My time at National Instruments has been an invaluable experience that has provided me with a range of industry standard skills and memorable experiences.
The placement began with me receiving a significant amount of training on the National Instruments tools that ensured I was proficient at using them. This is the same training that is given to industry customers at a significant cost. Throughout the placement I was also given ongoing training on both technical aspects such as programming within LabVIEW but also on communication and interpersonal skills. These skills are fundamental to the modern engineering role and have significantly boosted my employability as a Mechanical Engineer.
My primary role at National Instruments was as an Applications Engineer, the role entailed working with a number of customers to support them with National Instruments products and ensure their success. Due to the vast range of industries and customers that NI serves, I had the opportunity to work on exciting applications with a number of well-known companies. I was also able to expand my engineering knowledge by working with cutting edge technologies and gain experience using my knowledge in areas other than just Mechanical Engineering.
Whilst working as an Applications Engineer I was also given the opportunity to interview for a three-month rotation into a sales or marketing position. Having attained the sales position I spent this time developing my professional selling skills and received extensive training on how to work with customers and sell complex, technical products. I was also given a vast amount of responsibility including managing my own time but also overseeing large value opportunities from qualification right through to the sale itself.
Throughout the year there were opportunities to develop my own applications using the National Instruments tools. I was given a week to produce a product using data acquisition hardware and the LabVIEW graphical programming environment. I produced a blink to speech system ( m(eye)DAQ ) which went on to be featured on the Loughborough University website, ITV news and various news sources around the world (Hong Kong, Taiwan, India). The fact that I was able to create a project with such a significant impact in such a small amount of time showed how valuable all of the training that I received was.
Further to the individual project, I was also given the opportunity to develop a larger project as part of a group. Despite being an intern I was able to take responsibility for managing them team. The team consisted of both interns and graduates from the Applications Engineering department. Over the course of 3 months the project gave all members of the team the chance to develop multiple skills from technical knowledge through to project management and presentation skills. The projects and presentations were seen by people from all over the company in a number of positions, this gave all members significant exposure and the chance to demonstrate our skills.
Further to the extensive training and development of invaluable skills, my time at National Instruments has given me a wealth of memories and experiences with an outstanding group of people. As part of a group of around 20 interns, I had the opportunity to work alongside and socialize with a number of like-minded individuals. Throughout the year a number of social events were organized and funded by National Instruments including: bbq’s, a pub quiz, a Christmas party and an entire employee appreciation week. Further to this, the friendly and open nature of the company encouraged many people to organize events outside of work and so there was never a shortage of things to partake in. The friendly and welcoming nature of both the existing employees and the other interns is what made the placement year such an enjoyable and memorable experience.
In summary, my placement year at National Instruments has been a fantastic experience that gifted me a wealth of knowledge and experience. It has thoroughly developed me into a more rounded engineer with a number of sought after skills. The memories and experiences from this placement along with the outstanding National Instruments employees make this a placement I would strongly recommend.