My Softwire Internship – Preeyan
19 October 2011, by Preeyan Parmar
I was a developer intern at Softwire for three months, in the summer before starting my third year of mathematics at Cambridge – I had dabbled in programming for a long time but only amateurishly, and I wanted to experience software development at a professional level. I applied to Softwire because it was small and friendly yet had worked on projects for some prestigious corporations (the BBC, Microsoft, Serco, Telegraph Media Group).
The focus here is on getting things done, and by the end of my first day I had already started work on my first project, which was to upgrade the database access layer of the Timesheet Application, an internal application used to record how every employee spends their time and to calculate how well projects are going to plan. Most of the cutting-edge technology was new to me and I had never seen so many lines of code before, but within weeks I was progressing confidently through the tasks.
Softwire has a superb approach to technical training and personal development, centred not on formal training but on learning on-the-job. Not only does every project have a ‘technical lead’, a senior developer who can help you out with any problems you might have, but there is also a vibrant learning atmosphere across the company, with regular informal lunchtime lectures and an internal blog and wiki constantly updated by developers keen to share their knowledge. This is good for both developers and the company, since maintaining its position at the forefront of the technological wave allows it to take on a wide range of exciting work.
Without exception I found the managers at Softwire to be very approachable, and furthermore everybody is encouraged to raise issues and problems with them as early as possible. This creates a really open and relaxed environment in which the company runs smoothly and everyone can work efficiently. All employees are kept informed of the company’s commercial wellbeing, weekly by email and quarterly in meetings chaired by the directors, so everyone is highly motivated to work hard, and it is fantastic to feel everyone pulling together as one. This is probably one reason why they did so well in the Sunday Times “Best Companies to Work For” list.
I have enjoyed every minute of my time here, not just because of the little things – flexible hours, fully stocked kitchen, a busy calendar of social events – but because there can be no better place to be than at this dynamic, growing company full of bright, welcoming people.