I thoroughly enjoyed my placement at the Met Office. The mix of being directly involved with projects from day one and the enthusiasm and support of all colleagues made this placement better than I could have thought. I was able to learn new technologies, experiment and directly contribute to production systems all within a short period of 12 months.
I felt extremely valued by my colleagues as they treated me as a regular member of staff, not just a placement student. I was given time to learn and absorb information and contribute to software tasks within my means. My colleagues also regularly motivated and supported me to constantly improve through learning new development techniques; such as Test Driven Development, Behaviour Driven Development and black box testing.
The support structure in place within the Met Office for a placement student is fantastic. I was eased into various stages of the software development lifecycle learning the design, implementation, testing and deployment of various systems in place at the organisation. My learning was guided towards what languages were used primarily in the project I was on and also Amazon Web Services cloud skills.
As a placement student, I felt like my day was a perfect balance between getting software tasks done on my own, pair programming or learning/seeking out new technologies that my team could use in the future. This also included time to reflect on and review my own work, and how more senior engineers did their work so I could constantly improve the quality of my own code.
I was given the right amount of responsibility at each stage of my placement. When I started I was pair programming with a senior engineer which involved me doing most of the work with a helping hand from the senior. This was also a good way to get introduced to responsibility of my code as the senior engineer was showing me the checks, tests and processes in place to ensure the code ran correctly in the production environment. Half way through my placement I was trusted with the responsibility of introducing new tools and technologies into the team that could improve our ways of working or a particular part of the overall system, once it had been checked over by the whole team. The responsibility was just the right amount at each point during my placement that I did not feel overwhelmed, and I welcomed the challenge.
This placement has given me an invaluable set of skills and knowledge that I can take to help me through my degree and further career; from learning and being directly involved with each stage of the software development lifecycle to studying towards a Cloud Computing certification. Everything I learnt was industry standard and at the cutting edge, and I am confident I will use the skills gained during my placement year in my studies and beyond.
The general atmosphere around the office was very friendly and one of continuous learning and improvement. Mistakes were welcome and early failures are advised, to be able to learn from these sooner rather than later. All questions are welcome and I was assured that no question is a silly one. The working environment was very pleasant from my first day to my last.
The placement scheme was very well organised as the Met Office have a talent pipeline through which processes have been put in place to allow a placement student to grow their own skills in whatever area they are placed in. Each person learns at their own pace, and the placement scheme here accounts for that and allows you the time and space you need to do just that.
The Met Office invested a lot of personal training and development into me, I was able to learn new programming languages that I had not been exposed to at university via online and in-house courses, study towards gaining an industry standard cloud computing certification and learn new tools and technologies to help me do my daily work and for my future career.
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Future employment prospects are appealing as they have a graduate scheme as well as junior roles within the organisation. The atmosphere and colleagues I worked with, combined with the interesting work I was able to do, has put the Met Office in a high place for my job search post graduation.
There was a good social scene amongst my fellow placement student and colleagues, regularly arranging to meet for food/drinks and also to just hang out. Everyone I worked with and knew from the organisation was very friendly and sociable. I also was involved in team away days where we would do activities such as outdoor laser tag for team building.
I lived in the Heavitree area of Exeter which is in-between the city centre and the Met Office. I wasn't paying an unreasonable amount of rent for the house share I was staying in, considering the rent in the surrounding area and Exeter in general. Going out and socialising was the same as in any other city.
The nightlife was subpar for a city, when comparing to the likes of other cities, even surrounding cities such as Bristol. There are a lot of bars and a few clubs, however these places close a lot earlier compared to other cities. In general the nightlife is okay, considering you will be working 5 days a week.
Depending on what you're into, there are quite a few activities to get into outside of work. Most notably outdoor activities as the surrounding area has many nature parks and beaches such as Dartmoor National Park, Blackdown Hills, Exmouth Beach and a few beaches at Torquay - just to name a few.
Placement Year (10 Months+)