Kelsey McKenna

IP - Middleware Platform

  • BSc Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Birmingham, University of
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • Cognito iQ

What was the interview process like?

There was an assessment centre day during which we completed some written exams to test our programming knowledge and ability. Next we had a team exercise with an interesting twist! Finally, I had a non-technical interview with my future manager.

How much responsibility do you have?

I have been able to take responsibility for many important tasks since I work in a self-organising agile

team. My team always trusts me with every task I undertake. I’ve been given the autonomy to work

unfettered by any doubts about my ability.

What advice would you give to students applying for your role?

Demonstrate diligence with your CV and cover letter in the application. You can prepare for the assessment centre with mock assessment centres and research. You can go the extra mile by reading the Cognito iQ blogs.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

I’m constantly learning new things. Sometimes it’s about the Cognito iQ platform, but mostly it’s new technologies and new ways of problem solving. When I’m at work, I explore the same software interests I have outside work, which is a pleasure.

What has been your biggest challenge?

It took time to learn how to navigate through the Cognito iQ platform, the new technologies, the world of Cloud, the terminology, and the agile process. After three or four weeks I had the enough knowledge to make a real contribution to the team.

Describe your biggest achievement.

One of our performance-enhancing services deployed in all of our environments was written entirely by me. The implementation involved writing the application code, making changes to several other services and architecting the solution for the Cloud.

How has this experience exceeded your expectations?

The balance of individual work and teamwork is great, and the teams are very talented. Most

importantly, I haven’t just learned about Cognito iQ, I’ve learned countless transferable technical and

non-technical skills that will benefit me for life.

What is the office atmosphere like?

It’s very friendly and relaxed, with an open atmosphere which is great for collaboration in, and between, teams. You are free to visit someone’s desk and they will be happy to help, and you can always put your headphones on if you want to get in the zone!

What activities are there outside of work?

Now and again someone will organise dinner or a pub night, and our team occasionally has a pub lunch. The company also has a big Christmas party every year.

How promising are the graduate prospects?

The company is very supportive of placement students, and many return after they graduate. The fun atmosphere and the exciting challenges ahead are more than enough to tempt people to come back!

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