Chris Harrison

Mobile Analyst

  • MEng Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence
  • York, University of
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • Vauxhall

Can You Give Us A Brief Overview Of The Mobility Area

Seeing first-hand the development of an app within the business has given me a valuable insight into the processes and methodologies that the company uses when creating new software, and I feel this will be invaluable in the future since the skills I’ve learnt are certainly transferable.

What Is A Typical Day Like For You?

My day begins pretty much the same each day. I come in, login to my PC and check for any emails. I work with a team of developers in the US, so due to the time difference there a normally quite a few from them.

This is probably the point when any repetitive day-to-day structure ends. My role is primarily project based, which means each day is different. Currently, my role is probably easiest to split into 3 areas.

Firstly there are my responsibilities with regards to the development of mobile apps. With each stage of production the US development team will send a build to my team. We will test the apps and find bugs and faults as well as directing the developers on how to proceed with Improvements. My specific role within this is not only to find the bugs, but to also collate everyone else’s findings and report back to the developers. I will also mock up designs of possible solutions when decisions need to be made by the business regarding how a particular function will be implemented within the app.

There has also been a research side to my role. I’ve been looking into all of the other competing apps that other companies are producing and seeing which features they have including in their apps, which apps are most popular etc etc… all to help ensure we produce the best apps we can.

Thirdly, once a month I report back to the business an analysis of the current state of the apps which have already been released to the public. Providing download and usage stats both globally and to specific markets, analysing causes for possible spikes and anomalies. But again this is only a monthly report so my day usually consists of working towards projects related to the new apps.

How Much Responsibility Have You Been Given During Your Placement?

Within my role, I actually get a lot of responsibility. A large proportion of my job is the testing the apps and finding faults to document and report back to the development team. I have also been given the opportunity to conduct research within the mobile app industry and then present back to the mobility senior directors with my findings.

What Has Been The Highlight Of Your Placement So Far?

I think it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact highlight, so it’s probably just best here to say, that it’s going well. Everyone is very approachable and willing to lend a hand. The atmosphere is relaxed and you are treated like any other employee and not just a temporary child who needs babysitting.

What Is The Social Life Like As A Placement Student At Vauxhall?

It’s actually very good, both inside and outside of work. Before starting our placement a Facebook group was created which had all of the placement students invited to it. The first week of work we had a lot of presentations to teach us about the business during the day, then in the evening there was a social schedule where events had been organised for us. These included meals, pub-golf, nights out and a casino night. It was almost like a much tamer freshers.

Luton is surprisingly not terrible when it comes to going out. It has a couple of clubs and cheap drinks on student nights (liquid discounts entry for Vauxhall employees). Luton has good transport so it’s only a cheap train to and from London and not far from Watford. Most weekends there is something going on, whether it be a birthday or just people fancying a night out. People will just post on the Facebook group and you can usually expect to get quite a good group of people out.

How Has Working At Vauxhall Improved Your Career Prospects?

My placement so far has taught me a range of skills and some of the training provided has been massively helpful. Meetings I’ve attended and presentations I have made so far have improved my communication and presentation skills which are fundamental in the business environment.

Seeing first-hand the development of an app within the business has given me a valuable insight into the processes and methodologies that the company uses when creating new software, and I feel this will be invaluable in the future since the skills I’ve learnt are certainly transferable.

More than anything I think this placement year is giving me the work ethic I definitely needed during my previous University years. I intend to apply this for my final 2, which hopefully will allow me to fully utilise my time when I return to University

More Engineering case studies

Share this case study