Analysing past data to spot trends and patterns and predict future events, to prevent failure of key systems before ti happens
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Very much so. Very friendly vibe, with a good intern community. I did mostly work I really enjoyed doing, so very rarely got bored, and not a day went by where I didn't learn something new, whether it was a technical skill, or something about how a big business runs. It took a while to get used to working life, but once I did it was great, and now going back to university feels like a huge effort.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Massively. I was given the same responsibilities as any other member of the team (it's not like I was given the easiest work because I'm a student). My skill set was recognized by the team, and I was assigned work that they thought I could do better than anyone else, making me feel valued. My only complaint is that while I was treated like a permanent employee in terms of the work I did, I got less employee privileges (ie overtime, working from home) than other employees, including apprentices.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had a meeting with the team leader every fortnight, checking in on my progress. Most of the time when I was stuck on something technical I solved my problem using the internet, but whenever I had a question I could ask anybody, and they would help me straight away. This was particularly important while I was learning about processes we followed, such as the Agile methodology.
I would have preferred to have met every week, because a couple of times I was heading in the wrong direction with something I was working on and would have preferred to have been set right sooner.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Most of the time it was ideal. We estimated how much work to do in each two week 'sprint', so in theory if we estimated correctly it was just the right amount of work. Sometimes we estimated incorrectly though, so I would have too little work or too much work to do in a two week period, and we weren't supposed to pull any more work in once it was set for the sprint. Sometimes when other team members were on holiday I found myself a little too busy, but I preferred that to not having enough to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Lots. I was joining the team and bringing knowledge that I had learnt at university that no body on the team yet possessed. This meant that straight away I was working on the teams 'flagship' project that we then presented to the rest of the company at the IT Fair in Munich. It was a huge responsibility to be working on the project that we demoed to other teams to show them the good work we were doing. I was also asked to teach the rest of the department the Machine Learning knowledge I had from university, which was obviously a big responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think actually applying theoretical knowledge reinforced it in my mind, making me much more competent at it. I can now do the little things, like using Git and accessing command line which I always got help with at university. The software we used 'Splunk' isn't widely used so the skills I picked up in that won't help me, but the theory behind the algorithms I coded definitely will. Mostly though, I would say the biggest thing I learnt was the processes and procedures a big company followed, and this will definitely help me in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Extremely relaxed. We had flexible working hours so no one minded what time you arrived. You could take coffee breaks whenever you liked, and conversations about each others weekends were extremely common. We took part in friendly competitions, such as office sweepstakes Everyone was left to do their work, I wasn't constantly checked up on.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We had a monthly Intern Circle meeting where a representative form each department discussed what could be improved. When we arrived a lot wasn't ready for us (our accounts weren't set up, our ID cards didn't work). We were assigned a 'mentor', who dealt with any problems we had, and several trips were planned for us (plant tours), which were veyr helpful.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Very little. I spent a week learning about the software we use, but that was a free online course. BMW host courses in languages and technical skills for all employees, APART FROM placement students. Every two weeks we had 'soft skill' training, although that was unofficially done through someone in my department, and didn't cost the company anything extra beyond our wages for the hour we spent doing it.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Looking around, it appears all the senior positions are taken by germans, or people fluent in German, which makes sense given its a german company. However, if this is the case and not just a coincidence, I couldn't see myself working here long term, because I don't want to be restricted by my nationality.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, we had a placement student social every Thursday, and booked a 3G pitch to play football, just for fun, every Wednesday. I went for coffee and lunch with fellow students. I lived in a house of other placement students who had moved to Oxford, so obviously spent a lot of time socialising with them.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
EXPENSIVE. Oxford is very expensive, and I don't think the placement salary is enough to compensate for that. Weekly rent is twice as expensive as it is in Birmingham, and drinks out are ridiculously costly. However, as Oxford is a student city, there are cheap nights you can socialise on, and cheap student deals for meals out.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There are two universities in Oxford, so the nightlife is quite good.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I joined a Korfball club, trained three times a week and played games every weekend, which for me was enough to keep me busy when out of work.