Computer Science, Michael Lashley
BSc Computer Science student - now a Software Engineer - who undertook at one year placement with Airbus in Germany.
I worked for Airbus who are one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. I was based in Germany. My role was Software Engineer.
During my placement I carried out research and design work and had to develop a DBMS using Microsoft MySQL Server. A Java GUI was built to work with the server to help the department better manage their data.
I had to negotiate a lot to influence the team about the benefits of my project (why it’s important for them). Networking was key as we hold a lot of networking events where people speak a different language and it was important for me to use these opportunities to get my ideas across.
One of the things I noticed coming back from placement is that nothing at the institution fazes me anymore; you learn how to present, you better understand industry standards and what people expect and you develop skills I feel that I can transfer to other places in the future. In particular being able to communicate with people from different cultures.
I had conducted a lot of research about the company and where it is in the market, but it’s only when you arrive at the site and realise that it’s so big that you need buses to get from one side to the next, it’s a little daunting!
Having said that, there was a lot of support from the company and my supervisors. Bearing in mind when I started, there were 5 other interns in my department and that was one small department in a building of say 10 or 20 departments; so there’s a big network of interns and people starting out in the company. Every week we would go out for social events.
One thing that helped me from my studies going into the placement was system design. A lot of my supervisors were very impressed with my level of knowledge in system designing. Some industry professionals had not used the methods I had been taught so I had the ability to introduce them to it, which was really rewarding.
My experience in my placement and in Germany drove home that I should probably do a masters. I’m considering this because all the people I worked alongside (almost 90% of them) had masters degrees or PhDs which goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to stop at a degree.
At the start of my placement I had no professional experience, not only did I develop as a professional but by the end I had completed a German Language class and learned to Glide! I also learned about the interesting culture of another country.
Placements are a good thing, because you can network with many industry professionals, you get invaluable experience working in the industry and you get to have a lot of fun working with different people.
City, University of London’s Professional Liaison Unit are excellent, they provide tailored feedback on your CV, covering letters and how each company fits with your needs. I think that was really helpful for me going in to application processes.