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FAQs

This page lists the common questions we receive from candidates, trainees and consultants throughout the programme.

When you’re applying...

I am not sure if I am eligible to apply, how do I determine this?

You can read about eligibility criteria on our website
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. The application includes a text box where you can give further details you think are relevant.

What have successful candidates studied?

Out consultants studied a wide range of subjects both STEM and non-STEM. The majority have strong maths backgrounds and a smaller proportion studied computer science. However, a significant proportion studied subjects such as biology, psychology, sociology or philosophy.

How do I complete the online assessments?

If you application is successful you will receive two emails; one from us saying you have been progressed to the next stage; and one from Equalture (our assessment partner) which will have a link to the assessment. If you are successful at this stage you will then receive a link to the second assessment.

Can I do practice assessments?

You cannot practice the assessments before starting. Before each of the Equalture games you can complete a short practice to help you understand the controls and what is required.

Do the Equalture games have allowances for neurodiversity?

There are no allowances but the games have been tested for a wide range of backgrounds and neurodiversity and candidate experience is generally the same on average.

How soon after being invited should I book an interview or assessment?

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 or assessment?

When you book an interview or assessment you should receive a calendar invite. The invite will include options for either rescheduling or cancelling an email. Alternatively, if you are withdrawing from the process, you can let us know by completing this
.

What can I do to prepare for the interview?

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?

When will I hear back from my interview?

We aim to respond within a few days and no later than the end of that week. If you have not had response by the start of the following week, please get in touch.
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 at .

How will I complete the technical part in the interview process?

We use an online code editor called to code together online. You are welcome to sign up ahead of time to experiment with it.

How much coding do I need to know for the final assessment?

We created that sets out what we expect candidates to know.

What should I do if I want to withdraw my application?

If you wish to withdraw or put your application on hold, please complete the .

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 on the “” page under “Why work in tech”.

How much will I be paid?

Training is free but unpaid. If you are placed with a client you will be paid £30,000 in Year 1 and £38,000 in Year 2.

Why is training unpaid?

We would love to pay trainees but, at this early stage of our growth, we cannot afford to do so. In line with our mission to improve social mobility by improving outcomes over peoples’ full careers, we invest the vast majority of our income in providing the best education and support that we can. Some day we will also pay through training but for now we choose to invest in training and support.

If I am rejected, how soon can I reapply?

If you are rejected at the gamified assessment then you can reapply after 12 months as it is not possible to redo the assessment earlier than this. If you have been rejected at a later stage then you can reapply after 6 months.

When you’re training...

Who will I be trained by?

Your training will cover both technical and professional skills.
You can learn more about the training team here

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. 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 work 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 working 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.

How long is the training?

Our training is between 12 to 16 weeks with the average being 14 weeks. The length of our training depends on the client you will be placed at

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.

Can I fail the training?

Failure on the can course can and does happen for various reasons. We try our absolute hardest to prevent this from happening.
Unlike some of our competitors we do not overfill our cohorts with the expectation that people will fail out. Every people we accept on to the course, we have the full belief that they can and will succeed with us.

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.

What is the structure of the training?

We work from 09:00-18:00, Monday to Friday, you’ll have two workshops a day, and then you'll spend the rest of your time working through the coursework.
The course is self-paced; however, completing it every week is critical to staying on the path to success.

What technical skills can I expect to develop?

The only thing we guarantee is that you’ll solve problems daily using code - the subject matter will change depending on the course we’re teaching. This will vary depending on the clients that we’ve got coming in.
Broadly, you’ll become skilled in writing excellent code, solving complex problems and creating impact through technology.

I’m keen to learn about AI/ML/Data/Web Development/Crypto/etc is that possible?

At this time, we cannot guarantee what you will learn during the course or what client you’ll be placed at - there is a chance that you will land in a company that is in your desired industry/technology space, but this isn’t possible for all people, all of the time.
Ultimately, we will decide what you will be learning and the client you go to, to give you the best chance for long-term success.
If you have an extremely strong desire to go into a specific technology, then Sigma Labs may not be the best place for you as we - at this time - cannot guarantee any specific career path.

What kind of projects will I be working on during the training?

We use problem-based learning, meaning that we start with real-world problems first and then develop solutions based on those.
Some examples of projects are
Building a full stack Reddit/Twitter clone
Building scalable data pipelines for a Peloton-style company
Deploying complex web applications to the cloud
Additionally, all courses include a group project where you’ll gain experience in writing code in teams.
It’s worth reiterating - we make no guarantees on the projects you’ll complete during the course as these will change depending on our client list.

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 suggest that you begin relocating. We will try to keep you updated on possibilities from before you complete training to give everyone the best chance of aligning and preparing.

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 our Stage 2 Interview, and a more technical discussion where you will discuss 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. In this case, we would not make a return on our investment in you, but you will have found a good role in tech which is always our ultimate goal.

Can I work during the transition period?

As you will need to be available for client interviews, you will need to have some time to prepare and complete the interviews. If you do work, 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'd like 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 or which client I interview for?

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 work with a wide range of clients, from multi-national consultancies to high street brands to smaller tech firms across almost all areas of technology.
We don’t share our client list publicly.

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.

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, so there can be some flexibility here for some roles.
However, the expectation is that you are prepared to move to London for the role.
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