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Making the Most of Your Placement Year

By Isaac George on Tue 31 January 2023 in Placement Blog

Making the Most of Your Placement Year

The time during your placement can fly by so quickly, you can often feel as if you haven’t made the most of it. In this blog, Isaac shares his personal approach to best utilising his time at ProspectSoft, and the opportunities it provides.

Asking for help

While working, it’s quite common that I run in to an issue that halts my progress, such as being unable to locate code. I always initially try to solve the issue myself but if I feel like I’m wasting time, or I stop making progress, I ask for help. Every development placement is given a mentor that they directly report to, whom they can ask for help. If our mentors are unable to help, other members of staff are always willing to provide support. It's common that I need clarification or feedback about tasks from members of staff outside my department, and everyone I've spoken to has been open and willing to help. I think asking for help is an essential part of making the most of my placement because every time I ask a question, I can take draw on my colleagues’ knowledge and learn more than I would by myself.

Despite being given the option to work from home, I find it particularly beneficial to work in the office. Working in the office allows me to sit and work with my fellow placements, where we can work together and share our knowledge.

Try your best

During my placement, I’ve found the more I show my willingness to learn and attempt tasks, the more responsibilities and opportunities my managers give me. When choosing which item I want to work on, I try to indiscriminately select the next task regardless of whether I know the area. The tasks usually turn out to be easier than I initially think, and I know other members of the team are always willing to help if I run in to issues. Through doing this, I’ve significantly increased both my product-specific as well as general programming knowledge. 

Working on a diverse range of projects for different departments has forced me to improve my employability skills. I’ve learned to communicate technical details professionally with people from varying technical backgrounds, demonstrate my progress on projects, improve based on feedback, manage time, and meet deadlines. Taking on tasks in areas I haven’t worked in before is daunting at the start, but always ends up being worthwhile.

Furthermore, I’ve found that taking the time to double-check and test my work proves to be extremely productive and saves time overall. I initially sped through tasks and would move on to the next. However, they would get brought up later and I would spend more time fixing the issue than if I checked my work in the first place because of the time gap.

Azure 

ProspectSoft’s infrastructure is almost entirely hosted in the cloud on Microsoft Azure. Working in the DevOps department, using Azure is a standard part of my job. Even though other members of staff have always been willing to help me learn how to use the platform, there was a significant amount of information to take in and learn. The other placements and I in the department were allowed to do Azure training during work time. We were registered for webinars hosted by Microsoft: Azure Fundamentals and Azure Data Fundamentals. As part of these webinars, we were given the chance to take the corresponding certification exams. This is a wonderful opportunity because both the Azure Fundamentals and Azure Data Fundamentals are universally recognised qualifications demonstrating knowledge.

Furthermore, as part of ProspectSoft’s Visual Studio subscription, I get access to free Azure credits that I can use for personal projects. I’ve hosted many of my projects on Azure and have found this to be a  great way to learn.

Training

In general, ProspectSoft has a substantial amount of training material for employee development that doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to your role. For example, as an employee, I have access to LinkedIn Learning. The LinkedIn Learning courses are especially nice because I can just do any course at my own willingness without having to ask a more senior member of staff for permission if it isn’t in work time. I’ve taken courses specifically related to my job and areas that I’ve just been interested in.

Social

Every Friday at ProspectSoft we have “Beer Friday” where we get to stop work early (16:30) and socialise. In the Development department, we usually play games over Zoom. It’s a fantastic way to bond and get to know each other without thinking about work.

Since 2003, ProspectSoft's placement scheme has been helping students make the most of their year in industry. To explore the roles we have to offer, head over to our placement website and apply now!

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