1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
During my placement I had a chance to learn a new programming language and practise it by working on an exciting project, which is definitely a plus. I also had a chance to become familiar with various programming libraries and useful tools, which I'm sure will come in handy when I go back to uni. I have to admit that at the very beginning I struggled with working on the same thing all day every day (it was difficult to focus and remain motivated) but I feel like I adapted after 2-3 months and started loving my job. This is probably the first time when I've been doing something for so long and still haven't got bored with it so I guess that means I could actually work in this field/do similar work in the future (which is a rather positive discovery).
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I feel like I was taken seriously, despite being a student, and I don't think anyone treated me differently just because I'm a woman in this male dominated field (which is always nice). Everyone was welcoming and happy to answer any technical questions I had. I became good friends with a few of the young permanent employees and had good conversations with a few other people so I'm quite happy with my colleagues.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisors were always willing to give me advice and explain things to me. If they were busy at a given moment, they'd always get back to me. One of my supervisors, who I worked with for 2/3 of my placement, would occassionally send me articles and extra information related to my project or something I discussed with him, which was really nice. My manager was very friendly, approachable and understanding, and I feel like I could always talk to him.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I never really had a day when there was nothing to do. I was working on my projects every day and when I was done with one feature, there was always something else to do - adding more features / running tests / improving the performance (all of which are core parts of my job). I would always finish my project a couple of days before the deadline and spend the remaining time doing some quality checking or preparing a presentation for a knowledge share about a given project. My workload wasn't overwhelming and I knew I could manage it so I think the management knew how much they can expect from a student
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I worked on 3 four-month-long projects during my placement, which set clear deadlines for when the work needs to be done. I was working on all my projects alone so I wasn't dependent on other people's progress nor they were on mine. I feel like people trusted me with the work I was doing - my supervisors would occassionally check on me if I weren't talking to them for a week or so, but other than that I think I was quite independent
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I learned a new programming language as well as a bunch of useful tools, which I think I will be able to use while working on my final year project and potentially in future jobs. I gained lots of confidence when it comes to my programming skills (wasn't the most confident programmist before starting this job) and improved my analytical and problem solving skills, which I believe are transferable skills in the field of engineering/computer science. My work as well as knowledge sharing sessions and coversations with my colleagues increased my interest in the technical topics in my field so I feel like when I return to uni, the topics covered in lectures will look more applicable and I will be a bit more of a well-rounded engineer
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was quite casual, which I really liked. I feel like the younger engineers and more experienced people were treated in the same way, and the management were approachable. It didn't feel like one of those offices where people just come, do their work and leave - people would talk by the water fountain, get lunch or coffee together, occassionally do something after work...
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
On the day me and another girl were starting, we arrived at the office but were forgotten about and no one came to greet us on time, which then meant we missed the induction session and couldn't get our IDs printed for yet another week. Apart from that everything went smoothly - didn't have any issues with HR or other employees.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I learned most things from the internet or from my project supervisor. My project supervisor would send me links to good courses and then I would go through them (and ask my supervisor questions when needed), he/she would occassionally sit with me and teach me things that I was confused about. I didn't attend any external training sessions. I attended a mindfulness workshop Sony organised for the mental health awareness week, which was nice.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
As far as I'm aware, the company doesn't have a grad scheme (at least not in my department) and during my year at Sony three young people from my team left yet no one new came to replace them. I'd be happy to go back and work for Sony again after I graduate (I think the project my team is working on are interesting and I would happily work on them), however I'm not sure how easy getting a job here would be, considering the lack of a grad scheme, no new employees in the past 10 months and the fact that probably a half of the under 30's from my team left this year and there aren't as many young engineers left (and you don't really want to be surrounded exclusively by people with kids and mortgages)
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The placement students would organise something almost every other week - a night out, a chill meetup at somebody's place or a dinner/drinks thingy, and many people would have lunch/tea breaks or play in the games room together. Because of starting a month or two later than most interns, I found it a bit more difficult to make friends since people already knew each other when I started and perhaps weren't as interested in meeting yet another person (which, to be fair, is understandable and I would probably do the same). I did make a few friends among the interns however, personally, I prefered to hang out with the young permanent staff from my department (matter of interests / lifestyle I guess...).
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Basingstoke is extremely boring so even though the cost of living here isn't too high, I would go somewhere almost every weekend and, as we all know, train tickets and eating out cost some money. The cheapest/easiest alternative was Reading (roughly 20 mins away by train, 4 quid for a return ticket), going to London was a bit pricey. Basingstoke has a few pubs (you can play darts or pool in some of them) and some of the most popular restaurants as well as a big shopping centre (seemingly the main attraction in Basingstoke)
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I went to a few pubs in Basingstoke, which weren't too expensive and the atmosphere in them was nice, no creepy people or anything. As far as I know there is only one club in Basingtoke and most interns have been there at least once... People would usually go to bars/clubs in Reading which is a bit more of a lively place. There are no trains Reading-Basingstoke after 11.30pm but you can always get a cab which isn't too bad. I personally didn't really feel like exploring such options so this is coming only from what I've heard.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There is literally nothing to do in Basingstoke. I would go to the gym and for an occassional walk in a local park but apart from that there was nothing. You could go shopping I guess or get food/coffee in one the chain restaurants/cafes. There is a big cinema (or maybe even 2?) but they only play the block buster movies which I personally find really boring. If I wasn't doing things alone, I was spending my time hanging out with people. I guess you could probably find some volunteering opportunities if you're into this kind of stuff