John Clarke - junior software engineer at Thomson Reuters

John Clarke, BSc (Hons) Computer Science, at Thomson Reuters

"The opportunity to apply your learning in the real world is invaluable. It will greatly benefit your learning in preparation for your final year, employability and hopefully final year grade."

Who was your placement with and what was your job title?

My placement was with Thomson Reuters, working as a junior software engineer.

What attracted you to this placement opportunity?

The chance to make a genuine impact on a large and exciting project attracted me to this placement opportunity. It was also a great way to be introduced to the finance industry.

How did you go about securing your placement and what was the process for this?

I initially applied for the placement by submitting my CV to a recruiter. This was followed by a telephone interview and finally a face to face interview. I heard about the opportunity in an email from the University placements team.

Can you describe the various roles and responsibilities of your placement?

As a junior software engineer, my primary role was to contribute to the development of a new product. The vast majority of this was implemented in Java. Additionally, I was responsible for system testing, code review and investigation of new technologies. This meant working with a number of senior developers and occasional liaison with global stakeholders.

How did Plymouth University and your lecturers support you both before and during your placement?

The University played an important role in inspiring me to undertake a placement, by exposing me to the experiences of previous students. Lectures during the first two years of my course also provided valuable advice for finding and securing roles. During my placement it was great to have a tutor who was easy to contact and made regular visits to my workplace. This allowed me to feel connected to the University while away and remain focused on the goals of my placement.

How did your previous studies enable you to be successful during your placement?

Much of my learning at university prior to my placement was key to its success. Java development was the main focus of my role, which was covered heavily in stage 2. A number of key programming concepts covered during this time were used in the project I worked on at Thomson Reuters. University modules had also exposed me to an essential project management framework used throughout the company.

How will your placement help you with the final year of your degree?

Undertaking a placement will help significantly during the final year of my degree. Applying my learning to a real world project helped solidify my understanding of important content, greatly increasing my confidence. The placement has also benefited my work ethic. This will be invaluable for completing my final year, particularly when I begin the project. I’ve also been exposed to a number of new technologies which I can potentially use in my final year project.

In terms of your career development so far, what have been the benefits of undertaking this placement?

Undertaking my placement has been a great boost to my career development. Graduating with a year of work experience will be invaluable. It gave me a range of experiences to draw upon and the confidence to apply for more demanding roles.

What would you say to a prospective student thinking about undertaking a placement year?

I recommend that any student should seriously consider undertaking a placement year. It allows you to gain a huge amount of experience, meet new people and try out a role you might be interested in after university. The opportunity to apply your learning in the real world is invaluable. It will greatly benefit your learning in preparation for your final year, employability and hopefully final year grade.

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