BSc (Hons) Business Computing Placement with Bradford Council (July 2017 – July 2018)
Why did you apply to the University of Bradford?
After having done my research, I found that the University of Bradford had a very strong Computing Department. Computing has always been a passion and I have always wanted to pursue a career in this field.
One of main reasons for applying to this particular university is because the graduates from previous years hold a high reputation for employability within the industry.
Bradford is full of friendly people from different backgrounds. Overall, I have enjoyed studying at the University of Bradford as I have met many different people. There are various extra-curricular activities/ societies for students to take part in, and enjoy. My first impression of the University of Bradford was very positive.
Why did you choose that particular course? What did you like and enjoy most about the course?
Since a very young age, I have been interested in computers and new technologies. During my secondary education, I chose IT as my core subject, which enabled me to learn and develop a keen interest in this particular area. IT is a very broad subject and having chosen this course allowed me to keep my options open whilst still learning the fundamental basics of the industry.
I enjoyed and gained lots of experience in learning different programming languages such as Java, SQL, HTML, PHP and CSS. This has been a great learning curve for me, as I developed my skills further, allowing me to be confident in different programming languages. The tutors and lecturers have been very helpful and supportive throughout my academic studies, which pushed me to do better and stay motivated.
What tips would you give to prospective students about the course at the University of Bradford and the university itself?
I would encourage students to research about the course they will be studying so they can develop a deeper understanding of what they will learn about and what career opportunities they could possibly progress into later on. Also, I would strongly suggest students to join and actively participate in different societies within the university so they can explore, learn and gain some real people skills, all which is very important when looking for a job later on.
Students should apply for the 6-week Summer Experience (targeted at first and second year students), as it a great opportunity to gain some real-life working experience. The reason I strongly suggest this, is because it’s important that students gain as much practical experience as possible before graduating. I took part in an internship in my first year, the experience and the skills I learn was phenomenal!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone is in the same boat as you; we are all here to learn. There is a lot of support and guidance given by tutors, lecturers and Career and Employability Services. Career Fairs take place every couple of months which students should attend so they are aware of the potential career prospects. Career Fairs are an excellent way to network with professionals whom may be useful contacts in the future. My advice is that students should take full advantage of Career and Employability Services as they are there to help. Most importantly enjoy your time at the University of Bradford.
What support have you received from Career and Employability Services / Placement Staff?
The Career and Employability Services have been a great help for me throughout my academic year. I was very adamant and wanted the opportunity to take part in a placement year. However, at first I did not get many replies from the employers I wanted to work for. When I visited Career and Employability Services, the Career Consultants and Placement Advisers helped me rewrite my cv and cover letters, helped me practise for my interviews, encouraged me and showed me different ways of applying. This motivated me to keep applying, and fortunately I had a number of interviews and numerous opportunities to choose from!
Overall I believe that Career and Employability Services have helped me a lot and they provide a lot of support for students which include workshops, presentations and one-to-one sessions.
What advice would you give to your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?
The advice I would give students is to sign up to newsletters and job alerts especially the JobsOnline Database, where all the jobs are advertised.
As I have motioned before, the 6-week Summer Internship / Summer Experience Programme for first and second year students is a very good start, as it gives students a heads-up, having gained relevant work experience. I strongly recommend this as it has boosted up my employability skills and it has built up my CV with the relevant experience I require.
Tell us about your current placement …
I am currently doing a year-long industrial placement at Bradford Council, working as a Solutions Architect. This placement gave me an insight of the real world and different projects that will be carried out within the council.
As part of my responsibilities, I will be developing experience in designing effective solutions and working very closely with customers in order to gather specific briefs and requirements. Other responsibilities include carrying out audits and architecture reviews of internal systems leading to developing comprehensive and effective solution and enterprise architecture documentation. In addition, I will be given responsibility for assets, equipment and materials within the IT service undertaking.
How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the University of Bradford?
It will give me a deeper understanding of the working world and give me sufficient exposure to the IT industry and allow me to explore different areas so I can then decide which field I would like to work in.
Having given this placement opportunity, I will have a great advantage over other applicants when applying for jobs. The majority of applicants are educated to a degree level and most will have the same or similar degrees. The practical work experience is what will make me stand out and give me a better chance compared to people who have no work experience related to their degree!