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Gabriella Soffer

Biomedical Engineering (BEng) BEng

Gabriella Soffer studied Biomedical Engineering at City and undertook placement at the Department for Work and Pensions as an Operational Researcher.

During her time at the placement, she designed large-scale interactive mapping services and gained knowledge of several programming languages. Gabriella says that the placement had a highly positive effect on her career, making her more employable whilst giving insight into the interview processes.

Where did you undertake your work placement and what were the main responsibilities during your time there?

I was an Operational Researcher at the Department for Work and Pensions within the Civil Service. My main responsibilities included working on monthly official statistics for the Universal Credit government benefit scheme and programming interactive data mapping visualisations for the government website. These tools would be used help members of the public who are looking to go on Universal Credit.

What skills did you learn during your time at the placement?

I gained the knowledge of several programming languages, one of which I was able to use in my third year dissertation project at City. The role enabled me to be more confident and try out new things whilst also working independently. I also had the opportunity to present various pieces of work which improved my communication, public speaking and presenting skills.

Tell us about a positive standout moment during your placement which was most memorable.

A real stand out moment for me was when I designed a completely new interactive map which was more complex than others previously attempted. It was picked out by one of the most senior people in the entire government department, who then presented it to top personnel as a showcase for innovation within our area of work. Considering that the Department for Work and Pensions has around 85,000 employees, being recognised at such a senior level was an amazing experience.

How has the placement helped with your overall career goals and aspirations?

It has helped me immensely! I am exceedingly more employable now that I have a year of paid technical work. I also received lots of career advice whilst there for applications, interviews and assessment centres. Essentially, I already have a job sorted a year before I graduate! The placement taught me that as long as I am someone who enjoys learning, I can achieve what I want if I really set my mind to it.