Rob Barclay, Computer Science student from UWE Bristol, talks about his placement year at NMI
Throughout university, we are constantly told by tutors and professors that a work placement offers the most valuable experience of working in the ‘real world’, along with all the invaluable industry knowledge it brings. I’m happy to say that they couldn’t have been more right!
I was aware of the close links NMI had with our university via previous students having had both fun and successful placements there, so it was highly recommended as a great place for me to get this valuable ‘real world’ experience. I saw that the company was creating real impact within the payment industry, processing millions of transactions yearly.
How I went about finding a placement…
First and foremost I had to show the company I wanted to work there. I sent in my CV and completed an online ‘code challenge’. The final stages of the process was a phone interview followed by a face to face interview.
I would say that the best tip for an interview is to be as prepared as possible, this shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and learning new skills. I did loads of research and made sure I could really express why I was so keen to seize the opportunity!
When I was offered the placement I immediately accepted the offer. Like all new jobs it seemed daunting at first. However, the company couldn’t have been more welcoming. The team made me feel really relaxed along with a buzz that made me feel I wanted to work there. From being able to dress casually to free fruit, and breakfast on a Wednesday.
What I did at NMI …
I joined the platform team, a group of 6 people; a team lead, four developers and one tester. All focusing on developing the central processing layer which is the fundamental server powering all our products and services.
After some initial training, I was assigned my first task. This involved setting up the CI (continuous integration) for one of the company’s new flagship products. This is widely used within the software development industry as a whole is not touched at university. This experience has shown that it is necessary to have for my future career.
I always felt in control of my workload and whilst the work was challenging, I always knew I was only ever expected to work to the best of my ability and I was able to ask for assistance.
Working life at NMI…
Being surrounded by industry professionals helped increase my coding skills exponentially and complemented what I learned at university. I felt extremely supported by the team. It was also satisfying to be able to work on other projects where I could take the skills that I had picked up in my lectures and practicals, adapt them to the scope of the problem in front of me and create a solution that will potentially be used by thousands of people. It was an unexpected but great experience to know that I was making such a difference from the get-go.
I have also had the chance to partake in company-wide presentations, cross-team meetings and representing the company to future candidates at UWE careers fair. All helping me increase my confidence and communication; both vital skills required in any industry.
By adapting to a full-time job, focussed specifically on the field that I study, has given me a massive confidence boost for my final year, and future jobs to come. As previously mentioned, doing a placement is an invaluable experience and I’ve really enjoyed my time at NMI so far.
I thoroughly recommend anyone considering doing a placement year to just go for it!
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