I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at Computacenter. Community, investment in youth and challenging work is what makes the scheme shine. From day one, I immediately felt at home - welcomed by friendly and supportive colleagues I have built friendships and a network to last a lifetime. The investment into the placement schemes is evident from the hard work put in by management and the future talent team. Opportunities are fruitful and really develop your character. The work itself, at least within the Cyber Security department, was challenging yet very rewarding. If I felt out of my depth there were plenty of people around me to support me. Overall, I'm very impressed and it's part of my personal plans to return to Computacenter after I finish my studies.
I felt very valued. Each staff member took the time to get to know me on a personal level and this added a layer of comfort. On a professional level, I never felt threatened, intimidated or worthless. The staff took their work seriously and there was no room for discrimination. I was frequently asked to support activities within the Cyber Defence Center and having those opportunities allowed me to prove myself. And after I did, it became evident I was a valuable asset to the team.
The support network was strong. I could always rely on my line manager for guidance and support with both personal and professional issues. But the support didn't stop there. I have to say each and every member of my department has supported me in some shape or form, each giving me valuable advice and support - and for that, I'm extremely grateful.
Towards the start of the placement, the workload was quite low. Which was a good thing when I first joined. However this carried on for some time and as a result, some days I would be bored. But, after raising the issue the workload picked up. By the end of the year, I was incredibly busy. I think it was a good balance but the structure of the rotations at the start of the year skewed the workload.
I was given ample amounts of freedom to explore ideas and projects and when I was really into a project, management took a step back and allowed me to produce some quality work. I thrived having the freedom. It allowed me to explore different solutions with room for failure. As a result, one project in particular massively helped the Cyber Defence Center and my personal development. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work on those projects.
Since returning to University, my entire work ethic has drastically improved. I am on top of my work and using the various pieces of knowledge I have gained throughout placement has allowed me to produce quality work. I feel like a young professional. Not just a student. The training opportunities were invaluable and have greatly added to my portfolio.
I never once dreaded going into work. And I think thats rare. The office had its quiet times and busy times but not once did I ever come home from work thinking god everyone in that department was so boring today. Laughs, banter, and cakes were plentiful. And when it was time to knuckle down and get work done, you had the freedom to plug in your headphones and switch off.
I and my placement colleague both fed back that there was an issue with the structure. Often it was not smooth. We rotated around various teams. The idea was great on paper but the execution was poor. Not enough ownership was taken and this resulted in the organisation being poor. However, after having our feedback listened to and improvement being made I've decided to give this a 5/10.
Computacenter heavily invested in myself and my placement colleague. The courses we went on would have cost a couple of grand if we were funding it ourselves. Not only that but we had plenty of freedom to go on a wide variety of courses - as long as we provided justification.
Working from home
With the Cyber Security sector thriving, I am confident that there will be a position available after I finish my studies. Unfortunately, no graduate roles exist. I believe that there are plans to change this. However, management spoke to me before I left and told me that there would be an opportunity available should I choose to return.
I won't lie. It wasn't great. Too many of the other students lived too far away to have socials after work. However, those that lived in Hatfield made the most of what we could - Wetherspoons. On the occasions, we all went out into London the social scene was great, but it was far and few between such opportunities.
An unusual one this one. The cost of living was borderline ridiculous but that was because I was renting a flat with one other student - £600 a month, not including bills. However, with the local Wetherspoons within a 2-minute walk, the cost of socialising was very cheap. £1.99 pints. Good deal to me. But the cost of living was very taxing on my wages. My advice, rent with more people or commute from somewhere else.
Abysmal. We had one Wetherspoons in Hatfield. No clubs (that were worth going to). We made the most of our nights having drinks at spoons, usually followed by karaoke nights in our flat. We made our own fun. Hatfield nightlife bad. If you want to have a proper night out, London is your best bet.
There's a running theme here, and if you havent guessed already it's that Hatfield isn't a student town. So within Hatfield, no there's not much to do. There is a shopping center and a Wetherspoons. And I never bothered to shop there. As I mentioned there were activities outside of work, but they were few and far between.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Computer and Systems Engineering, Computer Science, Information Technology