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The difference half a year makes

By Mikey Wotton on Wed 21 December 2016 in Placement Blog

 

I’m roughly half way through my 13-month placement at ProspectSoft and despite coming into the working environment with many worries...

but the number of skills I have developed (which I never knew were needed) has astounded me! I cannot stress enough how much of a difference a placement year can make in real terms to your career but also to yourself as an individual. I now have the confidence to walk into any employment with my head held high and the knowledge that I can do or learn whatever is needed of me, and that’s something you can’t put a price on. 

 

I’ve been given the responsibility of being the first point of contact for many of our customers, which means I’m regularly talking to people – from Sales people to Managing Directors. It’s my job as a member of Technical Support to take their problems or queries, analyse the issues, and then help them find a solution. This can range from repairing a faulty plugin to liaising with members of the development department in changing a core piece of our solution, all of which develops skills which are critical in any business environment. 

 

One important part of ProspectSoft is the reports we use to query information stored in customer’s database. These queries are built using SQL and it is our job to develop the queries that allow customers to see the information they need in an aesthetically pleasing manner. For anyone who is applying to Technical Support, I would recommend at least reading over the SQL basics. Note: W3schools has an excellent beginners guide (http://www.w3schools.com/sql/)

 

As a Computer Science student, the biggest eye opener so far is the business knowledge that I’ve gained by learning the behind the scenes processes of helping a customer. It’s not just the support that we provide, but the developing, testing, iterating, and deploying of the solution that are also key factors. Not only that, but you have to manage customer expectations during their experience. You really cannot fully appreciate the difficulties of these steps without seeing them first hand, and I advise anyone who has the opportunity to take a placement year to do so. The insight you’ll gained coupled with the confidence you’ll build in dealing with customers and colleagues alike will put you ahead of the competition when you finish your degree!

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