Digital Media Technology student, Alex Fogg, spent his placement year with Xerox. He worked as a Web Developer and Business Analyst for the company, which gave him practical experience of working in industry, as well as developing his problem-solving skills. Alex chose to do a placement year to become more work-ready, so we spoke with him to discover how his placement year helped.
What was the nature of your role at Xerox?
My role was varied – I was involved in maintaining and developing new and existing websites, and maintaining and updating scripts for the various websites. I also ran regular reports on business activities such as how many devices the company has around Europe and summarising meter reads from different devices. I actually didn’t enjoy the first couple of months very much – I found that there was a lot to learn and it was a big adjustment from university life. But I soon picked things up and I really enjoyed the last six months as I had got the hang of things and knew what I was doing.
Digital Media Technology
Gain professional skills
What has been your biggest takeaway from your placement?
Perseverance. It was a very steep learning curve – I didn’t know all of the programming languages I needed to use in the role, and the team I was working with didn’t know them either, so I had to teach myself. I was tempted to leave in the first couple of weeks, when I was finding it tough, but I stayed, and it all worked out well. My placement really helped me become more independent and adaptable. When I finished my placement, Xerox even asked me to stay on for a couple of extra months as a contractor, which was fantastic!
Do you think your placement has improved your employability prospects?
Yes, it has increased my employability and helped me clarify what sort of work I want to look for once I graduate. I have benefited from my placement year academically as well as professionally. I am much better at problem-solving and am more self-sufficient. I have also learnt new coding languages, and am much better at managing my time and prioritising tasks – skills which are useful in my academic studies as well as my future career.
Would you recommend doing a placement year to other students?
I would definitely recommend others to do a placement year, especially those on a course like mine. It gives you lots of practical, hands-on experience to build on your existing skills.