Ana Jalba, King’s Alumni and Computer Science with a Year in Industry graduate completed her placement at Nomura in 2016/17 and now works in Software Engineering at Privitar. Two years on, Ana tells us about her career journey since graduating and how her placement helped her along the way:
I first joined King’s College London in 2014 on a 3-year Computer Science degree. In my second year, I learned that I could switch to a degree that included a year in industry and I decided to take the opportunity. Through that, I managed to spend 14 months on a Software Engineering placement at Nomura International, an investment bank based in London. Now, two years after graduation, I work as a Software Engineer at Privitar, a startup that offers a data privacy platform to customers.
My placement experience
At the end of my first year of Computer Science, I spent two weeks during the spring interning at Nomura and they offered me an interview for a summer internship for the following year. At that point, I had no idea if I wanted to work in the industry or be a researcher, so I thought I would see what working full-time is like.
So I decided to switch my degree to Computer Science with a year in industry during my second year of university, as I thought I would get a much better idea about what it’s like to work as a software engineer if I spent a whole year working. Not having exams and getting paid for a year was also extremely tempting! Fortunately, Nomura was also able to extend my summer internship to a year’s placement. The flexibility to do that really helped and taking a year in industry was one of the best decisions I made for my career as a software engineer.
Benefits and career takeaways from my placement
The best part of working for a year at a company during my course was practising programming every working day and learning from professionals. This turned out to be extremely useful for my final year as I gained confidence in myself and had a better idea about what I wanted to do after university. I discovered that I enjoyed the practical aspect of computer science, so I knew what to focus on in my final year of university. I also had a head-start in knowing what kind of industry I wanted to work in.
Not only did the skills I learned during my placement help me with my dissertation project and exams, but it also helped me start my career after graduating. As I already had a full year of practice in the industry, I could talk about my real-life experiences and stand out against other candidates when interviewing for graduate positions.
Advice for students interested in a year-in-industry placement
I cannot recommend taking a year-in-industry highly enough. Since graduating, my roles have involved working with big data, and a lot of the skills I learned during my placement are still relevant in my current job. So you never know what essential skills you might learn in a year! Now, I am very happy working at Privitar and it would be a shame not to show you this amazing feast we had during Family Day last year!