This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
The experience taught me professional programming in an environment I'd have never visited otherwise, in a part of the country where there was always something to do outside of work. So I was always doing something
The Office was a bit quiet, as I expected a bit more casual conversation, but then I suppose everyone was focused. It was a bit of a new environment for me.
The two senior members of the team were always on had to give guidance in this rather large program, with was especially good for someone like me with a little less confidence in his programming.
With a 3-month release schedule and a backlog of tickets needing down there was always something to do, but there wasn't an imperative rush to do all your assigned tickets unless it was something rather critical as it could always wait until next release.
I could have been given a specialist are to work on within the project, but I felt that my programming wasn't up to scratch. But in the tickets i did do, my work was always checked by my peers before it was added to the next release.
MY C++ was polished to a standard, as well as picking up more skills in python and learning to use Git. I became aware of Qt, boost and Poco as libraries to use in cross-platform projects.
As I mentioned previously the office didn't really have much in the way of conversation, and i felt like i didn't know my colleagues as well as i could have.
As ISIS is under the Science and Technology facilities council (STFC) when i was getting ready to start i had to go though their HR, which was rather a pain as they weren't on site and didn't know about specific placements unless a specific person was in the office. After starting however it was a well oiled machine, without a hiccup.
We had training for Manual handling and Fire safety (great fun, we got to set off a fire extinguisher) but not much else.
Sports and Social Club
In my department there were no higher prospects within itself, but the graduate scheme is an option, allowing a trail of each of the possibilities available to you within ISIS.
There was initially but it was a bit ah-hoc and mostly coincidental, but i became involved with and helped found "Students@Harwell", a group aiming to unite all the undergrads, graduates and PhD students on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Site (ISIS was amongst a group of STFC department on the site) The group seemed successful and helped connect people
The cost of living is slightly higher than i was used to, but then I'm from Cumbria, it's bound to be comparatively. For the geeky minded there are plenty of social groups in the area (Board games, MTG, and Anime are all catered for excellently), and travel to London is very cheap (about £13 day-return on a coach with student discount)
Not applicable for me as I'm not fond of clubs
The on-site recreational society and the newly founded Students@Harwell provided events to get people together, and there were opportunities to help as a guide for the entire RAL site
Placement Year (10 Months+)
8th November 2013