Callum Humpage's experience with Germany's Fujitsu

BSc (Hons) Computer Games Development placement year student

In the competitive world of Computer Games engineering, it is crucial to gain top quality industry experience in order to gain skills first-hand to complement what students learn throughout their time at UCLan.

That is exactly what Computer Games Development student Callum Humpage is doing at the world famous Games Development company Fujitsu in Augsburg, Germany.

Whilst Callum is on a placement at Fujitsu, he has been thrown into the deep end to help him get the best experience possible before venturing out into the world of Computer Games Development.

Callum said: “I assist my supervisor with his tasks and projects. Most projects require background checks and research as I will be working on a new area or language. After gaining some knowledge of what I will be working on from documentation and a lot of searching on the internet I will compile what I’ve learnt to tackle the task ahead of me. I would say that problem solving skills are the most important skills to have in this role.

“The University has a good relationship with Fujitsu in terms of sending regular interns over there yearly so it made sense to apply. As for why I chose it above the other placements I applied for, the opportunity to work in a different country, to experience a new culture and have the possibility of picking up a new language were the perks that sold this placement to me.”

Most students who take on a placement do so during their third year of University to return a year later to complete their degree. Callum, however, secured his placement a year later after receiving an email from his lecturers about the opportunity at Fujitsu.

Waiting a further year to secure his placement may ultimately have benefitted Callum, as he was able to expand further on the skills that he had already learnt through his degree and other options available.

“I did attempt to gain a placement after my second year but unfortunately I only applied to a small handful of placements and did not succeed in achieving a placement. Had I tried harder or applied to more locations then I would have probably found success. Around January in my third year, I found an email about Fujitsu’s placement scheme sent to me and I decided to give it a try.”

“Learning C++ language helps with figuring out the general logic and syntax of most any other language. As my tasks usually involve me using an assortment of different programming languages, having this skill under my belt has aided me greatly. In some areas of the company, SCRUM is used alongside other agile methodologies and whilst one would pick these skills up in the company anyway, having a head start is certainly beneficial.”

Callum got an opportunity and has seized it with both hands. For employers to see industry experience on an applicant’s CV immediately makes them a much more outstanding candidate. That is also his message to students who are considering going on placement for themselves.

“University is a completely different scene to a work environment. Getting to understand what it is like to work in the industry is very eye opening as you get to see the Good, the Bad and the Ugly side of work. Whilst it is rewarding and full of learning experiences, it also gives students the insight of seeing if the industry is what you expected and if not then it gives students a chance to amend their future plans before they “waste” the rest of their studies.

“Any opportunity is a great perk and the fact that the lecturers put companies in front of the students makes it much easier for the students, however something I noticed in my year was there was not very much motivation. Asides that, the opportunities are bountiful and I am grateful to have gone to a University that supplied such an option to their students.

“Definitely make a strong effort to get a placement. The worst case scenario is that you realise the industry, course or field is not what you expected and you can move on from that into something you would enjoy more. You still get a sizeable income, you learn new experiences, meet new people. If you were getting weary on the subject, then the placement can reinvigorate you. Give yourself a goal and ignite that spark in your passion, or it may fuel the fire of your passion and inspire you to reach new levels.

“As for advice on getting a placement, work with your lecturers to make your CV as great as you can make it. Your CV is your foot in the door. Apply for as many placements as you can as the more you apply for, the better your chances at being hired by one of them. If you succeed at multiple then even better as the ball is in your court now, and you get to be the one who is picky to choose whichever placement feels the best to you. Don’t worry about interviews either, failed interviews still give you experience on how to handle an interview and make great learning experiences in life - remember practice makes perfect!”

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