Working as an intern on full stack coding projects. Primarily in TypeScript for the frontend and C# for the backend.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Working at Ghyston was a really enjoyable experience. The work was challenging and interesting so I never felt bored during my time here. As with any job, there were times of frustration trying to get my code to work but that only made it more satisfying when I was able to solve a difficult problem I was having.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The other employees here were very welcoming and made me feel part of the team very quickly. They were really friendly and helpful when I was having problems. They were happy to discuss the work I was doing and listened to any opinions and ideas that we had seriously so I felt like I was really part of the team and could actually bring about change.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My team leader was fantastic. He went out of his way to help me when I was having problems and gave constant great and very helpful advice to allow me to write code better and in a more maintainable way. He was also very friendly and approachable so I never felt scared of asking for help on something.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
We had a really good balance. There were no set work hours per day, so long as you were doing a good 5 days worth of work per week. This allowed me to be flexible in my work hours: spending a little more time in the office on days were I was really focused and productive and finishing a little early if I was getting frustrated and needed a break. This meant that when I was in the office, there was always work to do and make progress on. Equally, there were no tight deadlines that we were expected to meet so I never felt over worked or under pressure to do lots of extra work to meet a difficult target.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was working on a real project for the company. For the short term, this would only be an internal product with the idea to eventually sell it to other companies. Although not working for an external client, I, with the rest of the team I was working in, were still given quite a bit of autonomy within the project and our ideas were considered seriously when we had concerns about certain design decisions.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I was able to learn a huge amount about both web development (which is completely lacking in my university course) and working as part of a group on a real software development project with a real development pipeline. As more and more projects become web based, this will be extremely useful once I leave university and look for a real job.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office had a really relaxed environment. Everyone was friendly and if people wanted a little break to have a chat over a cup of tea or a game of pool, this was encouraged and helped make me feel relaxed as well. Equally, it was clear that people were working hard in order to deliver high quality code and that when people got down to it, they were really productive.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was well thought out with a good training program for the first two weeks to help get me up to speed. After this, I was started on a real project for the remaining 7 weeks. This was generally good and we had plenty of work but the design process seemed to be a little rushed with quite a few major changes at the start of the project due to changed requirements that meant that my team had to redo or change a lot of the code we had written in order to reflect these which was somewhat frustrating. We also had to work without knowledge of some parts of the system which had not been designed yet which added some unnecessary complexity.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We spent two weeks of just doing internal training which was a significant fraction of the internship. During this time, we weren't making the company any money and also required the more direct supervision of several employees who could otherwise have been working on client work. We also had several lectures from more senior employees to help improve our skills and understanding of topics. We didn't receive external training or get any professional certifications but I don't think this would have been necessary.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
As I have only completed one year of university study, I was not in a position to be looking for employment from them just yet as it would be at least 2 years until I'd start working. However, I was offered the chance of interning with them next year again. I was also invited to apply at a more appropriate time when I am looking for a more permanent position with them in the future and I think I stand a reasonable chance of getting a job there.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were lots of company morale events (including parties, paid outings / pub trips, etc.) which were good opportunities for getting to know fellow interns and other employees in the organisation.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Bristol is a fairly expensive city to live in compared to other cities further north. However, as part of my contract, I was offered accommodation as part of my salary which worked out to be a fairly cheap rate. This helped free up more money to spend on socialising and going out so that I could afford to do this more often than if I'd have had to find my own place to live over the summer whilst still allowing me to save a good amount of money for the future.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There were lots of bars, pubs and restaurants in the Bristol area. The office is right in the middle of the city centre so there's plenty of places to get a drink after work just around the corner. There was a good range of larger nightclubs and bars for people that want a big night out as well as smaller quieter places for people that just want to have a more relaxed evening out which was a nice balance.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I had a good amount of free time over the weekend so was able to go out and do things in my own time. There were also lots of optional evening events in the office (e.g. board games, watching films, etc.) which were good fun.