February 1, 2018

Sam Conboy

Gaining work experience in your relevant field is always encouraged at Cardiff Met – in fact it was a compulsory module on my Computer Science course!
My initial work experience at uni was with the IT Team at Cardiff Met itself, where I did one day a week with them doing all sorts of tasks. I spent some weeks working on the service desk in the library, and others creating training material for the Microsoft Office Specialist Excel course. This was a great experience for me, working in a variety of roles within IT, and was key to getting my role at an IT support company over summer.
I’ve always been told that having a CV that stands out is key, but I didn’t really understand this until I met Circle IT. I had first met them at a careers fair organised by the Cardiff Met Careers team specifically for IT, where they were looking for 3rd years for their graduate scheme.
Having been focused on university work, I wasn’t looking for a summer job until months later, when I found their business card and decided to get in contact. Several emails and a phone call later, I found myself sat in front of the Head of Support Services, and someone from HR. This is where my CV stood out, they saw my Excel qualification and my coding languages, and I was offered a job on the spot working with data to develop analytics for the service desk. I then grew to help the service desk team with tickets, as my experience in developing and coding provided useful on a number of occasions.
When I first started I was unsure of what to make of it. I hadn’t had much experience working in that sort of environment, but I quickly overcame this, and I felt that I was part of the team from day one.
Whilst working at Circle, I experienced the process of developing a product from scratch and meeting the needs of the user. Something I had only ever done in theory before. I also developed a greater understanding of IT systems in general and how to manage those systems effectively.
With this being my first time working in an office environment on a daily basis (besides working in a call centre for 6 weeks), I really enjoyed the experience and miss working there now. Being responsible for a project for the first time was a daunting prospect, but seeing it through to the end was a great feeling. Working life has changed a lot for me. I was expecting a stricter environment and was pleasantly surprised to find it much more relaxed. At the same time, there’s that pressure to make sure that everything is correct and working, as well as the responsibility for your tasks.
The team that I worked with and the company in general were awesome, playing pool or table tennis on my breaks and working with others on the task at hand. I’ve also enjoyed the difference in the tasks and that they stretch my skills in different ways – from coding/formulating an excel spreadsheet to diagnosing an issue on a remote server.
I will miss the team the most but also the work, it’s unlike anything I have done before and would happily continue and do it again.
I now work back at Circle as an Analytics Developer Contractor, working with various teams to create more analytics. A few years ago, it wasn’t something I ever saw myself doing, now I want to do more!
Looking for more on Cardiff Met students learning on the job? Check out more work placement blogs.