Written by Omolola Fagbule
BSc (Hons) Forensic Computing & Security
Your placement year is a crucial part of your degree. It’s difficult to choose which company you want to work for when there is a plethora of companies across and beyond the country.
Before you can even think about starting a placement, you need to ensure your CV represents the skills the company is looking for. Also, your cover letter needs to be unique to each company and ensure you highlight some interesting points about the company; this shows you have done research.
I’m currently doing a 1 year placement which is equivalent to 10 months, but I’ll be with the company for 12 months. Initially, I chose this route because of the simple fact that it was mandatory to do a placement year. But now that I am 6 months into my placement the benefits of doing a 1 year placement over a 4-week placement is very vivid.
Doing a 1 year placement means you gather the company’s full scope vision, what they do, past projects and future projects. You gain an in-depth knowledge of tools, objectives and plans of the company and therefore you can gear your skills and develop further skills to suit the company’s plans. On the other hand, doing a 4-week placement means you will just about touch the surface of what the company is about, because by the time you’re grasping concepts it’ll be time to wave good bye. You might say I’m being subjective because I’m doing a 1 year placement, but if I compare the knowledge I had in month 1 to month 6, I can confidently say I know more and can do more.
Another benefit of a one year placement are the potential connections you will make, I have worked with one of the best security consultants from America, where I could share my ideas and even talk about potential dissertation ideas. Now, in the future if I required some help or if I had a business proposition I know some people who could guide me and even contribute. But a 4-week placement could limit you because your employers may subconsciously remember you only spent a few weeks in the company which meant you probably left without making a massive difference. You could be treated like a ‘typical intern’- go make the tea! Some of your ideas may be dismissed because of the short time frame, but this isn’t to say it wouldn’t happen during a 1 year placement. (Just saying)
I won’t be completely biased! There are some benefits in a 4-week placement, because it’s a short period if you don’t enjoy it, your time would be up very soon. It also gives you a glimpse of what to expect if you were in that field or that company.
Choosing a time frame for your placement is a personal choice especially depending on what field it is. Some courses only require a tip of the iceberg placement, but courses like Forensic Computing or Science, or any course that is hands on, I would certainly say go for a 1 year placement.