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March 28, 2018, by Carla Froggatt

My Journey on The Nottingham Internship Scheme

By Matt Kempa, final-year student, computer science

During my first year, I wanted to get an internship as I felt that I was lacking in computer science experience. Originally, I considered major technology companies such as Google, IBM and Facebook, but they were looking for second-year students or those with prior experience.

Then I heard about the Nottingham Internship Scheme.

I found out about it in an email sent by my school, and also in a post on the Facebook page. After checking out the vacancies online, I selected some I liked the look of. Then I booked a skills workshop to learn how to improve my CV. This was really helpful, and the Careers team helped me to tailor it to the jobs I wanted. They also reviewed my cover letter.

From this I applied to three of the internships and got interviews for all three! That was a positive experience in itself. I was offered two of the jobs, and from the two offers I accepted the job at Strafe Creative as a front-end developer.

Things you can’t learn in the classroom

I definitely learned a lot about programming, code-style, real-world development, and generally a lot of things you just can’t learn in a classroom. The best aspect of the internship was the people. I loved the office I worked in and it was truly a pleasure to go there every day and learn. The guys treated me with so much respect, and really helped me grow as a programmer. There were very few disadvantages to my time at Strafe; although it’s a real insight into working full-time, and I soon realised how much less free time I’ll have when I graduate!

I felt very positive going into my second year after the internship. It made me much more confident in programming and gave me the skills I needed to manage my second-year group project collaboratively. From working for Strafe, I feel I understand the field a lot more. It also confirmed that computer science is the field I want to grow and work in.

Finding another challenge

A such, I decided to apply for another placement for the following summer. Although not through the Nottingham Internship Scheme this time. I’d tried out life in a smaller company, and now I wanted to see what life was like in a larger firm. This time I felt more confident facing the application process. Taking part in the Nottingham Internship Scheme had given me the skills I needed to apply, and made me a stronger candidate.

Following interviews and assessment days with Facebook, Google and IBM, I accepted an offer from IBM. I will be spending a few months in Winchester where I will be given a project to work with together with four other interns.  IBM are then taking us to France to present our project at a conference!

My advice to you

I would say, just jump in and do it. The Careers and Employability Service run an incredible scheme. What’s more, they will also help you develop the skills you need to get an internship. Take a look at their application workshops, for example.

Never think that you are not good enough to go into an internship role, especially in your first year. You will be surprised at the number of employers who want to give you a chance. And finally, if you land the internship, you have a limited time there. Learn as much as you can, be proactive and ask questions.

Want to get an internship like Matt? Check out the latest Nottingham Internship Scheme opportunities here.

Posted in Work experience