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Start your career in tech with a University internship (1)

Martin Lewis, BSc Computer Science, recommends an internship with the University’s Information Services Group. Find out why in his informative post.

I started work in ISG as a Summer Intern in 2020 and 2021, and since then I’ve been working for ISG doing technical bits and pieces. In this blog post I’ll be discussing what I’ve been doing as a part of my work for the ISG and what skills this has helped me develop.

Initially I was doing rather non-technical work as part of the Learn Foundations project getting the University’s Learn courses prepared for the new academic year. This was adding things like the course outline and organiser details into these fresh courses. However I managed to find a way to automate parts of the workflow I was assigned to and from there began to do technical work for the ISG. I now have the very long winded title of ‘Learn Foundations Applications Developer Intern’ in which I do development work, making applications that are usually, sometimes tangentially, related to the Learn Foundations Project.

For those more technically minded, I’m working in the PHP programming language doing full stack (front and backend) work using the Laravel framework. An excellent opportunity to learn a new language and framework. There is also the chance to work on real world projects that contain issues and experiences that cannot be found in the classroom or in a coursework assignment. With real team members (big thanks to Andrew and his team who I have been working with) and projects that have a real outcome, not just a grade.

Now this is not only a good opportunity to hone skills but it also looks very good on a CV. Having practical software development  experience is fantastic and it also is a great topic of discussion during interviews. Being able to bring up situations and decisions you made outside of a classroom is great.

Now let’s look at the day to day practicalities (this is just my experience; yours may vary with role and when you might work). The work is remote, which fits well alongside my majority remote learning these past few years. Over the summers I’ve worked full time, 35 hours a week, being treated as a standard member of university staff. Then during the semesters only 7 hours a week which I find easy to fit around my studies and personal life – but it can mean making rather slow progress in the projects you work on.

Both of the line managers I’ve had have been wonderful and very understanding about the need to change work patterns last minute or take time off around major deadlines and exams. The pay isn’t too bad and goes a long way towards covering my rent.

I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing to work for the University after May as I am finally graduating. I will however apologise in advance to any future intern who has to work with my code! But the last two year have gone a long way to making me a much more employable graduate. So do consider applying for an ISG internship , I’ve personally gotten a lot out of it and I think any proactive student can benefit greatly from such an internship.

Thanks, Martin.

Next week we’ll hear from Alicia, a student whose non-technical degree course set her up for success in her internship.

During February and March we’re focusing on Careers in Tech & Data. There are opportunities for all – no matter what you study.  Attend panels with recruiters and graduates on 9th March and search MyCareerHub for #EdTechDataCareers for vacancies and events.

The ISG internships will be live between 7th Feb – 11th March, and Employ.Ed internships will be advertised  7th Feb – 9th March.

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