Hi, I’m Hamish; I’m from Watford, UK, and I’m in the second year of Computing. In my free time I enjoy studying foreign languages, playing water polo and doing Competitive Programming. This year I’m behind Imperial CyberSoc and CTF Team. Let’s connect on LinkedIn!
It’s no secret that internships are the most common method of tech graduate recruitment, with nearly all Imperial students undertaking one before graduating. Nonetheless, the success rate in acquiring a first-year placement is lower, as firms often prefer students closer to graduation.
However, each year many freshers succeed in getting hired, so as we move through the application season, I thought I’d give a rundown of some first-year internships from last year and how they went!
Over the holidays I worked at the Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS1 ) in Bristol; they invited me back after a 2-week work experience in 2021. I worked on maintaining and improving their High-Performance Computing servers and my project was the automatic creation and setup of network booting diskless HPC clusters and servers. My favourite part was seeing my project being deployed in production, setting up a cluster automatically, and then being able to use that cluster. (The weekly lunch time runs were fun too!)
My biggest tip for students this year would be that applying to internships is good practice, even if you have a place from previous work experience. Even if you don’t manage to get an internship, make sure to get a short work experience, for the experience and for a potential internship return offer for second year.
During the summer, I worked at Qflow2, a scale-up decarbonising the construction industry. I converted a previous work experience secured through the Arkwright Scholarship3 programme into this internship. I most enjoyed being integrated fully into the engineering team from day 1, working on features for their data platform. I worked in C# and React, which I had no experience with before the internship. This was an excellent way to learn quickly, and I got to grips with new paradigms. I felt that I was an important member and that the team valued my contributions.
My tip: Apply – what’s the worst they can say, no?
Finally, I interned at Softwire4, a consultancy in Kentish Town, London. Being a consultancy, it’s not that well-known, but it’s behind some big services like UK voter registration and My 5’s cloud migration. It’s been consistently amongst the Best Companies to Work For5, for its outside of work events, Company Picnic, Board Games night, Mahjong evening and regular pub trips (among others), and these didn’t disappoint. I applied online in September, and during the internship we worked on a TypeScript and React Native app for social impact startup Fairshare6.
My team had 6 interns and a trainer and wasn’t an existing team. I most enjoyed meeting the large cohort (~ 30 other interns) and getting my first experience with a client. The trainers were supportive, and I’d recommend it!
In conclusion, hopefully this is useful for any freshers looking for internships next Summer. Feel free to ask us about our internships if you see us around the department; we’d be happy to answer any questions!