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IT Project Leader
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I’ve decided that I want to do a placement year to gain experience that would help me secure a better job as a graduate and to improve my skills developed while being a student. A placement year in IT can also provide you with a future career path that you might want to follow after graduation.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Career Connect

Application process

After finding the advert, I’ve applied with my CV and cover letter and soon after that I’ve received an e-mail inviting me to an interview. The process was straight forward with a formal interview where I was presented with a brief case study of the project that they wanted me to work on. I had to formulate an action plan and discuss any technical challenges that might occur during the different phases of the project. A week later I’ve received a phone call confirming that I’ve managed to pass the interview and inviting me to join the team.

Main responsibilities

My role involved a lot of individual work as I was the IT Project Leader, therefore I had to undergo through a research & planning phase, development phase and the final release phase. I also had to develop a training package and deliver it to various users of the system alongside with providing IT support and having regular client meetings. After the system was mature enough I had to run demonstrations in front of potential clients all across the country, in offices such as Kent, London, York etc.

Typical day

My working schedule was fixed between 8:30 – 17:00 Monday - Friday with half an hour lunch break. First thing in the morning was getting a drink with my IT manager and discussing the overall plan for that particular day, any challenges that we might need to tackle or issues that we need to address. After that I would check my e-mails and sometimes I would have to add tasks and sort them based on priority. Development work would be done during most days but I also had to attend various meetings.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

Everything! I must admit that it was more challenging than I was expecting it in the beginning, providing me with a unique experience in the real industry. I have met so many people and establish a lot of new relationships which will definitely help me in the future. Having the responsibility to take decisions which do have a real impact on the project made me think differently. The project I was working for involved a lot of communication with final users of the system and potential clients which contributed towards my understanding of the importance of user experience. The team was absolutely fantastic and I got involved in many activities outside work such as team buildings and charity events.

Challenging aspects

Some of the challenging aspects were the technical difficulties that I had to overcome when developing the system. The programming language I used was completely new to me and therefore I had to go through a learning period (approximately 3 months in the beginning of my placement year) but having studied similar programming languages and frameworks during University definitely helped me.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Definitely. My role combined the business & management skills I have developed during University with the programming skills. Even though I had to write the system in a new programming language, the ones that I have studied in my first and second year came in handy. Also, my presentation skills were very important because I had to interact with many external clients.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

When I started my placement year, I didn’t think for one minute that I will manage to secure a graduate job a year before graduating. Looking back at my decision, I can honestly say that it was the best one I have ever made. I have developed my personal and professional skills, I have gained valuable experience in the industry and I have a clear path in mind for what I want to do next.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

From my personal experience, I strongly recommend you apply for a placement year, it will only provide you with valuable experience and new connections in your professional environment. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible (even the ones that you might think are silly) and to express your point of view. If you have new ideas, don’t keep them to yourself, write an e-mail to your line manager or schedule a meeting where you can discuss innovative and creative ideas.

Regarding the application process, it might take a while to be accepted, so apply to as many as possible. The application process usually starts in September and it can last until July-August. If you get rejected, do not give up and do not take it personally as the competition for placement year is very strong. If you do get more than one, then you should be happy because you can choose the one that would be more suitable for you.

Other comments

Do not hesitate to go on a placement year! The experience you will gain is very important and the worst that can happen is for you to realise what you don’t want to do in the future and it can only change you for the better.

Form completed: 18 Sep 2017

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