Applicant FAQs

This page lists the common questions that we receive from candidates, trainees and consultants throughout the programme.
When you’re submitting an application

When you’re interviewing
I am not sure if I am eligible to apply, how do I determine this?
You can read about eligibility criteria on our website here
And click on the “Eligibility” tab
Can I apply if I have an A-level equivalent (eg. B-Tech, Scottish Higher)?
Yes. We accept any A-level equivalent, regardless of the subjects chosen for the examination.
What can I do to prepare for Stage 2?
We’re looking for three key areas in this interview - your motivations, how you learn and understand a technology company, and how much coding you have done. Please prepare accordingly.
We want you to set yourself up well so that we can see the best of you. So,
Conduct the interview in a quiet well-lit space where you won't be disturbed.
Make sure the camera is fixed (don't make the interviewer dizzy!) and produce a good picture.
Dress in a way that shows you're serious about the opportunity; we don't want to find someone who wants a job but someone who wants this job.
Think about your answers in advance and prepare notes. You don't need to prepare slides (though you can if you want) but your answers should be clear and structured.
Prepare questions for us to ask at the end. Have a think in advance about what you'd like to hear more about, what will effect you, what you’re worried about, etc.
‍Be yourself. We don't want the atmosphere to feel stiff or formal.
Don't worry about being caught out by "trick questions" because there won't be any. We genuinely want you to succeed, so don't worry about unintentionally giving the "wrong" answers.
Feel free to take your time to reflect before answering a question. It's better to take a 20 seconds to collect your thoughts than to launch into an answer that doesn't reflect what you really think.
Treat it like a conversation. There’s nothing wrong with being concise, but equally one sentence answers won’t give us a full picture of what makes you great.
For the call, please choose a technology company that you have not heard of before and be prepared to have a 10 minute discussion with us. You might cover (among other things):
Why your chosen company is exciting.
Why your chosen company is (in your opinion) superior to its competitors?
Try to find reasons that aren't superficial: what impact could it have in 10 years, what is special about its technology, etc.
You don’t need to prepare a speech or presentation, but you should have thoroughly researched your company and know what you are going to talk about in our discussion
In this interview, we want to hear more about you and your motivations, how you do things and why. Please take a bit of time to think about this in relation to Sigma Labs and software or data engineering as a career. In particular we want to know:
What motivated you to make your educational and work choices so far?
What made you think that working in tech would be good for you?
What could you imagine doing in technology?
Why you think Sigma Labs is what you're looking for?
What motivates you to do your best work?
If I am rejected, how soon can I reapply?
If you are rejected you can reapply in 6 months’ time.
How soon after being progressed should I book my interview?
We recommend booking the next stage of the recruitment process, a Stage 2 Interview or a Stage 3 Technical Assessment within 2 to 3 weeks of being progressed.
How can I cancel or reschedule my interview?
In your email associated calendar, there should be an invite to your Stage 2 Interview or Stage 3 Technical Assessment. In the description of that invite, towards the end of it, there are two links for either cancelling or rescheduling your interview with us. Alternatively, you can email us and we can provide the link for cancelling or rescheduling your interview.
When will I hear back from my interview?
We aim to get back to applicants regarding the outcome of their assessment within 5 to 7 working days. If you have not heard back from us by that point, please feel free to get in touch.
What should I do if I want to withdraw my application?
If you wish to withdraw or put your application on hold, please email and let us know as soon as possible.
How can I start coding?
We have several resources on our website, whether you want to know what a career as a software and data engineer entails or if you want to start coding. This section can be found in the “About Us” page. under “Resources”.
When you’re training
Who will I be trained by?
Your training will cover both technical and professional skills. Our coaches have a wide background in cutting-edge, high-impact education in technical engineering from CodeYourFuture, Social Hackers Academy and Cambridge Intelligence.
How many people are in a cohort?
Our cohorts usually consist of between 14 and 20 people
What happens if I want to withdraw from training?
If you wish to leave the course at any point during the training, you may be subject to the appropriate percentage of course fees, depending on how far into the programme we are.
We assess this on a case-by-case basis depending on a variety of factors (e.g. reasons for leaving, how far we are through the course)
Can I talk to current consultants / past trainees?
Not at the moment - however, we’re in the process of bringing in current consultants and past trainees to have Q&A sessions.
How are we assessed during the training programme?
You are assessed every week using a mix of technical assessments and mastery quizzes. A technical assessment is where you produce a solution to a problem based on that week’s teaching.
We also use a form of mastery learning; mastery learning in its purest form means you do not move on to the next thing until you have mastered the previous skill. It’s not time-limited so if it takes a day or a month it doesn’t matter. However, we are time-limited so trainees complete mastery quizzes on Thursdays with the intention of using Fridays to work on areas they didn’t get right.
What does a normal day look like?
Every day will start at 9am when we gather online for announcements and a kick-off for the day. Every day has at least two workshops, led by one of our coaches, that will guide you through the content for the week.
In the intervening time, you’ll be working either individually or in small groups through the coursework for the week.
What will I learn during training?
We tailor our course to meet the demands of our clients - the most important outcome is that you have the technical and professional skills to excel in work with a client.
We currently offer a blend on
Software Engineering
Data Engineering
Cloud Engineering
Platform Engineering
Ultimately we will decide to teach you the skills that will give you the highest chance of being placed with a client.
Can I work from the office during training?
Currently, we have a remote-first approach during the training programme meaning all teaching is completed online.
We have trainees from all over the UK, therefore we try to treat everyone equally in terms of the working environment. We have several tips and tricks to help you set up an ideal working environment, so please do let us know what we can help with there.
Will I be paid during training?
Currently, we cannot provide income during the training period. The starting salary post-transition, once you are placed with a client, is £30k.
Can I work full-time or part-time during training?
Our training requires a full-time commitment from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Since the initial 12 to 16-week period is unpaid, we understand the need for a stable income, whether through a part-time or full-time job.
In our experience, a full-time position along with the training is not manageable however part-time work outside of these hours is.
Can I complete/continue other studies while training?
We require all of our trainees to have completed a degree prior to the start date of the training. As our training requires a full-time commitment, a second obligation which would also require 35 to 40 hours a week, would not be ideal.
Can I take time off during training?
We recommend that you commit to the training as much as possible. However if you have a previous commitment with friends or family (such as graduation) or if you are feeling poorly, depending on the number of days you require, we will treat these requests on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if I don’t pass the training?
We very rarely come across this case. Our training is built in such a way that will be achievable for every trainee part of the cohort. On top of that, the Sigma Labs team will be here to support you during the entire 12 to 16 weeks of the training, both on a technical and professional skills level.
Do I need to move to London for training?
No. Once you are made an offer with a client, we will discuss a start date suitable to your needs as well. After we agree on a start date, you can commit to a move to London.
Who pays for any travel or overnight expenses when visiting the London office?
We do!
We will reimburse any travel costs that you need to make to come to London during the training. This includes travel and accommodation if you are based further outside London.
Who are the invited speakers during training?
We have a wide network of speakers from leading members of multi-national consultancy firms to CEOs of tech start-ups addressing climate change.
We aim to have speakers every three weeks through the training.
When you’re working with a client
When should I move to London?
Once you have an offer secured from a client and we start the onboarding process with their company, we advise that you start the process of relocating.
How does the transition period work?
Once you have completed training, we set up interviews with companies interested in hiring you. These usually consist of two interviews, a competency one, which is a bit like this, and a more technical discussion where you will talk through a project you have done. If they want you, you could start within a couple of weeks. We will look beyond our client list if we can’t find a suitable client. We would not earn anything in this case, but you will have found a good role in tech.
Can I work during the transition period?
As you will need to be available for client interviews, we would like to know your availability and notice period for a start date ahead of time.
Can I take time off during the transition period?
You are welcome to take time off during the transition period. If you want to do so, please let us know ahead of time, as we will have to make your availability for interviews known to clients as well.
Do I have a choice in where I work?
Like any consultancy, we fundamentally have the final decision on where you go, but we do try to consider your preferences. A few weeks before the end of the training programme, we send out a survey to the trainees asking for their preferences. We also produce a bio based on the coaches’ thoughts on your strengths. Using all of this info, we try to find the best fit.
Who are your clients?
We don’t generally say who our clients are as we don’t want to set expectations where the trainee thinks, “I’m going to get a job with X”, as it is far from guaranteed. We work with a wide range of clients, from multi-national consultancies and high street brands to smaller tech firms which provide web solutions.
How do you support your consultants during the two years?
We are there the entire time you are there. If you have any questions or issues, please don't hesitate to get in touch at any point. When you start, we will meet with you once a week to ensure you settle in nicely. Hopefully, everything goes well, and after a couple of months, we’ll switch to monthly catch-ups. We also meet with the client monthly to hear their perspective and address potential issues. Let us know if you have any training requirements or qualifications you would like, and we’ll see what we can arrange. Finally, you’ll be part of the Sigma Labs network, and so will enjoy any events or networking opportunities.
Who will be supporting me when working with clients?
We will! Sigma Labs will become your support system and be there to advocate for you during your time as a consultant with a client. We genuinely want you to succeed by the end of 2 and a half years with us, and we will do our best to make that happen. To begin with, we will meet once a week and check in with how you’re doing (settling in and initiating a few onboarding tasks with your team). These catch-ups will eventually move to a monthly basis. On top of this, we will be there to help with any needed additional training or professional development goals.
Will there be any support available if I have any questions?
Yes! We will have the same means of communication as during training (including email, Slack, Zoom and phone numbers). We will answer any questions you have as often as needed. Every member of the Sigma Labs team will be checking these communication channels, so you are sure to get a response to your question within the same day.
What happens if the client no longer wants me to work for them?
What happens if I want to leave the position with the client?
Will I be with only one client for the whole two years?
Yes, this is the best way to develop a particular set of skills throughout the programme. You will gain valuable insight into your position as a junior consultant and, most likely, a chance to stay with the client longer term (past the two-year commitment) if you wish to do so.
What type of positions will be available?
Our current positions are junior roles - either as a data engineer or software engineer
What happens after the second year? Can I stay with the client?
It’s entirely up to you! Broadly there are three options; you can stay with the client if they offer you a role; you can stay with us and work as a senior developer with a different client; or you find another position you’d like to do. After two years, you should have highly sought skills and experience, meaning you should have several opportunities open to you.
Do you have any clients outside of London? Are there possibilities of working in locations other than London?
Currently, all of our roles are based in London. Some of our clients have multiple offices, and once you’re in, who knows where you might end up.
Can I work for Sigma Labs after I have worked client-side?

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