1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I was given a single main project to complete over my 10 week placement and the nature of the project was very interesting. It required me to get used to the way in which the code base was laid out. Once this initial effort had been put in it was fun to see how the end aim was achieved within the code and how my new code would fit into this.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Right from the first day I was invited to the team tea break and encouraged to socialize with them. When I made mistakes and caused possible problems their reaction was simply to give it back to me to fix instead of fixing it themselves. I appreciated this as it showed a level of trust and that there was at least an expectation that I was capable of fixing it rather than them simply assuming that they would have to fix it themselves.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The first two weeks were a crash course in C++ and during this time there was somebody in the room with the sole purpose of helping us. After this we were split into our different teams and assigned a supervisor. My supervisor was incredibly helpful and any question I had, no matter how obvious the answer, was welcome. If I asked anything that she did not know off the top of her head she would tell me who to ask instead and these other people were also very welcoming and helpful.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was given a single main project to complete over the course of the internship and I had a supervisor checking that I got on alright however there was no strict deadline on any work to be completed. On the first day with my team I was even told not to worry if the main project was not complete by the time I had to leave! As a result each day was ordinarily just going at a comfortable pace.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The project that I was assigned was heavily based off of existing code. This meant that much of the work was a straight forward restructure of the inheritance in existing code and did not require too much initiative. In addition we had a meeting before I started doing anything where we agreed on what classes would be required and what the structure would be. This meant that, although the supervision approach was fairly hands off, there were not too many areas in which I felt there were big decisions to be made. That having been said, anything where there was a choice to be made I did not feel pressured in any particular direction and felt the choice was in fact mine to be made.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My degree is in mathematics and the internship was in programming. For this reason I do not feel that it has aided much with my degree however that is more due to it being a different subject area than anything else. In terms of helping my future I believe that the biggest skill I have learnt is patience. This is a universal skill that is and will be useful in all walks of life.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Each morning there was a tea break during which we would have a friendly natter and during work hours there was a relaxed feel. Nobody would be looking over your shoulder to make sure that you're getting on with the work. Overall it had a good feeling coupled with a good work ethic.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I think that the sign of a well organised internship is that the intern is unaware of how much organisation had to go into it. The only point at which I was aware of a possible lack of organisation was that the team I was joining had expected me to arrive a day earlier than I actually did. If anything this means that the they were over prepared so I'm not sure that that can really be made into a complaint.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We had a two week crash course in C++ with one of their full time software developers a the beginning of the internship however, as with any programming language, this could most likely be done on the internet in the same time frame. After this we were each assigned a supervisor whose job was to oversee the work we completed. I think that the real investment made is in teaching us the specific knowledge relevant only to Autodesk code and processes. This does take time to get used to and is unlikely to be seen elsewhere however it does mean that they would rather bring you back at a later date as you will already know the idiosyncrasies that their system has.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
This is hard to say. Within the past couple of years the Birmingham office, which is where the programme takes place, got rid of about 10% of their staff. In addition to this the rate of pay at the Autodesk Birmingham office is less than that throughout the rest of Britain. However, despite these two facts, Autodesk appears to committed to continuing this graduate scheme and has confirmed that it will be running for the foreseeable future. Everyone that I asked has been offered a future position at Autodesk after having completed this internship. So, like I say, it is difficult to say exactly what the prospects are like.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
During the first week there were a couple of social events organised by Autodesk and then during subsequent weeks there were a couple of pub trips organised amongst the placement students. A shared house was organised by Autodesk for those who did not have a place to stay nearby however I did not live in it. Those who did were living together so I guess that they must have socialized.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
N/A I commuted from relatively far away.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
N/A I commuted from relatively far away.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a few social events organised in the first week of the internship where we got to know the other interns. In addition to this Autodesk employees cans set up social clubs, provided they get enough employees that wish to join, and all interns were welcome to join any of these clubs if we wished and come on any of the events that these clubs were putting on during our time at Autodesk.