20th January 2020 – an uneventful day for most, but for me it was an important day. Why? It was my first day as a placement student in GCD. As I sit here writing this and reflecting on the last 35 days (to be precise), I find myself asking a few questions: has my first month been a success? Have I settled in well? Have I learned anything?
The answer to these questions, in the simplest of terms – is a resounding, yes!
You might be thinking, of course he’s going to say that, he has to work there. But hear me out, I’ve decided to write a blog that explains why I believe GCD is a great place for a placement student.
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. First impressions are important. I was very conscious of making a good one, while at the same time being aware of the first impression I got from GCD and the team. Needless to say the first impression I got from GCD was impressive. As this was my first exposure to a software development environment, I was understandably apprehensive (just like anyone starting placement or a new job), and without sounding overly clichéd, I felt settled and at ease within an hour of meeting everyone. By the end of my first day I felt completely comfortable.
Getting Down to Business
The purpose of a placement is to prepare you for a career in your chosen industry. But if you find yourself in a placement where you’re making tea for everyone, will that prepare you for your chosen career? No.
Within my first month at GCD, I have had more exposure to projects and industry work than I ever imagined I would have. Real projects with real clients. Great. It’s been the sort of placement where I’ve gained real experience and benefits.
‘The acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught,’ is the definition of learning and there are multiple studies to suggest that the best way to learn is through a combination of all of those things. This is what is great about GCD – they provide a balance of all 3. There’s no babysitting, nor will they leave you struggling with work on your own. My QA Team Lead/Mentor Ally, trusts me to complete tasks independently, but is always available for advice and help whenever I need it.
But this method of learning can be seen across the GCD team, if you need help with some work – someone will happily show you. Teach. If you want to research something – someone will provide you with material. Study. You are given relevant, challenging work to do. Experience.
As a placement student you must want to learn, otherwise why are you doing it? If, like me, you want to learn and get the most out of your placement then GCD will facilitate your learning. Not only that but they will actively up-skill you. They want you to learn! You are treated like another member of the team but the emphasis is on learning. I have purposely over used the word learning, because, that’s what a placement is about, right?
I then come to the final question I have been asking myself, am I glad I chose GCD to complete my placement in? Absolutely.