In the next of our two part series on what a Software Engineering Placement at GCD is really like, Scott talks us through what his recent experience was like.
Over the last year I feel I have a far greater understanding of software development. While I understood the basics, how to use them and apply them, I had only ever really used them for crafted problems, e.g. assessment, course work etc. While I had some experience with using them, it was always under education or simplified systems. Now, I have used them to solve real problems and improved my ability and knowledge on how best to solve these problems. I have used systems and created solutions I never could have before my Software Engineering placement.
The main takeaway would be getting hands on experience working within project teams and in an agile environment. While there were courses in university about it, it was more top level information and definitions. Having actual experience of working in a professional team and under deadlines with goals was daunting at first but I found it helped me work and better focus on my current tasks. It also gave me people to turn to when I felt I was stuck instead of sitting and wasting time. My placement also showed me my progression, I could see that I was completing tasks quicker and how problems and tasks I’d previously struggled with were now easier to complete.
Yes, it’s great! It’s one thing to say I enjoy working with computers and software, but just because you enjoy it in school and or as a hobby doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy doing it professionally. Placement was a chance for me to experience a future career in Software Engineering, whether it works for me and is the right fit. I have found that after my placement I’m happier than ever with my future and working within the Software Engineering industry. I also found that I learned a lot more on my placement than in uni so far, possibly in total. My degree is valuable, of course, but working alongside people who have more experience, learning from them and working with them, you learn so much that just can’t really be taught at university!
One of my favourite parts of my placement at GCD was working with real code. This code was part of a real system and had real problems and real implications. Now, I won’t say there wasn’t anxiety attached to that, but the knowledge that what I just did would go further than an examiner was a good feeling. I also enjoyed being given freedom and responsibility to solve problems. Though if I ever needed help there was always someone ready to give it. I truly enjoyed my Software Engineering Placement and can’t wait to see where it leads.