As a web developer, I worked alongside the new media team to maintain/develop the Experian QAS web presence and company intranet.
Tasks are received from around the business into a helpdesk application. The web team monitors two helpdesks, web and intranet. A weekly schedule determines who is responsible for monitoring each helpdesk.
Common tasks include:
Web: Creating/updating web pages, working with a digital designer to create email marketing landing pages and maintaining the many web applications which form part of the in-house content management system
Intranet: Approving content added to the company intranet, setting up internal surveys and administering the many web applications built and maintained internally
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I had a great time working with a fantastic team. Short morning meetings were kept fun with the addition of the team mascot; a rubber chicken that was spun to decide who talks next. The meetings provided an opportunity to hear what the rest of the team were working on and to raise any issues that might have been holding me back.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
As the placement web developer I spent the majority of my time dealing with helpdesk tasks, working alongside three graduate web developers, of which one had previously worked at Experian QAS in the placement web developer role. I was given plenty of support when getting to grips with the many in-house systems. It was reassuring to be around graduates who could relate to my position, not only offering work advise but also words of wisdom which have helped with my degree.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Regular meetings with my manager helped support my progression throughout my time with Experian QAS. Setting and monitoring goals, ensuring mini projects made best use of my experience and put my new skills into practice.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Workload could vary greatly; time was scheduled between working on each helpdesk and spending time working on mini projects. Helpdesk load could spike and create a backlog of tasks which at times seemed impossible to get though. Such busy periods could be dealt with by sharing the workload, however this always felt like a last resort as I was aware the other team members had work of their own.
Each helpdesk task required a timely response and regular progress updates. The helpdesk system kept statistics on response, overall completion time and satisfaction which were all heavily targeted. At times I felt too much emphasise was put on figures.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was treated much like the other members of the service team. I was given a number of mini projects to manage with little guidance; this helped me develop my time management as I still had work coming in from the helpdesk.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
It has been an eye-opening experience working with substantially more complex development environments and server hardware beyond the level I’ve experienced while freelancing or at university. The knowledge gained is invaluable and will hopefully prove useful in furthering my career in web development.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The team was fun and friendly. The wider company seemed very accessible. Informal monthly meetings held by the managing director kept the office in touch with the wider company and its market position.
The new media team got together after work occasionally which made placement life more interesting while away from university friends for so long.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The recruitment team were very friendly and the process extremely streamlined. I sent a CV via the Experian QAS website, I was then contacted via phone to arrange a telephone interview with my future manager. Following this I attended an interview and short exam.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given the opportunity to work in a large corporate environment. Working in such an environment introduces new challenges not experienced while working as a freelance web developer. Training was limited to learning from colleagues/the internet.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The web team is fairly small.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was an initial meeting with all the new placement students. But I spent most time socialising with the team I was in.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Being in London, rent was expensive but the pay does take this into account. Going out at night is costly compared to back home but not prohibitive if kept under control!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Plenty to do in and around London! Clapham has many fine bars and eating establishments.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The company encourages staff to get involved with the company charity as well as the local community. Experian QAS staff went out into local schools to help with reading and even put on a Dragons Den activity to help a local school.