Global Placement Stories | Maksymilian Sekula at STFC as a software engineer

Maksymilian Sekula at STFC
A photo showing what I see while working on introducing a feature as part of my placement.

Maksymilian Sekula is a current Informatics student at King’s College London. In this entry of Global Placement Stories, Maksymilian discusses what to consider in finding a placement!

This time last year, applying for placement roles was not an easy task, but it taught me a lot about job application processes. Firstly, being early is key. Many placement applications open in September. By January, there are few left. I suggest starting ASAP. Prioritise based on opening, not closing dates. On the closing date, it’s likely position has already been filled. It also helps to be one of the first candidates the recruiter sees, since there are less applications to compete with, improving your chances. Keeping organised is vital, I recommend Notion’s job application tracker, plus the placement team has a great email newsletter with recently opened/closing opportunities.

I suggest picking placements based upon the environment, learning opportunities and your career interests. I believe salary & company recognition are less important considerations now then they will be for post-university roles. You have an amazing opportunity to learn on the job for a whole year before coming back. Use this chance to get real-world experience in something you a) look forward to, and b) pushes you learn and explore (although the money is a nice bonus). Think of your long-term plans and how a particular role will help with these goals.

I am doing my placement at STFC as a software engineer, developing software for physics research. The first month was the most difficult, as there was much technical and scientific knowledge to learn. With my coworkers and workplace support, I picked up things and became effective at my job quickly. This helped a lot with building confidence. Initially, I was intimidated by the high level of difficulty. Now, I am confident taking on new work just as well as anyone else on my team. This new confidence and experience will serve me well in my final year and post-university.