What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you’ve gained from this?
I’ve made use of many opportunities that are only available to students, including undertaking summer internships based in India, China, Ireland and England. Over the course of these internships I have improved many skills and gained lots of new ones including real teamwork, communication, app development and other technical knowledge, personal confidence and much more.
I’m a committee member for two university clubs; Queen’s Computing Society and the Skydiving Club. This has been a rewarding way to give something back to the university and the students who come behind me.
These extracurricular activities are what make me stand out from my peers to employers.
At the end of first year I completed Kainos AppCamp, this was an 8 week ‘camp’ which taught me how to build and release my own iPhone app. I was given a MacBook Air and iPod Touch to allow me to develop my very own app. I also had office space within Kainos, and full time mentors who taught me Objective-C and helped along the way.
For the summer of my second year, I was accepted onto the prestigious Infosys InStep program. This was a 2 month, all expenses paid summer internship in Hyderabad, India. I worked in the Security and Privacy Research Lab there. My project mentor was very flexible with me, so that I could build technical skills which I hadn’t before and at the same time provide value to the company. I had a fantastic time in India, and it definitely allowed me to gain confidence and step outside of my comfort zone, both personally and professionally. I gained many friends from around the world, and was able to travel all over India at the weekends with them.
After AppCamp had completed, Kainos offered me an interview for undertaking my placement year with them, which I passed. It was a huge weight off my back, having my placement sorted before I started 2nd year. I learnt a tremendous amount during my year at Kainos and was involved with many different projects including Kainos’ largest project which exposed me to a lot of new technologies and methodologies. I also gave a talk on the benefits of technology in healthcare at the European Connected Health summit.
Towards the end of my placement year I was offered a place on the Generation UK program, which gives students the opportunity to work abroad for the summer. I accepted an offer to work in a large tech company based in Shenzhen, China. This was a new challenge as I had only ever worked/lived in English speaking countries. Attending weekly Mandarin classes helped me to communicate with my co-workers and to improve their English speaking skills. This was a very rewarding, once in a lifetime experience and I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity to do so.
This summer I have accepted an internship with American Express in Brighton, England after attending their assessment centre in February.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
I’ve found the Career guidance at Queen’s to be extremely beneficial to me, especially in helping me to gain summer internships. They were able to give me advice on my CV, vital interview tips including mock interviews, provide information on opportunities I wouldn’t have known about and more.
I also completed the Insight into Management course and found this to be an excellent course which helped me build upon my teamwork and creative thinking skills.
Any advice for other Queen's students?
Make the most of every opportunity as you may not be able to once you leave university!
Don’t just wait for opportunities to come to you, go out and find them.
If you’re into travelling, look for internships abroad – there’s lots out there, each one I’ve done was fantastic and has made me a better person all round. It also has the added benefit of looking amazing on your CV!