The placement provided me with valuable skills. I also gained a lot industry knowledge. Metaswitch hired me without requiring any prior experience in programming and the trained me up from scratch. The culture was also very nice, there were no politics and everyone was happy to help. The company organises a lot of social activities and employees have good work-life balance.
My colleagues went above and beyond requirements to make me feel included at work. We went on team lunches and to the pub for special occasions. They treated my opinions seriously from day one even though there was a serious knowledge gap between them and I. They also never treated me as anything less than a fully capable employee.
Support guidance was always available when necessary. Later on during the placement sometimes my manager/supervisor would of course be busy, but they would always make the time to explain things to me. I was left to work on my own pace and ask questions when I got stuck. This system worked quite well.
The workload was always perfect. The reason for this is that the only person an employee got assigned work by was himself/herself. The company assumed you wanted to do as well as you possibly could. With this assumption in place, they let you take on as much or as little work as you liked knowing that you can estimate your efficiency better than anyone else.
My team made a point of giving me meaningful work from day one. Since my work always got used in practice, there was always a level of accountability. During my 6-month placement, I started doing bigger and bigger pieces of work. I was the only responsible for justifying the logic behind my actions at all times.
It will help me a lot. Even though my placement was not strictly in my subject area - I did my placement in Software Engineering, I study Electrical Engineering - I learned a lot of transferrable skills. These include time management, self improvement, critical analysis and communication. There is also a bit of technical overlap between Software and Electrical Engineering.
The workplace was fairly relaxed in attitude. The dress code was not very strict and the work hours were flexible. General chatting was not discouraged by management. They trusted that you were not lazying around. There were breakout areas and tea rooms. The desks were not cubicles which was refreshing.
They did a good job assigning me tasks in areas they wanted me to develop in while at the same time still actually making sure I provide value to the team. I would have liked a bit more of a crash course about the company when I first started though.
The company values their employees very highly. They have no strict expectations of their employees within their first year of work since this time is expected to be used for education only. In practice you start working much sooner of course but it is always emphasised that you should optimise for long term capability.
I went through their second stage interview process and got offered a job. I accepted the offer and am now waiting for my contract. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and they are good providing opportunities for positions to grow into. That's why I think they're a good company to work for in the long term.
Placement (5-9 Months)
27th September 2018