This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
It was great fun, the work was interesting and challenging and everyone was really helpful.
I was definitely given the impression that what I was doing was important, that I was trusted to do it well, and was valued for doing so. Of course, I would hardly be as valuable as a long-standing member of the team who had far more experience. For instance, my manager gave me a week to do something he could have done in a day. This is simply the reality of my lack of experience. Given that, I felt I was most definitely valued for my contributions.
Anytime I asked for help, my mentor or manager would quickly make themselves available and try to guide me towards solving it myself. If it was something I could not be expected to know, then they were happy to show me. They were very supportive and tried their utmost to get the best out of me. Of course, there were times when no-one was available to help me, so during those times I had to find something else to do for a bit. However, the overall support was wonderful.
I generally always had work to do. My manager wasn't too worried about tracking my time for my work, although that would change if I was working full time. If I ran out of work (other than small scale stuff) I could simply ask my mentor or manager and they would come up with the next thing to do. I was encouraged to come up with ideas for improvements myself, and did so as best I could. However, there were a few times when there wasn't really so much to do. I never felt overworked - I was given deadlines, but they were never unreasonable, and if something turned out to be harder to implement than expected, my manager was very understanding.
Whenever possible, my manager would get me to drive the improvements, come up with the new designs etc.
I learnt a great deal during my time at Metaswitch. My programming skills came on leaps and bounds, which I will definitely use in my own time, during my studies to some extent and possibly in a job in the future. My communication skills were also enhanced by being made to justify my proposed designs in design meetings.
Everyone was really friendly and ready to help each other out. Not everyone got on, but I don't think there is any large organisation that avoids that completely, and it was certainly at a minimum at Metaswitch.
Everything was really well organised. The first day had a 1.5 hour introduction section, getting everything set up for the rest of the internship. Then I was passed over to my manager, who introduced me to my mentor and explained the high level design of what they wanted me to do during my time.
My first week was almost entirely ramp up, on Python, bash, internal code etc. Also, throughout my internship, my mentor and manager were always keen to explain new concepts to me to ensure I had a good understanding of what I was doing and why.
Sports and Social Club
I would really enjoy working there again - the only question is would I like somewhere else even more.
I arrived somewhat later compared to the other interns, so intern numbers were dropping right throughout my internship. Hence the 'social scene' died away. Also, I am not always the most comfortable person with new people. However, in the early weeks large groups got together for a group meal, some even went to the Proms together. I went into London for the day with another intern staying at the same company house as me - we had a very enjoyable day together.
The cost of accommodation was minimal, as the company housing was heavily subsidised. I don't normally go to the pub much as I don't drink alcohol, so I don't really know what pub prices are like. The general cost of living was pretty low - there were decent supermarkets nearby, and most things were available nearby and not too hard to find.
Er... I am not really a nightlife kind of guy. I never checked.
I really enjoyed playing Ultimate Frisbee or Bridge at lunchtimes, and several other activities were available.
Internship (1-4 Months)
28th September 2013