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The Big Picture

Alex undertook a 12-week placement with software-development company Documobi (now BrandActif) in summer 2015. He built their website and helped with computing infrastructure projects.

“I built their website for them when they needed a new website… I was really proud of the fact that it not only looked good and worked well but that I’d managed to put in some of my own modifications… they came back and went ‘actually, this looks really good’… and that was with a language that I’d only been using for eight weeks…”

The Application Process

Alex went to careers fairs and chatted to a multitude of companies, receiving many rejections in the process of applying for these opportunities. He learned to tweak and tailor his CV to better suit the roles he was applying for.

“There are a lot of rejections involved no matter how good you are. I kept telling myself I’m competing against the country so I’m not surprised I didn’t get an internship.”

Not as Expected?

Alex thought that he would be quite happy coding for the rest of his life, and while he did enjoy the internship, the experience made him reconsider his career options.

I enjoy getting hands-on, whether that’s with research in a lab or developing technology, both hardware and software. Just narrowing that down made me think about the kind of jobs I wanted to get into and has now made me consider a PhD more than I originally did, so I’m now looking into that.”

In Alex’s Own Words…

Full video transcription

Got an internship in February. That internship fell through a couple of months later and I haven’t mentioned it to someone who worked a Documobi who then offered me an internship on the spot. I was just a software development intern. It was with a company called Documobi based in Harrogate. They do technology, specifically web development and app development. I helped build some of their infrastructure. I also built their website for them when they ended a new website and considering that I hadn’t had any programming experience outside of my degree. I was really proud of the fact that it not only looked good, but worked well, and I managed to put in some modifications that they came back and went “actually this looks really good” with a language that I’d only been using for 8 weeks.

Going into the internship I thought that I could happily program for the rest of my life. Although I really enjoyed it, it made me realise I don’t particularly want to do programming. I enjoy getting hands-on, whether that’s with research in a lab or developing technology, both hardware and software. Just narrowing that down made me think about the kind of jobs I wanted to get into and has now made me consider a PhD more than I originally did, so I’m now looking into that.

I’d looked for internships across the country. I went to careers fairs, chatting to a lot of different companies. There are a lot of rejections involved no matter how good you are. I kept telling myself “I’m competing against the country so I’m not surprised I didn’t get an internship” It was just a case of keep tweaking the CV to suit the jobs and just try and learn from each experience. Once you’ve got that experience of how to apply to an internship you’ll definitely be ready to kind of target the employer with what they want and be able to pick out your skills for that set.

The Next Step

Alex completed his MPhys degree in June 2017. He is currently studying for a PhD in photonics at the University of York.

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