I worked as a software engineer as part of a team preparing for an upcoming software release. That stage of the lifecycle mainly involved bug fixing but I had the chance to get some experience of requirements, design, code and testing
The work was interesting and varied and I gained experience which will be valuable when I go to interview for further placements and graduate positions. The location I worked was sometimes a bit boring and perhaps I need to be closer to home where I next work. However I'm glad I found this out now as it was only a short placement and it was a good learning experience.
My team was extremely helpful and always seemed happy to help me whenever I was stuck with anything. Not only that, but it was good to work alongside a group who were clearly interested in what they were doing, well motivated and very knowledgeable. I felt like I was part of the team straight away and my thoughts and opinions were always listened to and generally well received.
My manager had an excellent approach to supporting me. I was usually given some initial pointers with a task and left to investigate from there onwards. An emphasis was placed on having a broad understanding around the problem I was given which meant I learned much more from each task and improved my ability to explain each issue in depth including what was wrong and my proposed solution. Also, whenever I needed help I was guided towards the answer in a way that meant I still had to think.
The workload varied widely and sometimes I had a good manageable amount of work to be getting on with. However sometimes when I finished a task there would be a long wait for another task, although this was partly because of problems with security clearance meaning I was limited in the scope of what I could be assigned to. Sometimes it also felt like I had too much to do, as lots of tasks would pile up and then I'd have to wait again once I finished these.
Once I had finished the induction challenges I was given the same responsibilities as other members of my team, and was free to work on the tasks I was assigned as I saw fit. In terms of clocking in and out I was trusted to be accurate with my timesheet entries as our office had flexible working hours and I often arrived and left before others. Sometimes I couldn't pick and choose what I was working on but this was mainly down to what work was available and its perceived complexity and timescale.
This is one of the main reasons I applied for the placement and I'm extremely glad that I did. I will be applying for year long industry placements soon and the knowledge (both technical and otherwise) and skills I will be able to demonstrate in interviews will be invaluable, especially for some of the more competitive positions I'll be applying to. Not only this but my technical ability has increased, and I sure that next year at university it will be a huge asset.
The office was open plan, with managers and engineers all sitting together at their own desks. The atmosphere was very relaxed - it was easy and encouraged to go up and talk to people if you were having a problem or needed to ask them something and the people who sat around me were friendly and always willing to have a conversation.
My induction wasn't as thorough as it could have been which meant there were quite a few things I was uncertain about when I started such as who my managers were and the structure of the placement etc. There were some problems initially with my PC not being wiped clean before I started and accounts not being activated or set up for several days once I started. From my understanding this was a problem across the site and had been an issue since the IT support had been outsourced but it was a distraction at a time when there is the most amount of new information.
There was an administrative error that meant I wasn't able to get export control clearance which probably resulted in the workflow inconsistencies I described earlier as it limited what I was able to work on. I was told near the end of the placement that I should have been given this clearance but by this point it was too late to have it before I finished. Although not a major issue, it was very frustrating as there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening.
There were also some administrative problems in the payroll department meaning all of the interns were paid twice. Although this isn't the fault of the placement managers, it was another inconvenience which you wouldn't expect from such a large and well respected company.
Objectives were set for me near the start of my placement and I had regular reviews with my manager to assess my progress and reflect on how I was working and what we thought we could improve moving forward. These meetings were really useful as it's rare in an education environment to have feedback on the way you work as well as the quality of the work you're producing.
I'm unlikely to work with the company again. This is partly down to the administrative problems I've described and also due to the fact I've had a chance to reflect on the company policy, including who they do business with and following this I've decided it's not something I'm comfortable associating with.
We often ate lunch together and occasionally ate out as a group. We also would regularly talk while at work, often about what we were doing as there were a few of us on the same project team which could be really useful if you weren't sure about something as there was always someone else at your level to ask. We didn't do much outside of work but this was mainly due to the geography of where we lived, it was very spread out and there wasn't much we could do.
The cost was reasonable however there wasn't much to do outside of work. I did however manage to get a good deal on gym membership for the 3 months I was here which I was happy with as it meant I could really focus on my fitness over the summer as it was right between work and where I lived.
Next to none, did go out for dinner a couple of times when my parents visited but nowhere near as good as going to somewhere with a student population.
Very early on I was asked if I wanted to play 5 a side football at lunchtimes so I often did that with some of my colleagues, also I had the chance to play in a rounders tournament with some of the apprentices who had been working there for a while. This was good as I got to meet some new people and feel more a part of the company. There were some social nights on Thursday's but I only went to a couple of these as I found myself busy a lot of the rest of the time.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)