A placement offers lots of ways to develop your skills – but perhaps its the ones that bring you out of your comfort zone that really help you grow! In this blog, Computer Science with Management student Jay Vachhani talks about what he got out of his placement experience, as well as his advice to students who are currently thinking about a year-in-industry placement.
I am a Computer Science with Management student, my placement involved working in IT and Business Administrations within my family business: Jaivel Aerospace. This has seen me initiating new activities and supporting various departments within the UK and India operations, with 5 months spent onsite in India. My main task was to design, test and deploy a new online careers and recruitment platform. Alongside this, I completed several activities, supporting operations in both locations.
What led to the decision of taking a year in Industry?
Unlike many of my other peers on their placements, my choice to undertake a placement came about after completing my second-year final examinations in May 2020. Due to the global pandemic, universities began moving studies online so I chose to withdraw from my place to study abroad in the USA. After careful discussion with my parents, seeing the effect of the pandemic on their business solidified the notion of taking a year in the industry and the learning opportunity a year under the company’s wing would bring. Hence, upon finishing my exams I joined the company as of 1st June.
How have my perspectives changed?
One of my long-term goals is to build and grow my own enterprise, I therefore saw this as an invaluable chance to learn how to adapt a business in a time of significant uncertainty. I did not expect the amount of energy and morale it would need to begin changing an established business. Seeing the systems in place which allow the UK and India team to pull together showed me the complementary (and complex!) nature of infrastructure and company culture. This is something I will have to consider when conceptualising my ideas into a business model.
What skills have I gained over the course of this year?
The ability to gain practical skills and experience is a great overarching reason to choose a year-in-industry, regardless of the discipline you are pursuing. Personally, I have been able to build an outstanding set of complementary soft skills and experience in a variety of fields. My main task focused on software development, deployment, and testing which I had some prior knowledge in.
However, it was through several support tasks that I gained a rounded set of skills. One task involved working in marketing, producing brochures and presentations. I learnt when to use efficient or eloquent communication techniques, which (un)surprisingly is rarely taught on a computer science course. Being out of my comfort zone, thrust into activities I had no experience in, was an extremely important skill I gained.
Who would I recommend in taking a Year in Industry?
The easy answer would be “everyone”. Thinking about the scenario I was in, I would specifically recommend it to those who are completing their second year without an idea of what they want to specialise in, or where they see themselves after graduation. The mere task of applying and interviewing for placement/internship opportunities can give a great idea of which career line to pursue. I found this out whilst applying to over 30 summer internship opportunities for this year, having successfully secured 1.
More importantly, a placement year gives you the opportunity to work in a professional environment, with peers who might be living your dream career that you can interact with and learn from allowing you to develop an idea of what it is you really want to do.