I always had an interest in computers and from the age of 16 I began looking for work experience in local IT companies. This experience taught me invaluable lessons, and it strengthened my desire to pursue a career in IT (although at that stage I was oblivious to the vast roles offered from such a prosperous industry).
What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you’ve gained from this?
In addition to studying a four year course (inclusive of professional experience), during the first year of my studies, I completed Degree Plus (Route B), embarked on a 10 week summer internship with Infosys, India, and completed a 5 week internship with Deloitte Digital, Belfast.
I have a determined personality and one which will go looking for, and avail of, opportunities – therefore, when offered the chance to expand my knowledge and gain real life experience in the IT industry with two infamous companies, of course I accepted. Although, this did not happen as smoothly as one would expect. I had an initial desire of wanting to work with Deloitte Digital, Belfast for my professional experience placement year, and so applied for their summer internship programme for the summer of 2014. However, I also applied for the summer internship offered by Infosys, India. Upon being offered the summer internship with Infosys India, which I accepted, I was also offered the five week internship with Deloitte Digital, Belfast. So, I was offered the chance of gaining insight and experience with Deloitte Digital and offered the opportunity to gain global IT experience in India. As previously mentioned, I avail of opportunities and although I was in a predicament, after much thought, I enquired if it was possible to complete both internships (despite the start date for Deloitte Digital overlapping my internship in Infosys, India). Thus, I met with the careers service to discuss my prospects. Both myself and the careers service spoke with Deloitte Digital managers and a compromise was made – I could begin the 5 week Deloitte Digital placement the day after I returned from India.
I think it is fair to say I had a busy summer, but I enjoyed every bit of it, and would encourage others to get out there and find opportunities to enhance your employability and enhance your life experience. I am now in my second year studies and have secured a year o professional experience with a local company called, Pathxl, as a Test Analyst, which I start Monday 8th June 2015. I feel having taken advantage of the opportunities mentioned above, I have enhanced my employability going forward; I show employers I am willing to put myself outside my comfort zone, which in a ever growing industry, can be no bad thing! Go on – try something new – see where it leads!
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
I have taken advantage of the fantastic Careers service offered to IT students and I have attended events they have held from local companies and have booked appointments and sent an unknown number of emails to them seeking advice on potential job offers, interview advice and even advice on what my prospects would be if I took advantage of placement opportunities with particular companies. I have never been let down by the careers service, and without it, I fear my drive to network with employers and put myself out there may have hindered my progress to date; they offer invaluable knowledge, insight and advice – I made sure to avail of it.
Any advice for other Queen's students?
I would advise any QUB students looking to try new experiences and gain experience or knowledge in their chosen subject field, to go for it! You have nothing to lose and if it works out for you, you will have gained experience outside the classroom, and if it does not work out, at least you have learned what does or does not work for you going forward as you embark on your career. I would encourage you to take the opportunities you seek and are fortunate enough to have been offered!