1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Mentor Graphics. I have had the opportunity to learn an entirely new skill set in coding, that I previously had very little experience in, and discovered it is definitely the career path I want to go down. I have been given several very interesting projects to work on during my placement, all of which have required me to solve problems and think outside the box. Although it was rare, there have been occasions where I was given "chores" to do which felt like they were only given to me because I was an intern, though this did not happen very often and only happened during very busy periods.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My colleagues certainly relied on me to consistently deliver work to a high standard and made me feel like I was needed and an important team member. Any concerns I had were always listened to and I was regularly involved in team meetings with the opportunity to give my opinions on important decisions
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had a weekly 1-on-1 meeting with a member of my team which was an opportunity to raise any problems or issues I had, but also provided an excellent time to get some specific guidance on a particular technical topic and I made good use of this. I also had a monthly 1-on-1 meeting with my line manager as a progress update. Outside of these meetings though everyone is always willing to help and I have never been turned away from anyone - all you need to do is ask.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Generally the work balance was good. There was enough going on to keep me busy whilst still allowing me to go home at the end of the day and have my own free time and not have to think about work. I do remember at the beginning of my placement not having much to do at times but this did change when I began to prove I could be trusted with bigger, more interesting projects. On the flip side, during the release period things got very very busy as we had to hit some hard deadlines and the work I was doing was key to meeting this deadline. I found myself taking my laptop home and working fairly late on some nights.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Personally I love being given lots of responsibility and this placement has met that need for me amazingly. Very early on I volunteered for work that was out of my comfort zone and did extra training at home in an effort to prove that I have the ability to take on big tasks. Very soon I was given a fantastic project that I was pretty much given free reign with as to how I implement it. I was also given the opportunity to work on a customer's request and I played a vital role in one of the releases.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I came into the placement with a very limited experience in coding but knew it was a skill that I would like to develop. I was given the opportunity to this right from the start and it very quickly became a skill set I have become very passionate about - I will certainly be pursuing a career in software development. I have also learnt a lot about more engineering specific knowledge, such as heat transfer and fluid flow which will be very useful to me when going back to complete my degree.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Most of the time the office is quiet and people are focusing on there work, unless discussing related matters with colleagues. For me this was a very good working environment as I cannot concentrate in loud/noisy conditions. At times we will have a chat about things unrelated to work and there is usually banter within the team. However sometimes I found this went on for too long and I was actually surprised my colleagues were not working - particularly at times when we were very busy.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We were greeted at the door on our first day and put into a week long training session. We had laptops mostly ready for us and were introduced to everyone in the office. At no point did I feel like anything was just being made up on the spot. Other than that there wasn't much more to organise.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given a free subscription to PluralSight - a premium online resource library that has many high quality videos on a huge range of topics. I was also given licences for enterprise software to help me with my work. As well as technical training, I was also enrolled on interpersonal skills and time management courses with the rest of my colleagues.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I have not explicitly been offered a job when I graduate and as far as I am aware there is not always the budget or available headcount to hire new staff. However, I do feel like if I applied and there was a vacancy available I would be offered the job.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are 3 other engineering interns with me and we have developed a very good friendship group among us. We have regularly done stuff with each other outside of work, such as sports, meals out and even an escape room, and would like to think that we would keep in contact with each other after we leave the placement.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Northampton is extremely cheap to live in compared to where I live at university. However in terms of socialising, there really isn't much to do here other than go to the cinema (which at big name venues is the same price everywhere anyway) or go outside and play sports which is free.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I went out clubbing once whilst in Northampton and whilst it was a good night to be out with my friends, I probably wouldn't do it again. Though my opinion is biased as I do not particularly enjoy "nightlife" at the best of times, would much rather go out for a meal then have a poker night inside.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
We had a couple of team building days out with the whole office which were fun and I went out for a meal with my team a few times. There is also a small group who go and play badminton once a week. Apart from this though there isn't anything regular happening to get involved with