Softwire Blog

My Softwire Internship – Jon

10 December 2011, by

JonI 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.


Softwire – The Movie

27 November 2011, by

A few weeks ago Oxford University sent us an aspiring documentary maker, Stella Ramsden, to make a film about life at a software development company.

We’re very proud to have been chosen as the first company in this scheme, and we really enjoyed having Stella around. And we think she’s done a great job!

You can find out more information about the scheme here.

My Softwire Internship – Ciprian

21 November 2011, by

CiprianI am currently doing a summer internship at Softwire, and then going back to university for the final year of my course (a 3 year Computer Science course at University of Manchester).

Before starting at Softwire, all of my previous programming experience was from university and high-school projects. In particular, I hadn’t worked on a ‘real’ software development project before. It turns out that these offer very different challenges to academic projects but can be really enjoyable to work on.

Working on such projects at Softwire proved to myself that this is what I want to do in the future – I really want to follow a career in software development.


Softwire Interview Self-Signup Interface

16 November 2011, by

Anyone applying to Softwire this year will be able to make use of our latest product: the Softwire Interview Self-Signup Interface – known in Softwire as ‘SISSI’!  While most companies take weeks or even months to respond to applications for employment, we do so within a few days – and then give candidates pretty much free rein to choose their own interview slot.

So if you are invited to a phone interview with Softwire you’ll be sent a link which will take you to a simple interface where you can choose a date and time for your interview.


My Softwire Internship – John

10 November 2011, by

JohnAs a third year Computer Science student at Oxford with a reasonable amount of previous programming experience, I was already fairly sure that I wanted to work in software development when I applied for an internship at Softwire. I’d heard about the company from a friend and the friendly and relaxed atmosphere combined with the wide variety of projects that Softwire work on particularly appealed to me.

My first project was to build a website to allow employees of a hotel chain to create a design for a London 2012 Olympics key card. This was a small project with only a few people working on it so I could definitely see that my contributions made a difference. All the technologies we used (C# and MVC) were new to me but there was always someone on hand to help me if I had any problems.


My Softwire Internship – Preeyan

19 October 2011, by

PreeyanI 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.


My Softwire Internship – Florence

21 September 2011, by

FlorenceI 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!


Interview question: Potato Spies

29 June 2011, by

In our initial phone interviews, we like to ask candidates a question based on a real-world scenario, that requires algorithmic or mathematical thinking in order to solve.

Below is just such a test that we wrote but never got round to using. My colleague Kenny and I also presented it to a room full of Oxford Mathematicians in February 2011. Kenny used to work as a teacher, so he grabbed the chalk with relish, while I amused myself throwing new potatoes at the audience whenever they got a question right. That was one careers event they didn’t forget in a hurry!


How we run a software company: Recruitment

23 June 2011, by

previous article in series

In this business, employees are a company’s most valuable asset. That may be a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. They’re certainly what we spend most of our money on, so it makes sense to check we’re getting quality goods from the outset.

When it comes to recruitment for technical positions, our philosophy is that if you hire bright people with good problem-solving skills and the right attitude, training them how to write code, and even manage projects, is a relative doddle.