With a multitude of education pathways and career options available, it is sometimes difficult for young people to decide how to progress their development once they leave school or college. Degrees, apprenticeships, traineeships, internships or even full-time employment all need to be considered, with different pros and cons for each.
To those who may be on the fence about whether or not they should do an internship, I would 100% recommend that they should go for it – and in this blog, I will explain why.
I am currently at the University of Lincoln, studying toward a BSC in Computer Science whilst also completing a paid internship as a junior engineer within Inzpire’s Mission Training Devices (MTD) division. This is a year-long internship and at the end of my time with Inzpire, I will return to University to complete my final year of studies; with a whole new set of skills and experiences behind me!
An internship was highly recommended to me by my personal tutor and many other lecturers, primarily to boost my employability prospects. However, for me, an internship was a way of getting the practical experience that I couldn’t obtain just by completing my degree in a classroom.
The decision to pursue an internship proved to be the right one - I can honestly say that the amount of knowledge and experience that I’ve gained in just 3 months with Inzpire is equal to, if not greater than a whole semester’s worth gained at university.
Through my internship with Inzpire, I am gaining hands-on, work-based computer science experience which I would not have gained in the classroom
While the list of skills that I’ve learned over the past two years at university is extensive (including the new-found ability to cook debatably edible but healthy food for myself) the most important skill that we had hammered into us is the willingness and ability to seek out new knowledge and teach ourselves things independently, without a teacher holding our hands every step of the way. An internship is the perfect way to hone this skill as, whilst you are of course supported during your time of employment, you are in a work-based setting so often have to work independently.
My favourite part about working with Inzpire is that every day holds something new to experiment with or explore; it’s never dull working with the MTD team and I’ve found a role where I look forward to starting work each morning, knowing that I’m definitely going to learn something new during the day – putting in to practice what my tutor taught me about seeking out new knowledge.
Under the guide of Steven Pook and Owen Varley the work that I do day-to-day ranges from refactoring code, ensuring it meets the coding standard that has been agreed on by the rest of the team, to pair-programming (writing code with another person on the same machine) and even writing ansible playbooks (blueprints for automation tasks on a machine) for configuring some of the technology which goes in to our products. The most recent project that I contributed to was setting up and configuring the new simulators that were showcased at DSEI, giving me the opportunity to work on pieces of kit that were demo’d to defence industry visitors from all over the world.
Through being exposed to a number of opportunities and empowered with responsibility to work on new products, my project planning and version control skills (using tools like DevOps and Git) have improved a huge amount which I am delighted about as they are skills that any good software engineer needs to be productive and successful.
Working with the MTD division and being exposed to a fast-paced work environment has also helped me develop as a person, too. Honesty and humility are two skills that the MTD team has taught me in my time with them so far; they made it clear from the get-go that they weren’t expecting me to be a fully-fledged programmer with many years of experience, that there were no stupid questions and that there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you can’t break through a wall.
Running some tests on the Vortex HeliSim, one of the products I have been working on and helped set up ready for DSEI in September
Inzpire wasn’t a company I was very familiar with when first looking for an internship but having done some research into the company and viewing their many awards won for being one of the top employers in the country it wasn’t a hard decision to apply, and I am so pleased I did. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a more welcoming company than Inzpire, and the skills I have learned combined with my exposure to a busy, ever-evolving workplace would have been unmatched by a year in the classroom at University.
I’m confident that when seeking employment after I graduate, being able to put my experience with Inzpire on my CV will most definitely make me stand out from other applicants. In the short-term, the knowledge I am gaining during my internship will hopefully allow me to achieve my goals of passing my final year exams to a high standard in order to obtain a first-class honours degree.
If you are considering future education options, my advice would be not be close-minded when it comes to internships. Look for roles that are out of your comfort zone – maybe even look at a field that you might not have considered yet as an internship should be a chance to explore an industry and you might find your calling!
Take yourself out of your comfort zone - you never know what new skills and experiences you might uncover!
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Experts from Inzpire Limited’s Collective Training Division have recently been involved in Exercise SPARTAN WARRIOR in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
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