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Talking Talent with Cogapp

In the latest of our Talent Talk series, we had a chat with Cogapp, a multi-award winning digital media agency who are looking for a new members to join their friendly team in Brighton. 

Cogapp's ethos is to build a better online world, working with the likes of the British Library, MoMA, and the National Portrait Gallery (plus many more), to develop public-facing services that provide access to large amounts of valuable, interesting and engaging content. 

If you want to work for an established agency that has been working in digital innovation for more than 30 years, read on to see what they look for in a new team member...

Louise Cole, Deputy Production Director

When interviewing someone for your team, what are the key things you're looking for? 

When we meet someone who shares our values of sustainability, inclusivity and openness, we’re delighted. We're always on the lookout for bright, capable people; we don’t focus so much on qualifications and counting years of experience. We are much more interested in someone’s potential than their past. 

When interviewing for technical roles, it’s great to see an applicant’s previous projects and experiments to get a sense of their interests and how they approach a challenge. Enthusiasm, positivity and passion are all plus points, but you don’t have to be an extrovert to work with us. Our team includes all sorts of personalities and we like it this way – it’s invaluable.  

What opportunities are there for career progression at Cogapp?

We are dedicated to creating an environment in which people can thrive and do their best work. The majority of our team have been at Cogapp for over five years; people tend to stay with us long term. I think that’s because of our clients (often big-name national museums, galleries and archives), our colleagues (supportive, experienced and friendly) and ultimately our culture.

We are dedicated to creating an environment in which people can thrive and do their best work. 

We have a loose hierarchical structure, with progression to senior roles available for those who are interested in Tech Lead positions and more senior project management roles. Staff development is a key priority; every member of staff has a training and development plan. Internal and external courses are encouraged to develop broad career-enhancing skills, as well as technical chops. We’re often at conferences and have regular hackdays and skill-swapping sessions. 

Jon White, Senior Front-End Developer

What is your position, and how would you describe a typical working day?

As a Senior Front-End Developer I have responsibility to use my experience to guide and assist others, so I usually make time for checking in with our designer or helping other developers with technical issues or new techniques. My development time is usually spent bringing designs to life for online exhibitions, archives or museum sites, improving accessibility and solving coding problems. I’m often on client calls and I help to set our front-end development direction in proposals. 

What experience do you need for the role?

I don't believe there is only one path to get to my position. Academically I took a BTEC National Diploma for IT practitioners, which was my first real exposure to programming. I considered creativity and design awareness important for what I wanted to do, which led me to study BA Web Design followed by a decade of experience in the industry at lower levels. Computer Science degrees aren’t a must here at Cogapp.

Over time I've come to see having good personal qualities such as patience, inquisitiveness, adaptability and kindness as being just as vital to fulfilling my role and working with others.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Genuinely, it's most rewarding for me whenever I use my skills to help someone else. Be it a client, a user (and it does still blow my mind a bit to imagine thousands of people using something I've worked on), or one of my colleagues, it's just tremendously satisfying to put my skills to use to help others.

Noor ul Ain, Developer

What is your position, and how would you describe a typical working day? 

My work brings a new challenge every day. A typical day as a Developer at Cogapp might be: writing specifications for an archival PDF generator; developing a new feature to filter artworks in a collection; bug fixing; writing automated tests; generating accessibility reports for clients from Canada to New York or Abu Dhabi; or training for career development.

The work here is very diverse - it includes multilingual websites, online art collections and digital archives. We meet for lunch most weeks for ‘Tech Tuesdays’, which are colleague-led sessions. They’re great for learning new skills and sharing knowledge amongst the team. I like it this way, who wouldn’t love it in a supportive and friendly environment! 

What experience do you need for the role? 

I started programming at a very early age and learned about variables and loops long ago. I have a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering as I always knew that was the job for me. I have learned a lot in my professional life via real life use cases. So a mixture of learning and experience is required for this role. However, I get full training and support as new things come along.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

The variety of work I get to do. We might be working with artworks, manuscripts, ancient documents or brand new content. Being part of a software development project from planning to delivery is the best part. The team here is constantly collaborating between ourselves and with the clients, and all working towards a common goal is really satisfying.

We might be working with artworks, manuscripts, ancient documents or brand new content

It’s great to hear positive feedback from major national institutions when we deliver something new for them. I find it really rewarding to develop confidence each day by solving problems and learning more and more about every aspect of implementation and delivery. 

If you like the sound of working at Cogapp, you can check out their latest job vacancies here

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