When deciding on my degree and University, the opportunity to take a year in industry was essential. I chose Swansea University for it’s amazing Year In Industry and Employability teams.

I was so excited to take a year out of my studies to get stuck into the workplace. My main aim was to challenge myself to further my education whilst also building on and applying the key principles I had learnt during the first two years of my degree.

After a competitive application and interview process I managed to secure 1 of 2 placements offered by Veeqo as a Junior Software Engineer. This was the first year Veeqo had ever offered these placements so it felt like an honour to be able to pave the way for students in Swansea to find a local placement to develop their skills.

To begin with it was a very daunting experience and I found it completely different to the environment I was used to in University, especially with the situation around the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, by persevering through and challenging myself to learn and develop, whilst also being prepared to make mistakes, it was truly amazing how much I have managed to grasp during my year, in order to grow as an individual, a team member, whilst developing into a more rounded software engineering student.

Some of you may ask yourselves should you do a Year in Industry? In my opinion I cannot recommend it enough! It’s an amazing opportunity to really push yourself, to apply everything you have learnt and finally to have a huge amount of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Veeqo. We have an amazing developer community, with a huge array of opportunities to get stuck in with.

Further to that. A year in industry really develops your ability to effectively manage your time and improve your work ethic, which I know will be immensely beneficial to my final year studies. It’s a known fact that Year In Industry students secure amazing grades in their final year as they are able to put their personal experience into practice, whilst building and utilising the work ethic and time management skills they developed from the workplace into their studies.

My Year in Industry at Veeqo was truly unforgettable and was rounded off with a great display to the whole of the company about a huge final project me and another student completed. We had to come up with an idea that could be used within Veeqo, Design, Develop and Deploy the whole feature by ourselves. After doing all of this we demonstrated the new Feature to the whole of the Company and it is now live to all of our customers.

Tips & resources for your first few months as a developer

I thought that I’d include some of the resources that I have used since joining Veeqo to help me learn Ruby on Rails and other vital skills needed. I’d also recommend keeping a log of any useful things that you come across either while learning or even developing and reading other people’s code. I found doing this really helpful whenever I came across needing to do something similar in the future.

  • Codecademy
    This free Codecademy course for Ruby was great at helping me learn the basics, syntax and quirks behind the language and how to get to grips with setting up a local environment.

  • Dev.to Web Course
    I followed this free tutorial as a next step up from the codecademy course. This takes you from start to finish of building a Ruby on Rails web application. With Front-end and backend development.

  • 99 Bottles of OOP
    I used this book as a way to develop better code practices once I had started to develop my own features and functions within Veeqo.

Reflecting on my experience

Upon reflection, I have realised that if you’re willing to work hard, apply yourself and if you love what you do, be that sport, studying or whatever hobby you have, then you have the ability to excel and succeed.

The support I have received during my year from my team, manager and the university staff was incredible and without any of them, there is no way I would have had such a successful and enjoyable year.

Looking forward, I am excited about going back to Swansea University to finish my Software Engineering degree. I truly believe that my ability to understand and connect with the modules and concepts that we study, through using my personal experience will be essential to me having a successful final year.

I am also looking at graduate job opportunities with the aim to start in the Summer of 2022. I will definitely be applying back to Veeqo as they are an amazing company and I cannot recommend them enough. The time and effort they put into helping me develop my skills is truly remarkable and the responsibility and authority you are given, even as a Year in Industry student, is amazing!

Without everybody's trust and help, I honestly don’t believe I would have learnt and developed so much and had such an amazing year as I did.

One final thing I would like to touch upon is that even if your Year In Industry placement is in an area you didn’t really expect in terms of your long term career aspirations, this is still a key and vital learning experience and is hugely valuable.

Taking my year into consideration, I cannot recommend a Year In Industry enough and truly recommend everyone to at least consider the opportunity. I do hope this brief insight to my experiences has been useful and I would be happy to help anyone looking for further information or who has any questions.

Thanks and good luck!