Unexpected experience

My placement arose from a speculative application to a sector I knew little about and hadn’t considered as a career option. Given the positive experience I had, I’m now keen to develop my career in the naval research and development industry.

During my placement I was also involved in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) event and loved seeing the young students excited by a science-based career. It’s left me wanting to do more outreach activities encouraging the next generation into technical roles.

Increasing confidence

My role as both a software engineer and research scientist exposed me to a wide range of tasks.

Working for a provider of science and technology solutions, creating and using simulation models comprised a sizeable proportion of my workload. All my work had to be documented as required by the business, whether as reports, technical notes or user manuals.

Consequently, as well as learning the basics of programming through the likes of MATLAB, C++ and Python, my broader communication skills and confidence have increased enormously. I also saw the impact of good team dynamics and effective networking skills, alongside the professional etiquette of a workplace.

Becoming a published scientist

The highlight of my placement was co-authoring my first scientific paper presented at an international underwater defence conference. Not something I’d ever thought I’d achieve before graduating!

Placements offer a chance to try a job without feeling tied to a company long term and in sectors you may not have previously considered. You also learn about the aspects of a role you do and don’t enjoy, which can inform your future career choices.