Written on 25th February 2021 - 6 minutes

Undergraduate Q&A at Software Solved

Graduate diary entry

We are passionate about working with undergraduates, offering opportunities for them to further their careers and extend their knowledge of the tech and software world. We run a successful undergraduate placement scheme and are always keen to mention our affiliation and encouragement of  STEMM. As a company, we’re keen to learn from the next generation of developers, business analysts and project managers so we can continue to grow and develop.

Our latest trio of undergraduates joined us last month and we have asked them some questions to see how they are getting on with their placements so far.

ZOE TAYLOR

Top-tips/things you have learnt so far while working with clients/projects/different areas of the business

  • Good communication is essential, both internally and externally with clients. Having daily stand-ups helps with communication and ensures any issues are quickly resolved.
  • Building a rapport with the team is important as you spend a lot of time with them and want to enjoy working together!
  • Be honest and transparent about issues as they arise.
  • Make sure meetings are always left in a positive place and people are aware of the next steps needed and feel supported with that.

What is the culture like Software Solved and how are you finding working remotely?

Software Solved has a lovely culture! People are so friendly, welcoming and always willing to help out where possible. It is a relaxed and fun environment to work in where people work hard, but also have a laugh too! Despite working remotely, I feel connected to people through regular meetings and whole company stand-ups, as well as team lunches and events which have been a great way to get to know people.

A day in a life of a grad BA/ PM and top tips to get into the profession for 2021

A typical day involves helping out on projects with work ranging from booking meetings, to pulling together project initiation documents, to running stand-ups, to creating weekly project reports for clients. Whilst there are two main projects I’m working on, I get to help on other projects too doing financial reporting, time sheet set up and project closure documents. I also get to attend client meetings to shadow or participate and often take meeting minutes. Throughout the day I also have calls with my line manager and other team members to check-in and have a catch up! Days are always busy with interesting tasks and tend to go very quickly!

CHLOE THORNE

Expectations for February:

I have just started working on the Android app for SurveyorTech (ST) with Ryan. This has been made a priority as clients have been requesting a go-live for the app. With only building for Android once, my aim for this month is to build on my development skills and help build towards a working app.

First Month:

My first month at Software Solved went really quickly. The first couple weeks included inductions and test shadowing. This was a good way to start as it meant I got to know everyone. Test shadowing allowed me to get an understanding of the projects (what they look like, what they do) before working on them. I then built an internal tool for the ST developers to use. This was a great starter project as it got me up and running with the environment before jumping into the main project. I found this a really good refresher after having a six month break from coding.

Things I have learnt so far:

Team work is key. It is important to have regular meetings as a whole team to discuss user stories/where the project is at. As everyone is working on their own individual thing, without these meetings it would be difficult to see how the product is developing. These meetings get you communicating with other teams which is helpful as you can see the user’s perspective on the product, rather than just the technical aspect. It also allows the developers to see different approaches to a user story.

Although I already had a fairly good knowledge on some of the programming tools and techniques used for ST, I can already see that my development skills have started to improve. It has been really good to work on a non-academic project.

Remote Working:

Remote working hasn’t been nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. There was a few things I was worried about when it came to starting placement – 1) Finding space to be able to work from home. 2) Getting to know everyone remotely. Thankfully, I have managed to get a good setup at home, where I’m not in the same room as I sleep in (I know this is a struggle for some people). The use of  Microsoft Teams has also been really helpful. Teams allows you to have those casual conversations to get to know people. It also makes remote communication a lot easier than if you were relying on emails .

Everyone has been so welcoming and the inductions in the first week were a great way to get to know each team. I like that we are encouraged to use our webcams as this means we get as close to face-to-face interaction as remote working can give you.

ST tend to have at least one meeting a day which is great for a quick catchup. The ST team also have a “COVID Catchup” every Friday afternoon where we all get together and talk about anything BUT work. Being new, this was a great way to get to know the people I work closely with. It also allows for that downtime you get in the office. I think working from home it is easy to forget that in the office you would have a 5 minute casual chat whilst making a coffee; this catchup gives you that time to wind-down for a bit.

Is it an exciting time to learn about software?

It is a very exciting time to be learning about software. Software/apps are the future. Changing to remote working means everything has switched to online. I think ST is a prime example of how apps can make remote working possible. Before, a surveyor would have to go to the survey’s destination, but with ST they don’t.

Top tips to get into the profession for 2021:

  • Don’t think you’re not good enough to do a placement. Placements are a chance to learn on the job – it’s okay if you don’t know everything.
  • Think about the kind of work you want to be doing and find job descriptions that match.
  • Don’t just apply for companies you’ve heard of. Smaller companies are likely to get you more involved and give you more responsibilities.
  • Don’t give up applying even if you don’t get your dream offer.

DAN HIRST

Expectations for next month:

  • Working on and learning more about sparkle
  • Hopefully working on Deeds DB doing Unit testing
  • Learn more about different technologies e.g., aurelia

First month:

    • Have learnt a lot about different technologies. E.g., automation testing, AI face recognition, Cloud Storage and Asp.net core 3.1
    • Working on a live client facing project (Sparkle)
    • Regular meetings with my mentor to discuss what I have done in the week and what I could do next
    • I have found working remotely good mainly because everyone is very easy to get hold of when you have a problem!

Is it an exciting time to learn more about software? How do you see the industry advancing (face recognition, apps etc)

  • I can see the industry continue to move towards cloud-based services as they are easy to implement, cost efficient and have a wide variety uses. E.g., in a few days I implemented a face recognition application that compares a face to a catalogue of faces using Azure FaceAI. (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/services/cognitive-services/face/ )

A day in a life of a grad developer or grad BA/ PM and top tips to get into the profession for 2021:

  • Self-motivation is probably one of the most important skills to have and working at Software Solved has helped me to apply this skill learning new tools and technologies.

Top-tips/things you have learnt so far while working with clients/projects/different areas of the business:

  • Collaboration/Communication is very important when trying to progress a project. Working in an agile approach helps with progression as daily stand-ups allow direct communication to discuss issues/blockers.

This is blog no2 of the series, read our first blog here about the undergraduates first week at Software Solved. To find out more about our undergraduate placements we offer at Software Solved click here. 

Undergraduate roles

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