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From Computer Science to Technical Services

By Luke Yaxley on Fri 11 November 2022

Nervous about the transition from university to the working world? Read about how our Technical Services placement, Luke, has adjusted to his new role and applied his university-taught skills to the Service Desk.

I’ve just finished my third month here at ProspectSoft and it’s amazing to look back at the progress that I’ve made since I started here in August. One of the things that makes ProspectSoft such a good company to work for is the fact that a lot of the current staff is made up of former placements, giving the company a very relaxed feel — when I speak to my manager, I feel like I’m talking to the guy sat next to me in a lecture hall. Transitioning from university to work would be a lot harder if it weren’t for this placement year which has, so far, acted as a good in-between. I feel that I’ve made much more progress in a shorter amount of time due to the supportive environment that ProspectSoft fosters. So far this year I’ve picked up some skills, both technical and non-technical.

Service Desk Skills

At the Service Desk at ProspectSoft, and likely in most support departments, everything is centred around tickets. Every day we go to the First Line Pool (called DutchBoards inhouse), and we have a full list of issues to work on. This helps keep things very organised and helps you keep focused on what you’re doing in the moment. We also operate on a DEFCON system, so we can quickly judge how well we’re managing with the workload. The tickets that we work from and create are something that I have struggled with, especially at the start. Keeping an up-to-date record of what you’re doing is a skill that’s useful for a variety of different careers and, no matter the job I end up doing after university, I’ll be able to make use of that skill.

Another important skill I’m picking up as I do this job is explaining technical concepts to people who might not necessarily have a technical background. A lot of our customers are not technical themselves but will need me to explain concepts such as why certain data is or is not in the CRM. I think my knowledge has been strengthened by having to explain concepts in easy-to-understand terms. When I enter into my final year of university, being able to pick up such a good understanding of technical concepts and the limitations of certain technologies will help me to plan out, and eventually execute, my final project.

Skills From University

Not all of what I’ve been doing since I got here has been learning new skills, I’ve also used a lot of the skills I picked up during my time at university. One skill that I use on a near daily basis is working with APIs. As part of an investigation, I will often have to query both our API and the API of systems we integrate with to see whether the data being passed through matches what I would expect. An API is a way for one application to access the data of another, which makes being comfortable with querying them a useful skill in investigating issues.

Another skill that’s useful on the Service Desk is being able to interact directly with a database via a Structured Query Language (SQL). This allows you to communicate with a database in order to manage data. Mainly what we use it for is to query the database to find data that might not necessarily be in the more forward-facing parts of the CRM. Luckily, as part of my degree, I took a module in Databases and Domain Structure in which I had to learn SQL as well as general database structure.

Even though I’ve been working this job for a relatively short amount of time, I’ve picked up a variety of different skills and, more importantly (in my opinion), been given the opportunity to see the skills I’ve picked up in the last 2 years of my course put into practice within the industry. Ultimately, the purpose of an industrial placement is to gain experience while figuring out which skillset from university you want to pursue after education. I’m extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn from industry leaders while discovering a passion for a side of my subject I never would have imagined.

Taking a Year in Industry can be a great way to improve your employability and gain skills that you can only acquire with hands-on experience. Explore all the placement roles ProspectSoft has to offer and take the first step in achieving your career goals.
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