Interactive Media student Kyle discusses the benefits of taking part in a work placement in the IT solutions industry.
Why did you decide to do a placement?
I wanted to do a placement as I’d not really had any work experience. I wanted to leave university with some experience under my belt in addition to my degree. Also, I wanted the opportunity to apply what I’d learned over the first two years in a practical sense. Since that tends to be how things solidify in my head.
How did you find the opportunity?
I’d heard of the company through a friend who worked there. I saw they had some recruitment slots open, so I submitted an application.
Tell us about your role.
My role was as a Technical Support Engineer. My main task each day was taking calls from customers who were having issues with, or wanted advice on, software or hardware related to our industry. SolutionsPT provides IT solutions for customers in a wide portfolio of industries including food and beverage, oil and gas, aerospace and pharmaceuticals. So each call would often be quite unique. If an answer couldn’t be solved over the phone, issues were logged as ‘cases’ to be researched, tested and documented.
What was your typical day?
My typical day consisted of being on the phone queue waiting for customer calls, while also working on researching and feeding back to customers on the cases assigned to me.
When customers called in, I would need to gather certain baseline facts (e.g. version of the software in use, criticality of any issues such as if they were resulting in loss of production, what kind of virtualization platform they were running on etc.), then assist in resolving any issues or answering questions.
Quite often, this would be done by using a secure remote access facility specified by the customer, where I could see their screens and diagnose issues or behaviour accordingly. When these cases were resolved, I’d enter the resolution for future reference by other engineers to create an in-house knowledge base and then close off the ticket.
How did it influence your future career options?
Without a doubt the most important part of going into a placement year is getting the experience for your CV. So many career options open up just by having some references from companies and proof of your work ethic. This placement year actually landed me a full-time offer for when I finished my degree. Which was great news because I loved my time at SolutionsPT and really enjoyed the work atmosphere there! I came back to my role as a Support Engineer when I finished my final year, subsequently being promoted to the Systems Architects team as a Pre-Sales engineer. I work with the Architects to design enterprise-level hardware/software solutions for customers to resolve issues they experience in manufacturing, management and disaster resilience.