Ryan Sheff

Computer Games Development

Tell us a bit about your job role whilst on placement and what this entails on a day-to-day basis.

My job role is a software development intern in the test automation and optimization department at Fujitsu in Augsburg, Germany. My day to day work changes quite frequently, I am often given new tasks or projects, but mainly I maintain some basic scripts that my team have produced, making sure they work and the output is right, as well as researching any new pieces of software that my team wants to try out. I also write my own scripts to help the team do menial tasks that can be easily automated.

What is the most interesting aspect so far?

Definitely just learning. I have learned so much while here, with new programming languages mainly, but also how to be a professional in a work environment – planning meetings, discussing topics with my manager and also meeting customer needs when they ask for a product.

How did you manage to secure your placement?

I asked Nicky Danino about the Fujitsu placement this time last year and she got the ball rolling. I then gave my CV to the study abroad team. Within a few weeks I had a reply from Fujitsu inviting me to a telephone interview. Once I had completed that interview, that was it, I had the placement.

Ryan Sheff

How important were UCLan in helping you to gain this placement?

They were paramount. Without the help of the study abroad team and Nicky, I would not be here right now, that’s for sure. Mainly with organising the communication between me and Fujitsu.

Did you find it exciting or daunting to be moving over to Germany as part of you placement?

If I’m being honest, a little bit of both. I had taken an AS level in German so I was excited that my skills in that field would come in useful as well as knowing that this area of Germany is stunning and a really nice place to live. It was really hard to leave a few things behind though, mostly my friends and family. Overall, it is an incredible experience for me and I wouldn’t change it.

What skills have you learnt whilst on your degree that you can apply to your placement?

The main one is programming knowledge. It helped a lot when I came, I already knew code and what it looked like so learning the new languages was quite easy. Also, SCRUM methodology is used here to perfection so having the prior knowledge of what SCRUM is before coming helped me fit into the team and understand how things work.

How important do you think placements are to apply your skills to real life situations?

I think they are incredibly important. You can learn as much as you want at University but when you get into a job the truth is you have will to abide by other people’s rules, conform to their standards and a placement really hits that home. Also the theory on SCRUM is fine but in practice it is different to how you expect and works much better than it seemed it would in a classroom.

What advice would you give to students who are looking at coming to UCLan to study your course?

I would suggest doing a little bit of research on programming before getting here. I didn’t and I think I lost out because of that. Also, pay particularly close attention in the SCRUM lessons and professional skills, they really will help you when you get into word. Start assignments nice and early, don’t wait until the last minute because you will quickly realise that a lot of the assignments will take more than one night to complete.

What do you think of the opportunities that UCLan gives to students?

I think overall they’re pretty good. I think it’s a shame not more students take them, I don’t know many people on placements this year. Considering how much the University pushes them and the resources available to students to do a placement, more people really should get involved I think.

What advice would you give to other students considering a placement during their degree?

Do it! I see no good reason why you wouldn’t want to boost your CV above the rest and earn some amazing life and work experience while doing it. I’ve met some amazing people while here as well as doing some really meaningful and interesting work. A placement is invaluable to your development as a person and a developer, no matter in which field of software development it is. Please don’t waste the opportunities that the university is giving you, just go for it and you will be better for it afterwards, I can pretty much guarantee it.

28 November 2018