Harry at the Instil reception

What have you learned

A whole lot more than I ever thought I would! I went into placement knowing it was going to be a challenge, and there were going to be some new challenges, but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. After a week, I was already saying I’d learned more than I had during my 2 years at university, that wasn’t an understatement, so you can imagine how I feel at the end of the year!

The most obvious skills I have picked up throughout my year, are technical in nature as you would expect. Within the first few months, I’d been taken though courses on clean coding and testing (skills that would have benefitted the last few years greatly), I’ve done iOS development with Swift, web development using Angular JS and Angular 4, and Android development using Kotlin. The entire year these skills have been constantly developing, I’ve primarily been a part of an Android based project so these are the skills that have had the biggest boost throughout the year. Being part of an actual development team with really talented members has been brilliant, you get constant feedback on your work, ways to improve and places you have done well. This has been a massive boost to my confidence in my work, allowing me to be confident in my solutions when challenged, and also teaching me about applying the constructive criticism.

On top of the technical skills, as I said I’ve been working with a team throughout the year. This has been a great experience of working within a fast paced development team, you learn about managing your tasks and work load properly, versus the university approach of “it can wait until tomorrow”. I’ve seen real development in my planning skills after seeing how large projects get broken down into their components, then further into the respective parts and then further again into the individual challenges to get the solution, this has really helped with my problem solving skills as I learn the proper way to approach problems.

Most Memorable Moment

There’s a lot to choose from, from the moment after the first week where I really started to see what was ahead of me, all of the social events and nights out, the daunting feeling of starting a new project! If I was going to pick just one, it would be the 1.0.0 release of the Android project I was helping with throughout the year. Its really cool knowing code I’ve written is out in the wild being used by people, I might even come across it some day and be able to say hey I made that screen or I did that functionality.

It was also kind of fun doing the final rush to get things finished up for the deadline, not like uni where you still have most of the project to do and a week to get it done, but having that feeling that it was nearly over the line, and just needing that final push to get it there. Plus experiencing the whole release process and then getting to celebrate it, not something many people get to do on placement.

Biggest Achievement

I’d say I’ve achieved a lot of personal goals throughout the year, I’ve learned so much, and gotten to experience so many new things and it’s really helped affirm that this is the career that I want to follow in the future, I can’t wait to finish the year using the skills I’ve picked up from Instil and then get out into the working world! To pick an achievement I’ll go with the one I have an award for. I was put forward for the Allstate TechMaster award by Instil and won it in the Queen’s category! It was great a great confidence boost being awarded for this year, felt really good to know that the work I had put into the project was felt to be of a high enough standard to even be submitted, never mind win something.

Considering an Internship

I couldn’t recommend Instil as a placement option enough! I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at without working with the guys and girls here, everyone has been incredibly helpful and sound, I really felt like I fit in as a part of the team. It’s easy to get intimidated by all the technical jargon and feel like it’s all a bit over your head, at least that’s how I felt at the start of the year! But as long as you have a keen interest, enthusiasm and drive, you will fit right in. It’s far from easy, but everyone here will do what they can to get you up to speed and you’ll be submitting push requests before you know it! If you want to come out of your placement year looking forward to final year and getting out into the world, Instil is the place to be!

Looking for an Internship at Instil?

We will be exhibiting at this year’s QUB Autumn recruitment fair in October. If you think you have what it takes to be part of our team, then make sure to stop by our stand and keep an eye on our recruitment page for future job opportunities.