I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement with General Electric Healthcare as a software engineer. I was given reign to work and lead on a variety of projects, in a diverse and intelligent team. I had the opportunity to develop my soft skills, such as holding meetings and presenting ideas, as well as technical skills.
Before joining, a fear I had as an intern was that I would never truly feel like part of the team, and that the work I'd be given wouldn't be impactful, and be dis interesting. This couldn't have been further than the truth. I was encouraged to share my ideas and thoughts, and was welcomed in the team as an equal. Moreover, I was encouraged to work on important projects, and fully utilise my expertise.
My managers gave me great support throughout the 13 months - initially, I was aided in meeting other team members, handling internal software, and learning crucial soft-skills. They continued to inspire me by example of great management and leadership, and always were available to discuss any issues I was having. Furthermore, they had trust and confidence in me to have breathing space, allowing me to work more effectively and productively.
There were rare moments where I found myself with nothing to do. I was encouraged to take on as many projects as I could handle, giving me great experience in multi-tasking and effective time management. This never left me feeling bored, and I always had a diverse set of tasks to be working on.
I was given lots of responsibility, especially in projects I was leading. This was empowering and greatly helped develop my soft and technical skills further, placing the onus on myself to work hard and deliver efficient solutions. The responsibility was not overbearing, and I could always approach team members and my managers if necessary.
Technical skill-wise, the difference it is making on my degree studies, and general life as a software developer, is incomparable. It truly taught me more than university ever could have, giving me access to various emerging technologies, and working on products that actually would be used and would make a difference. In terms of soft skills, the same can be said. Over the 13 months, my personal confidence and presentation drastically improved, preparing me for a future career in software engineering.
The general atmosphere in my office was incredibly positive, particularly amongst my teammates. I made friends I expect to have for many years, and it felt like a family. It never felt awkward asking questions or expressing my ideas, and it never felt like I was giving the wrong answer. Moreover, there was a large emphasis on horizontal working with other departments, allowing me to take part in exciting extracurricular projects with my fellow interns.
The placement was well organised. At times, projects would be dropped, which could be disheartening, but for the most part, my colleagues had created a well-organised environment for developing and brainstorming new ideas. Moreover, it didn't take long to get used to the company's culture, internal technologies and their ideals.
Their dedication to my personal development was incredibly apparent. My managers refused to let me settle on remedial and dull tasks, and encouraged me to pursue areas that interested me. This allowed me to work on projects that I didn't expect to be involved in, and gave me creative responsibility to utilise emerging technologies effectively.
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
Healthcare from home
Future employment prospects are appealing and definitely available. There's a variety of schemes that are encouraged, such as for engineering, finance, leadership, etc. Moreover, my colleagues and managers were eager to have me back, and it feels like one's efforts in the company do not go unnoticed, which, again, helps motivation.
The intern community was amazing! I've made good friends from it, and we'd often socialise outside of work, from going to the local pub, to larger events in London. It was one of my favourite aspects of the placement, and was a stark reminder that a year of working wasn't going to be a monotonous period!
Living was expensive according to other interns. I lived at home in London, so didn't experience as much living costs. Socialising is expensive. Whether it was a local pub in Amersham or anywhere in Central London, food, drinks and activities were not cheap. However, the quality of it all was excellent!
The nightlife in Amersham/Chalfont is non-existant and depressing. There are some local, and very overpriced, pubs and restaurants. However, an hour away on the London Underground brings you to central London, Shoreditch and more, which is very good! Just far from where the office was, but certainly worth the commute. But getting home for residents in Amersham, or worse, High Wycombe, was not easy.
I worked closely with someone heavily involved in GE's stem inspirer's scheme, so had constant opportunities for after-work activities related to STEM. This involved careers fairs and workshops. I also had the opportunity to attend conferences, such as MIDL (Medical Imaging, Deep Learning) at Imperial College. Finally, intern groups formed to arrange social activities at work, which were frequent.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
6th November 2019