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Aaron Powell
Aaron Powell

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An Intern's Journey: Before it begins


Before you continue, I have never written a blog, actually I don’t remember writing much more than assignments and my EPQ, the flow may be choppy, the grammar may be off, I am open to feedback and any constructive criticism so please feel free to contact me on twitter @aaron_powell or comment on here!

I am doing this as part of a “Learning in public” twitter thing I have seen; I am a student going on a placement year and hope to bring insight to other students making the same move or anybody about to begin their first year in the developer industry.

At 21(now 23) I took the dive of moving from the Electrical field back to academia, I wanted to do what I love, and that was creating on the web. I wanted a deeper understanding of coding, and so, I ended up taking a Computer Science course at the University of Kent. Now, as the exams of my second year have come to an end, I prepare for the beginning of what I hope to be my career.

Getting the placement:

I had my eye on one company since my first month of university; I researched them, I learned about their culture and the tools/languages they used. It turns out, I was offered the job and ended up going somewhere else.

Before I began applying, I knew it would be hard, I went to the Placement Office quite a few times, preparing my CV, simulating interview questions or to discuss my interests and get their opinion on the best options for me. I spent a lot of time on Udemy and creating a portfolio along with other side projects to show off my passion for development.

My advice to any other students about to begin looking is to get help from those with experience. I also reached out to many current interns, some hiring managers, some software developers, mainly all through Twitter and everyone was so open to discuss and offer their help. APPLY EARLY, don’t wait until exams are underway, start applying in October/November allowing time to write good cover letters and seeking what you will enjoy.

I am passionate about getting into the industry, I think the companies also saw this in my interviews, so I was much luckier than I had expected. With the guidance of the University of Kent Computer Science Placement Office, I was fortunate enough to have received offers for my top two choices. One in Data Engineering (medium-sized company, great culture, great people, just not the right sort of role), and one in Software Development(Massive company, designs most of the worlds mobile chips, and more the role I was looking for). Both fantastic opportunities and such a hard decision to make, but a fortunate position to be in. Long story short, and after basically discussing it with anyone who would listen, I chose the Software Development role at the larger company.

What now?

I start in September but in my mind, at the moment I just want to prepare while still having a break, after all, I’ve just spent the last year with a substantial focus on my university course (and a little bit learning web development on the side).

Before I start my Year in Industry, I want to:

· Finish my new portfolio. (

· Begin to create an Android App.

· Look into any technologies I may be using Docker, SpringBoot etc

· Create a thorough set of goals for my Year in Industry.


Honestly, sometimes I fear the move to a big company, will I get left behind? Will anybody remember me? Will anybody care about me? I’ve been told many times this is in MY control, I will squeeze the year for everything it has to offer, the experience is going to have its ups and downs, but overall, I am going to be in the developer world, the beginning will have already begun.

The main worry I have is that I may be put on some project that I don’t like, and it lasts the whole year, I want to be open-minded, but I would love to gain a variety of experience throughout my time there.

Am I good enough to be surrounded by experts? Heck no. But I will be, if I take their advice, get feedback and learn. That’s what this year is all about, learning.

If anyone has tips on the beginning of a Year in Industry, feel free to let me know!

What I want to get out of this?

As of right now, I have one solid goal in my mind, and I know many others will spur off this one, and as I start the placement, I will have many more.

The big goal of my year in industry, currently, is to be able to say that I can do all the things listed on the current recruitment page for a Software Developer at ARM. I want to learn all the relevant tools for the job. Not just skills related to coding, soft skills, confidence in my work, and a wide variety of core skills I can gain on the job.

However, one step at a time, I have a year, a lot can be achieved in a year.

I hope to keep posting updates, my findings, my feelings, my experiences, everything relevant to the Year in Industry placement.

Any comments/feedback on the placement or blog, please feel free to contact me on twitter or here!


Top comments (1)

amandaollier profile image
Amanda Ollier

What a great first blog Aaron and equally impressive attitude!I feel confident you will make this year yours and set yourself up with a great foundation to build from. I look forward the next installment!