“Oh wait, I think I’ve fixed it” and other stories from the second half of my Year in Industry

An image of me stood on a hiking trail, taking part in the Kaluza Charity challenge - a 20km coastal walk raising £200!
Taking part in the Kaluza Charity challenge – I did a 20km coastal walk raising £200!

Hello, if you’re an avid reader of this blog then you’ll remember my two previous posts – ‘Help I’ve broken it again’ and other stories from my Year In Industry so far (part 1) and (part 2). This is more of a reflective post – I’ve been working remotely, writing production code, following Agile practices, and generally trying to be a “proper” software engineer for the last 10-ish months.

Challenges and learnings

My primary goal in doing a placement was to get stuck in and challenge myself to learn and develop as much as possible, and Kaluza has been a phenomenal place to do that. The best example of this is being the “owner” of a feature project that was key to our goals this half.

There have been plenty of challenges along the way like coordinating dependencies across four teams, doing the work quickly enough while still delivering value, and so much more. But it has been incredibly rewarding and I’ve learnt a huge amount.

Perhaps paradoxically, one of the greatest challenges I faced over the past year has also been one of the things I’m most grateful for. Three engineers left my team within the space of 4 or 5 months, and we’ve had 4 new engineers join since! This has meant that I quickly became one of the more domain-experienced members of the team, so I’ve had the opportunity of taking on more responsibility than I otherwise might have.

Ultimately, I think the “theme” of my placement is just to give things a go! Embrace opportunities that pop up, weather the storm when things don’t go perfectly, and you’ll come out the other side better for it.

Highlights of my placement

There are far too many highlights to put into one post, but here are a few:

  • Putting my degree into practice in the real world
  • Getting to know a great bunch of people
  • Taking part in a charity challenge and raising £200
  • Presenting to prospective placement students back at Surrey

Advice for placement applications

I was lucky enough to have secured a placement early on, but I’ve seen lots of students become disheartened when they’re still looking for placements around this time of year. Just know that it is very possible to find one and that you should continue to apply – don’t give up! Remember to ask for help: reach out to the Employability & Careers team (careers@surrey.ac.uk), and feel free to LinkedIn message me (see button below)! Finally, remember that your self-worth should not be tied to a placement and that there is no shame in deciding to continue onto 3rd year instead.

That was a quick whistle-stop reflective tour of my Professional Training Year, some of the key challenges and learnings, and a sprinkle of advice for those of you still searching for a placement. I’d like to end by saying I’m incredibly glad that I took the leap into doing this, and I would encourage everyone to do a PTY!