"This placement has opened up a lot of doors for me. Even now, I am still working part time for them, helping me with my living costs and allowing me to keep gaining experience. I am also welcome to work with them when I graduate."
Who was your placement with and what was your job title?
DTT Multimedia, an Amsterdam based mobile application developer. My role was an Intern Developer.
What attracted you to this placement opportunity?
The main thing that attracted me to the position was the opportunity to work in a client facing role. Moreover, I had learned a little bit about mobile development in my second year which I really enjoyed and mobile app development is a very commercially viable career path. Another major factor was that the position was in a completely different country, so it was an opportunity to throw myself in the deep end, experience a different culture, meet new people and take on the challenges of settling down in another country, away from the comfort of home.
How did you go about securing your placement and what was the process for this?
The position was advertised on the Plymouth University placements page. It was advertised as an android developer position. The job details page contained a little bit of information about the job position, and a request to send a letter of motivation and my resume. DTT responded to me promptly, asking a few more additional questions to prove my motivation for the position and gave me further details about what I would be getting up to.
They provided me with a 'test' to complete by a given deadline. The test was to produce a small android application. Design specifications and image resources were provided in a zip file, along with a list of functional requirements. An hours log document was also provided.
Having passed the test, I had a face to face Skype interview with the lead android developer, who asked me to provide an example of work I have done besides the test and to discuss with him recent apps that have come to market. He also offered me more detailed feedback on the test results and had a discussion with me about my hobbies and interests.
Afterwards, the Director of the company had a face-to-face discussion with me about arrival dates, payment arrangements, paperwork, accommodation and an offer for the position.
Can you describe the various roles and responsibilities of your placement?
When I first joined DTT, my main role was as an intern android developer. As I was new, I was mainly tasked with bug fixing jobs. Based on my results from the test and my ability to complete tasks quickly, I was given additional responsibilities such as working on implementing cool new features on existing android apps in the store. Every new intern also had the responsibility of greeting clients, preparing the meeting room for clients and ensuring the office space and kitchen remained in a good condition. This was rota based.
I began to show an interest in development for iOS, so I asked for the opportunity to move to the iOS team. As I had shown my capabilities in previous tasks, I was put onto similar tasks for iOS, with the opportunity to work with the lead developer in implementing new key features in apps, dictating the data structure of apps, getting involved in early stages of development, uploading versions of apps live to the store for the client and communicating with the design team about potential issues.
Towards the end of my placement, I had seen several apps go through the entire development process, had the opportunity to directly interact with clients, interview potential interns and delegate tasks to other interns.
How did the Careers & Employability department (Placements Team) support you before your placement?
The placements team helped me secure an Erasmus scholarship that would help me with my living costs in Amsterdam. Without that, making the move to Amsterdam would have been impossible.
How did the academic staff support you during your placement?
The placements team was there to answer any questions I had about my placement. Dan Livingstone came all the way out to Amsterdam to visit me on my placement, to see the office, to answer any questions or concerns I had.
How did your previous studies enable you to be successful during your placement?
My studies until that point provided me with a solid foundation to continue learning. Introducing me to things such as version control, design patterns, project management tools, correct programming practices, even down to things such as managing to break down large tasks into separate smaller tasks assisted me with such a deadline driven environment.
How will your placement help you with the final year of your degree?
Due to the nature of my placement year which was extremely deadline driven, it has allowed me to remain more organised.
Even something as simple as the 9-til-6 routine of the placement allows me to come back to university for my final year and fit a lot more into the day. It has certainly improved my work ethic for sure.
In terms of your career development so far, what have been the benefits of undertaking this placement?
This placement has opened up a lot of doors for me. Even now, I am still working part time for them, helping me with my living costs and allowing me to keep gaining experience. I am also welcome to work with them when I graduate.
The fact that my LinkedIn profile has that I have that year of experience on there means that recruitment consultants are contacting me every other week with opportunities for me which will allow me to walk into a job after I leave university.
What would you say to a prospective student thinking about undertaking a placement year?
Do it. A placement year is so important for your career prospects when you leave university. Trying to compete with people with existing experience with a degree alone is not enough anymore. It is your opportunity to boost your skills more than you would have ever thought, work with experienced individuals, keeps you up to date with your industry of choice. Even if you overall don't enjoy your place of work, at least you know not to go into that line of work. If you do enjoy your placement you might discover a new passion.
Was the fact that Plymouth offered a placement year a motivational factor in your decision to choose Plymouth? If so, why?
Yes because a placement year / any experience in the industry of choice is much more valuable than a degree by itself.
Inspired by this story?
For more information about student placements, please visit the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics' student placements page.
Want to find similar student placement students?
If you would like to find out what other Computing students are currently doing, please visit the computing placements page.