. We tried to convey, not only that, but that these new breed of jobs are actually more interesting and lucrative in the long term.”

Sam Handfield-Jones, Growth and Innovation Director at Labs and Queen Mary alumnus, frequently speaks to student groups about careers in the changing job market. Sam observes that less than 5% of the students he’s spoke with are aware of the many exciting roles in tech for people with non-tech backgrounds.

Sam explained how workers who can learn and combine digital skills in tech, design, data and customer communications are currently at an advantage in many business sectors. “Octopus is a finance company, but our programmers, designers, product managers, and others share a broad range of digital skills,” stated Sam, “skills that are transferable to many other businesses sectors.”

“Sam's presentation was great,” stated Felicia Kodderitzsch, Business & Operations Manager, “he brought to life how exciting technology is and what it means for all of our future careers. Personally, I wish I had attended an event like this when I was at university. Being aware of the vast range of job titles in the start up/tech world — and that you don't have to box yourself into one fancy job title — would have saved me a lot of headaches.”

During Nima’s talk, he shared with the students his best advice on applying for tech jobs. “You have nothing to lose by applying for something — even if you don’t think you fit the required profile,” stated Nima. “And if you do land a job in a role you’ve never done before, don’t be scared. You were hired for a reason. You can learn a lot on the job. And sometimes what you need to know, you already do. It’s just a matter of applying that knowledge to a different context.”

“If I can help even a few people think about these career paths, then that's a win,” stated Sam about the broad range of work opportunities he outlined for the Queen Mary students. Sam added that these student visits also benefit Labs. “We get to meet lots of smart, enthusiastic graduates and talk about what Octopus is doing. Octopus is an innovative, diverse, flexible, modern company that invests in things that matter and its people. Getting that brand awareness out there is really important.”