I enjoyed this placement as because it is a small-medium sized tech company I got to work with lots of different departments and had the freedom to do the tasks assigned to me in my own way (instead of using Python I could use Perl for example).
I felt valued by my colleagues as I was always thanked and praised for the work I had done and I had always felt like a member of my team as I was always involved in team activities.
The amount of support and guidance was good at the start but was not the best that it could have been, this changed however during the duration of my placement as it got signification better.
My work load varied dramatically from day to day, I had as much as work as I thought I could handle, if I needed more work then I would ask for it or seek it out while if I had to much work at a particular time I could ask for help or postpone the deadline for some of that work to ease the pressure on myself.
From the offset I was given a large amount of responsibility (more than I had expected for an intern) which I saw as a good thing. An example of this was that on the first day of my internship I was made an admin of one of the internal systems we use, this didn't equate to more work as such but did equate to a lot more responsibility. Over the course of the internship I was made an admin and was put in charge of a variety of projects/systems.
I couldn't have imagined undertaking the final year of my degree without the skills and knowledge that I had gained from this placement. As the work I received was very varied and the way in which I could completely this work was up to me it gave me a lot of time to experiment with different techniques and technologies which resulted in my knowledge increasing, I hope to take what I have learnt throughout this placement onto my future career after university as I have learnt things which I would have never been taught at university.
The atmosphere in the office was a very chilled one as I had never experienced any tension or stress among my colleagues while at the same time the office was very humorous in the sense that there was a lot of 'banter' being thrown about.
Before starting I was told the itinerary of my placement (be in department X for Y amount of months etc) while in reality this wasn't really followed. I spent time in the departments and done the work which I most wanted to do so this ended up with me bypassing some of the departments that I was scheduled to work in (although I did do some work for those departments while working for other departments).
While the company never gave me any formal training or made me complete any training courses (I did get some training on how to use the product that the company sells at the begging of the internship though), I was allowed to complete some personal training (that could help the work I was doing) during work hours. If I wanted to spend a few hours learning a new technology or to learn something which may be beneficial to me this was absolutely allowed.
For me personally what I want to do after university isn't offered by the company I work for at the moment so I would most likely not be coming back but if what I wanted to do was offered by my company I would come back to work here.
There was a good social scene as there were weekly company lunches, company sponsored events (such as sport activities and charities events etc) and quarterly big company events involving the whole company. As well as this I done activities with colleagues outside of work (going to the pub, going out for dinner, etc).
The cost of living in Reading (where the company is located) is not the cheapest as it is so close to London (20 minutes to Paddington) but it is affordable, I was left with enough money each month after paying rent to go out and enjoymy self (within reason).
With the company offices being located on the university of Reading campus there were many cheap student bars and clubs within walking distance from the office, the nightlife in town was a lot more expensive but with the student club and bars on campus being so cheap this made up for it.
There were many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work as I was always invited out when someone was leaving etc or if something had been planned after work (such as going out after St Patrick's Day), the company also booked sports pitches for us to use which I could have easily got involved with if I wanted to.