Softwire are always looking for bright interns, with an interest in a career in software development – previous experience not required.
To find out more about life as a Softwire intern, take a look at the profiles below.
“Everyone is very happy to be at work, feels relaxed enough to work to their best ability and really cares about the success of their projects …”
I have wanted to work in software development for a good few years now and coming to Softwire was a big step in that for me. Having done quite a fair amount of research about the company I had come to the conclusion that what with the style of work, the flexibility, the social aspects and the general attitudes of the company (of course I won’t lie, having music lessons and music rooms in the office certainly didn’t hurt!), if I was going to work anywhere in software, then Softwire seemed like the perfect place for me.
We then launched our project which I worked on for the remainder of my internship. There were eight of us interns in the team and we were divided into three sub-teams: front-end, back-end and dev-ops. I chose to be in the front-end team in order to put my new found web skills to use and to be able to learn them in a lot greater depth. What I like about working in a team like this is the amount that can get done when you have eight times the mental capacity and coding time of a single person; when everyone pushes their code to the repository at once your program can grow in large amounts very quickly. It’s really exciting to see it coming together with the bits you created working alongside other people’s code.
I think hands down, the things I have enjoyed most about working at Softwire was the friendly, flexible and relaxed environment in the office and the fact that everyone really enjoys what they are doing. They trust you to work smartly and effectively so there’s no chasing you up if you are not in at nine on the dot. I think the general attitude of trust towards employees to just get on with everything as they see fit is a good contributor to the success of the company.
There’s something to be said about working somewhere that simply doesn’t feel like work because you’re just getting paid for doing what you love. I definitely think I’ve been spoilt coming to Softwire, any future companies I come across are going to have a lot to live up to!
“I had done nothing like this before, but it was really rewarding when things started to click into place …”
I did a 12 week working internship at Softwire after my third year of Mathematics and Computer Science at Oxford. Most of my programming experience had been work I’d done at university, so this was my first proper experience with commercial software development. I always knew it was what I wanted to do, and this summer has definitely confirmed that!
The project I worked on involved extending Umbraco, a content management system used for creating websites in a simple, easy to understand way. We wanted it to be able to create specialised challenges where people could upload scores for various events and be compared against other people on leader boards, in the process, winning awards and trophies for their teams. We added integrated it with other sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Flickr. I started by working on designing a database and implementing an API for it. I really enjoyed doing this from scratch and working out how everything tied together, and I also learned a lot about writing clear, easy to understand code.
Later in the project, I moved on to being the team’s AWS expert. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is Amazon’s cloud storage platform. I spent a lot of my time here understanding how cloud services work, so I could automatically deploy our sites. This was very new to me, as I had done nothing like this before, but it was really rewarding when things started to click into place, and I always had somebody to ask for advice if I needed it.
Softwire really help you improve as you work here, too. We had two weeks of training before we started the main project and over the weeks, our tech lead gave us talks on many parts of software development, including how to use source control and design patterns, which really helped us improve the quality of our code.
Outside of work, it’s been great too. There have been loads of social events while I’ve been here, some of the highlights being trampolining and the company picnic, which have all been a lot of fun.
I’ve really enjoyed my time here, everyone is very nice, and they are keen to help with any problems. It’s also been a great learning opportunity, and the things I’ve learned will definitely have an impact on any programming job I have in the future.
“It was clear from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be your average summer job, I can’t recommend it highly enough…”
I am currently two months into a ten week summer internship with Softwire and am fairly sure that spending your summer holidays doing a full time job is not meant to be this fun. It was clear that this wasn’t going to be your average summer job from the beginning: the towering pick and mix display that dominated Softwire’s stall at the careers fair was one clue, as were the potatoes they gave to students to encourage them to apply!
I applied to Softwire because I was looking for a job which used the logical skills which I had been developing in my maths degree. I had assumed that my complete lack of previous experience would prevent me from finding a job in software development but Softwire did not require any prior knowledge, just an interest in computing and an aptitude for problem solving. Before I arrived, Softwire supported me in developing a basic knowledge of HTML and C#, but on arriving here I realised that there was a lot more to learn!
Before arriving at Softwire I was concerned that my inexperience compared to Softwire’s full time developers would mean that I was relegated to making tea and photocopying. I couldn’t have been more wrong. At Softwire you’re thrown in at the deep end, and while there is a huge amount of support, with everyone in the office happy to help at all times, this is not an internship for people who want a lazy summer! Learning on the job has meant that my skills have developed faster than I thought possible and I believe that the past eight weeks have taught me more than I would have learnt in years at many other companies.
Having never worked in an office before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of working life. However, this definitely wasn’t it! There’s no other way to put it, Softwire is just a ridiculously fun place to work. The office is home to a pool table, table tennis and a fully equipped games room and requests for players frequently go round the office when someone wants a break from work. There are also regular morale events, from picnics to pub trips. Of course, that isn’t to say that people here spend all their time playing games. One thing that’s obvious when you come to Softwire is how much people love their jobs, and having worked here for a few months, it’s very clear why they do.
I have found that every new task I’ve taken on has made me think in new and interesting ways to come up with creative solutions for different problems. In addition I have been encouraged to keep learning, by reading outside the scope of my project and following up things that have particularly interested me. I will come away from Softwire having developed a product of which I’m truly proud and with a whole set of useful skills on the side.
I would strongly encourage anyone interested in software development to apply to Softwire; I’ve had a fantastic experience here. Software development seems to be a career which allows you to have the best of both worlds, combining the problem solving side of academia with the satisfaction of being able to finish a project and have a real product to supply to a customer. This internship has given me nothing but a positive impression of both the software industry in general and Softwire in particular. I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who is looking to work in this field.
“There were lots of people available to provide helpful advice on all aspects of our work …”
When I told friends how I was going to be spending my summer on a 10 week internship with a software company in London they probably thought I was slightly crazy for deciding to do a 9 till 5 office job in my summer. They couldn’t have been more wrong!
I wanted to do some sort of job over the summer to gain experience (this was my first actual job), earn some money and generally find out what I’d be interested in doing after my degree. I’d done some programming in C and Visual Basic before so thought I’d give software development a go.
10 weeks later, I’ve been part of a team of other interns developing a new external product and seen it grow into usable software. I’ve learnt all about the ASP.NET MVC framework, PetaPoco, AngularJS, Test Driven Development and that’s just from working on the project. Softwire has various Lunch And Learns which have taught me about everything from coding practices to quantum computers.
Even after work most nights there was something to stay in the office for; LAN games nights of Team Fortress 2 or Age of Empires, board games or beer pong. If it wasn’t staying in the office it was probably a trip to a local pub. That’s not to mention the big events like the company picnic which saw the whole office empty out onto Hampstead Heath for an afternoon of volleyball, cricket and even quidditch.
Working in a group of 8 people all new to development was really rather fun, we had a PM, Gareth and Tech Lead, Jon who were behind us explaining exactly what we were doing and the best way of doing it. While I left long before the project was finished we already had a working prototype site which was actually pretty cool.
Overall it was one of the best experiences; I’ve learnt so much about software development and had a really great time doing so. I also can now answer that question about what I want to do after my degree.
“There were many challenges, but in a way that made me more confident instead of more scared …”
I did a 4-week training internship with Softwire in the summer after my second year of studying Computer Science at Cambridge. Having never done any kind of internship before, I was prepared for everything being quite scary and difficult at first. However, everyone at Softwire made me feel welcome and relaxed from the first day.
For the first few weeks we did various coding challenges as well as learning about different programming languages. We were always allowed to work at our own pace and help was always around if we needed it. We were also introduced to pair programming, which I thought would be intimidating, but which was actually great fun. It made me more productive and more confident as I was coding.
For the last two weeks we worked on an internal project for Softwire. It was amazing to watch it develop day by day, getting closer and closer to the final product. We got a lot of freedom to decide ourselves what we wanted it to look like, and independence to work on our own until we needed help or we were ready to put the code up for review. This was also a great way to learn what it is like to work in a team on a larger project.
Already at my interviews for Softwire, or even just looking at their website, I knew they were different from any other software company I had encountered. I can’t imagine a more friendly, fair and fun place to work. Where else would interns be allowed to get a Dalek and a giant otter to decorate their workspace, just because?? I have immensely enjoyed my time here at Softwire as I believe anyone else would!
“There can be no better place to be than at this dynamic, growing company full of bright, welcoming people…”
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.
“I can’t imagine there are many places who take such good care of their employees…”
I started my internship at Softwire following my third year studying engineering at the University of Oxford. I arrived with almost no programming experience – only the material that Softwire had asked me to read in preparation for the summer, and a small amount of Matlab and C as part of my course. I wanted to use the internship both for experience, but also to learn what working in software was actually like.
During my internship I’ve worked on three different projects, all very different in scale, technology and structure. My first project was an internal app for Softwire itself, rather than a commercial one – the idea was to increase company productivity by making employees’ personal development records and yearly appraisal much more streamlined. It was a .NET MVC app written in C#, and we had two interns as the sole developers – with a couple of more experienced people keeping an eye on things, and giving us the support we needed when we encountered problems.
I then started a new project, another .NET MVC app but this time a commercial one which I helped create from scratch. Finally, I spent the last few weeks of my internship working on one of Softwire’s largest projects, Reservwire – this was a hugely different experience as the project was vast in comparison, but I gained a really interesting insight as to how such a large project operates.
One of Softwire’s stated goals is employee satisfaction, and they do a brilliant job making the company a great place to work. The atmosphere in the office is really laid back, and although everyone works hard there’s always time for a quick game of table tennis, 90s gaming session or an after-work pint at the pub. There’s a generous morale budget (which is used to the full), and regular morale events such as beer tasting, the company picnic and film nights.
Although I haven’t decided yet whether I want to work in software, if I do eventually choose to I would love it to be at Softwire – I can’t imagine there are many places who take such good care of their employees.
“Softwire is the kind of company that makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in the door…”
I applied to Softwire in my second year of studying Maths at Cambridge. As I applied reasonably late in the year, all the spots had been filled, and so an offer had to be postponed until the following summer. It was, however, well worth the wait!
Everyone I had the pleasure to meet (which, over my 10 weeks, was the majority of the London office) was kind, friendly, and helpful – Softwire is the kind of company that makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in the door! Not only that, everyone had a pride, passion and enjoyment for/of their work which really shone through. Added to that, the almost completely flat management structure made everyone – even us interns – feel equally valued and respected.
The work itself I found really interesting – I was in a project with other interns creating a desktop application in C# from scratch. Despite the fact that the majority of the team had never programmed in C# before (or, for that matter, other object orientated C-style languages such as C++/Java), we were soon not only writing code at a blazing rate, but moving onto focusing on making it clean, readable and testable – all under the guidance of our fantastic technical lead, Jamie.
Whilst “clean, readable and testable” might sound a little dull, it actually made it fun: whilst writing code that works might be easy, writing code that makes logical sense and is easy to understand is just as important, and learning new ways to think about coding was really enjoyable.
If we were ever stuck, Jamie was just literally just behind us, ready to help with anything, and Ying (previously an intern, now a full-time employee) also did a fantastic job at helping us out. In fact, we all learnt so much that in my final week, I even had the opportunity to talk through some of the new stuff we’d learnt, and share the knowledge with other members of staff at Softwire, at a “Lunch and Learn” session. Go to a lunch and learn session, and you not only learn some interesting things, you also get free lunch on the company. It’s one of many initiatives that embody the passion for sharing, learning and self development shared by everyone at Softwire.
On the subject of lunch, the food was amazing and very reasonably priced, and cooked by Helen, the in-house chef. There is also a very large morale budget, meaning the cupboards are full of all sorts of snacks for the taking, and there are regular events (3-4 times a week), with food and/or drinks paid for by the company, and were definitely some of the highlights of my summer. Events ranged from various pub trips – through to rampaging dinosaurs across a city at Pizza and Board Games night – and an afternoon out of the office for the annual Hampstead Heath picnic, spontaneously attended by the one and only Ed Miliband!
All in all, the internship was a fantastic experience, and I would thoroughly recommend it!
“What impressed me most about Softwire was that all the people around us were ready to help with any problems…”
The 4-week training internship at Softwire was my first ever internship. It was a most unforgettable experience for the invaluable knowledge gained in software development through systematic training projects provided by the company.
All the interns divided into pairs to work on different but related tasks in the project. We swapped pairs regularly so that everyone got a chance to work with different people and share in their different backgrounds and experience. Our managers regularly reviewed our work allowing us to improve our code on as we progressed through the project. We also periodically tested the
features implemented by others in turn and gave feedback.
What impressed me most about Softwire was that all the people around us were ready to help with any problems, which made me feel less and less nervous day by day. At the end of the fourth week, the website was ready, and we launched it internally for the staff to use. After working on the project for the last month, I and the rest of the interns were also keen to use the product we had created.
It was great to finally see it in use, and it was lovely to be part of a group of such enthusiastic and innovative people from day one.
“It would be hard not to learn a massive amount during your time here. Challenging, fascinating work, with an awesome group of people…”
I applied to Softwire so late in my second year at Oxford that sadly, by the time I reached the interview stage, there were no places left for me that summer. Instead, I was accepted for an internship after my third year. So I had a year for the anticipation to build. A friend of mine spent that year telling me how incredible the experience is; raising my expectations further! I was not disappointed; my seven weeks here have been better than I could have ever imagined.
Those seven weeks at Softwire have gone by far too fast; every day has been great fun. I’m a maths student, but have always had a keen interest in computing, so it’s great to be able to apply myself fully to what is otherwise ‘just’ a hobby. The work is always a challenge, but if it ever gets too much, the support structure is something Softwire have spent a lot of time working on. It is impossible to stray too far, with your team and managers looking after you.
Softwire place a strong focus on personal development. Indeed it would be hard not to learn a massive amount during your time here – everyone in the office is always free to help anyone else, be it by running an educational lunch or whiteboard session, or helping with a specific problem. The time spent on peer-to-peer training is always enjoyable, and the skills learnt are invaluable even if your career path leads you to something other than software development.
With the challenging work, the personal development time and the time spent looking after interns, you might think there’s no time for relaxation at Softwire. You’d be wrong. Whatever your area of interest, from music, to retro (and not so retro) console gaming, to pub trips, to picnics, to pool; Softwire offers many opportunities to help fill your spare time. More to the point, they ensure you have that spare time! Softwire are incredibly flexible; you can always fit in some recreation. The man-sized inflatable dinosaur is just a bonus.
It is hard to articulate what a great time I’ve had here. Challenging, fascinating work, with an awesome group of people, an amazingly supportive and relaxed atmosphere, and constant opportunities for learning and play. For anyone with the slightest interest in the area, I thoroughly recommend an internship with Softwire.