A pair of students who signed up to Apexon UK’s work placement scheme have returned to work for the company after graduating. Arran Kennedy and Jacob Smith joined the work placement programme in 2020 prior to completing the fourth and final year of their university studies. The placements saw both students undertake the intensive six-week Spike associate programme, customary for all graduates joining the firm, before cutting their teeth on live client projects with their teams.
This unique opportunity to get real, hands-on experience of live projects for global brands is what inspired both students to join Apexon. As Arran, who was studying Computer Science (BSc honours) at the University of Bath, keenly emphasised.
“At first, I hadn’t heard much about Apexon,” he said. “However, a friend of mine told me about them and I was really impressed once I looked into the company, and I decided to give the work placement programme a go. I found the entire thing incredibly insightful. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and the client projects I worked on really helped me in my studies.
“Some of the clients I worked with were absolutely huge, such as global investment banks and telecoms companies, so I got to work on a real variety of projects and gain hands on experience of what it’s really like working in the industry.”
Jacob, who was studying at Newcastle University, also spoke of how working with experienced developers helped him progress, teaching him skills and habits that he would ‘never have picked up through his studies.’
“Working in an agile team and working with software developers who’ve been in the industry for 10+ years and know exactly what they’re doing, you see how they work, and it helps you to build your own skillsets,” he said.
“It was great for us to be able to work with really experienced people in a professional environment. At university, you sort of throw stuff together and hope it works. Through our work at Apexon, we were learning all about how to be a good developer using industry standard principles and best practice, the importance of testing and ensuring everything worked smoothly, it was a real learning curve.”
Over the course of the year, the pair added real value to client projects and as a result were offered the chance to join Apexon as junior developers upon graduating. Jacob however was keen to get started sooner rather than later. Due to him living just a 40-minute metro journey from the company’s UK HQ in Sunderland, Jacob was able to continue working part-time at the company while in the final year of his studies.
“After completing my placement and being offered a role as a junior developer, I asked if there was any way I could work part-time while completing my final year and I was delighted when they offered me a day a week,” he added.
“Working part-time meant I wasn’t actively working on a client project. However, it did mean 8 hours a week working internally to help train junior associate developers and help graduates get accustomed to new projects, which was fairly strange as I wasn’t even a graduate myself yet!”
It has now been a month since Arran and Jacob officially returned to Apexon UK and the pair are looking to the future with optimism.
“Initially, I’d been told to look at jobs in London once I graduated, as that’s where a lot of the big tech firms are,” said Arran. “However, after experiencing the opportunities offered by Apexon, I knew exactly where I wanted to be, and I’m delighted I made the right choice.”
Jacob added, “I’d 100% recommend anyone else studying for computer science or any other tech-related degree to consider the work placement programme.
“You learn so many skills through it that you don’t learn at university. It really gives you an idea of what the industry is all about and what being a software developer involves. You get a real taste for it, gain a real perspective of reality in the job and there’s really no substitute for it.
“There’s also the opportunity of a real rewarding career at the end of it, so what do you have to lose?”