First Month - The Start of Industry.

Introduction

Following my second year of university studies, I decided to extend my course by one year and take the great leap into industry. As such, I will be undertaking a total of 4 years at university, with 2 years of studies (completed), and a year in industry (current), followed by a final year of studies. I always planned to undertake 4 years at university, however, with a master's instead of a placement. It was not until I attended a careers event held by my universities computing department, and after talking to multiple company representatives that I gained the impression that employers favour relevant work experience over additional education. To help confirm this, I attended an additional careers event and gained the same impression. As such, I turned my attention towards undertaking a year in industry and I was fortunate enough to receive an offer from the company Apexon (formally named Infostretch), to which I gratefully accepted.

The Company - Apexon

Apexon is a digital technology services and platform solutions company which helps customers accelerate their digital initiatives from strategy and planning through to execution. In essence, Apexon helps companies by providing the latest in technology, catering to the company’s needs; helping them be a step ahead in the competition. Across key industries such as e-commerce, banking, finance, healthcare, media and entertainment, and more, Apexon helps customers to make the most of their digital transformation.

One of the major contributing factors as to why I applied and ultimately chose Apexon was the aforementioned key industries the company operates within. As a university student with very limited, bordering on no software engineering experience, the opportunity to work within various key industries, utilising a broad range of technology greatly appealed to me. As is the case with many university students, I have not yet concluded what job I would like after finishing university. Fields of study such as data science and biocomputing have piqued my interest, however, it is hard to say definitively what job I will strive for due to the lack of experience in the fields of study. With this in mind, I believe that Apexon presents a very interesting and unique opportunity for me to gain work experience in a wide range of key industries, ultimately allowing me to gain a better understanding of my interests and career aspirations.

My First Month

The first day was one of the most anxious experiences I have had in a very long time. The idea of starting my first software engineering role; not knowing what to expect and far worse, not knowing what Apexon expected of me made me very nervous. While I was confident of my performance during the interview process, doubts crept up the closer I got to the office on the first day. Writing this now and reflecting, I realise how stupid I was, because the first week was spent completing and participating in HR activities such as getting to know the team and learning about the plan for placement students. I did not have to do any of the scenarios I stressed over such as surprise coding tests or quizzes on my first day.

With HR and general knowledge about the plans set in place for the year in placement established, I was informed that due to a high demand for testers, I would be assigned to a project within my second week of starting, with a projected end date for the project being 31st September 2022. The project in question being an upcoming bank with strict deadlines for testing the system.

As of writing this post, I have recently completed my first month within my placement, with 3 weeks working as a tester for the project. While my goals and aspirations have always revolved around the implementation of code, working as a tester has been eye-opening and has provided me with various transferable skills which I will incorporate into my coding practices. One of the biggest transferable skills I have gained over the past 3 weeks has been the ability and effectiveness with which I communicate with clients. Working within the project, I have had the opportunity to attend 2 meetings every day, in which we discuss the product's functionality and any issues raised. Through communicating with the client on such a regular basis, I have learnt various communication skills and it has allowed me to gain the necessary skills to test a system, log an issue, and then effectively discuss the nature of the issue with the client.

Summary

While it is true that the first month did not go as intended due to the special circumstances which have led me to temporarily become a tester, the experience as a whole has been very informative, allowing me to develop crucial skills and gain experience. I have learnt an astronomical amount in only 1 month and I am excited to see where the rest of the year in industry takes me. I hope to work on many projects within my year in industry and I look forward to the knowledge and experience I gain along the way.

- Nathan