Students in this role work on improving and adding to the VDS (Virtual Drilling Simulator), which is used for data analysis of oil rig operation. Additionally, they are also required to give computing assistance to the scientists.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I generally enjoyed it a lot. I had a lot of freedom as an employee, and Cambridge is a beautiful city to work in. The atmosphere has been great. I have felt like a proper member of the team, with a lot of control over my work and the direction it has taken.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My opinion has always been acknowledged and considered by my colleagues. I haven't felt like "just an intern", but an actual employee who is treated with the same level of respect as everybody else. Much of the work I've been given has been tasks that only I have the knowledge to complete, which has certainly reinforced this belief.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager took a lot of time to make sure I was able to carry out my work without any problems, and at what stage I was at with a given task. That said, most of the other staff members primarily have a background in science, whereas the work I do is programming. Often this has lead to me needing to solve complicated problems by myself, as no-one else is able to assist me.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As the job is research-based, the projects I work on rely heavily on one's initiative. Thus, I have had a strong control over the amount of work I do. This means I've been able to maintain my own balance, and not be too constrained by deadlines, or bored from a lack of things to do. However, this might be a problem for someone who dislikes such freedom.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility. After becoming familiar with the software I would be working with, I was allowed (and encouraged) to make my own suggestions about what projects I could work on. All of the work I have done on my placement have been things that I suggested myself.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
From a pure programming perspective, the knowledge and general experience I've gained will help in any similar circumstance. However, as I intend to enter into a different industry after finishing university, it may not be the case that everything I've learned will be transferable. This is more due to my own plans rather than being a fault of the company.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My office was very relaxed in general. I shared it with one other intern, with whom I worked. We had enough resources on hand to do everything we needed, and enough space each. Unfortunately the position of our office is close to large machinery used for engineering tests, which makes a lot of loud noise every so often.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Schlumberger has a long history recruiting interns for placement years, which is made clear by how well they organise everything. The training I had was very well planned out from the start. Everything I needed to know was made very clear from the beginning, and I was quickly introduced to everybody I would need to know to get help with whatever I needed.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The internship for my position lasts 14 months, with a two-month handover period between the old and new intern. This system works such that the experienced intern can teach the new intern everything they've learned over the past year, to minimise the knowledge lost after an intern leaves. This is effective, since the company didn't need to invest in external training materials, but the knowledge can still be passed on. Of course, anything not taught in those two months then IS lost.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
While I have really enjoyed my time here, I have been planning on entering a different industry upon finishing my degree, and this placement hasn't swayed me in a different direction. Thus I consider it highly unlikely that I will pursue a career here further down the line. My main goal in completing a placement here was to get a sense of what the programming industry is like in general.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes. There are a lot of interns at Schlumberger (roughly 20), with a wide range of interests so we're always doing things outside of work. Some new hobbies I've picked up since coming here are badminton, rock climbing, and knitting, none of which I'd done much of before. I've made some friends that I'll definitely keep in touch with after I finish here.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cambridge is one of the most expensive cities in England. As such, it costs quite a lot to live here. I ended up renting outside, and I drive to/from work about half an hour each way. Interns don't make as much as a full-time employee, meaning you have to be quite careful with your money, more so than usual.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Cambridge is well known for it's large range of pubs. There's a very wide variety, which is great for somebody like me since that's what I prefer. However, the nightclub scene is sorely lacking, so if that's what you're interested in you'll be disappointed. In the end it depends on what you enjoy.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were. Aside from social events with other interns, everyone in the company was often invited to tech events within Cambridge, such as workshops and presentations. Once a year in summer the company has a special event, where they hire segways, bouncy castles, zorb balls and other stuff like that. There were free drinks too.