Internship profile: John Ginger
26 November 2012, by John Ginger
I took a summer internship at Softwire between my 3rd and 4th years doing Engineering at Cambridge University. I came to Softwire with relatively little programming experience, minimal amounts from my course and a little more from experimenting and playing around with stuff in my spare time. I wanted an internship that would be fun, where there would be the chance to do real things and to gain a better insight about what career path I would like to take in the future.
When I arrived at Softwire the first few days were spent on training. There were a few coding challenges, and a few talks to give an idea on the Softwire way of doing things. This was a good introduction, combined with the training that they gave me before I started it made sure that I landed properly on my feet.
I found my internship at Softwire good fun. There is the opportunity to take a problem, understand it and then solve it. It’s particularly rewarding because you get the chance to finish stuff and see the results of the work you have put in as a new feature or a working application.
The company places a strong emphasis on training. All the code you write is reviewed, with recommendations on how you can improve it in future. I‘ve learned a lot at my time here, going from a programming novice to someone who can write a large amount of code each day.
A great thing about the company is the knowledge of the people around the company. Unlike when struggling with problems on my personal projects, at Softwire you can just go up to someone and they can explain what’s going wrong. Everyone is laid-back, nice and happy to help you out.
Now for the social side of things! Softwire has something called a morale budget; this is where the company will pay for various social activities. In the time that I’ve been here there have been many free pub trips, in addition to the incredible supply of free food which is kept in the office.
There are also a number of larger events. While I was here there was the Softwire picnic, where everyone at the company took half a day off to have a picnic on Hampstead heath. I also, as part of a group from Softwire, cycled from Bristol to London, which was great fun (if pretty tiring)!
The office is very relaxed, with very flexible working hours. People take breaks to play pool and chat, and will regularly go out to the pub after work. Softwire takes a lot of care of employees, it’s no surprise that it is rated one of the top 10 small companies to work for; it’s something that in my short experience I would whole heartedly agree with.
As a place to do an internship, I would say that Softwire is great. It is good fun, challenging and you are well looked after. I think that the best thing is that, unlike at lots of other companies who offer internships, at Softwire you get the chance to work on real projects, and therefore get the satisfaction of having solved real problems.