Testing your future involves asking questions, here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from students about Coding their Future. The questions below are currently ordered by popularity on mentimeter.com.
Not all employers will expect you to have lots of
projects at this stage, but any that you do have will help your application stand out. It doesn’t have to be paid experience: Volunteering, getting involved in competitions as a competitor or organiser will help, see more suggestions chapter 5 on Experiencing your Future.
When you find an employer and you have been accepted onto, how do you register it with the uni?
Rejection is a normal part of job hunting, you need to learn to live with it and not take it personally, see section 11.4.10. You only need one job offer!
The best time to start applying is September and spread your applications throughout the year.
The time of year you apply will determine what kind of opportunities are available, see section 11.2.9. Big employers tend to close their applications anytime between September and December. If you’ve not found anything you like by February (say), you can change your job search strategy and look for opportunities with smaller companies.
If you’re serious about finding a placement, keep looking for a placement as long as possible. Some students find placements in August to start in September, see Brian’s story in chapter 31.
The University doesn’t currently collect data on how many students get return offers, but a placement (or internship) is a bit like a long job interview. If they like you, it is likely you’ll receive an offer to return when you graduate.
Nationally, across the UK, around 50% of students go back to their placement for graduate position.
Yes, see 14.1
Pay varies by sector, location and role, anything from minimum wage upwards, see section 11.4.6
Your University can help you but ultimately finding a job is your responsbility, not the University see 1.5.
Speak to your employability tutor and careers service. If you’re a Manchester student, keep an eye on the Wednesday Waggle.
See section 14.7
What was the process like? Did they pay for accommodation and flights ect. or was it up to you?
It is possible to do a placement outside the UK, but it takes more organisation and there are more checks the University has to do to approve your placement.
You may be offered a relocation package, but it depends on the employer.
There are lots of opportunities out there, but there is lots of competition too. Here are some challenges you might face:
- Running out of time
- Underestimating what is involved
- Not doing enough applications, optimising quality at the expense of quantity
- Doing too many applications, optimising quantity at the expense of quality
That said, if you’re serious about finding a placement, you will be able to get one. Lots of students from Manchester do, in Computer Science over one hundred students get placements every year.
This varies with employer. This is a good question to ask your interviewers after they ask you
Do you have any questions for us?
Some employers give placement and internship students internal projects that never see the light of day. Other employers will throw you in at the deep-end and see how you get on. It depends on the employer.
If you’d like more responsibility you should ask for it, but you might have to prove yourself first and earn the trust and respect of your manager on smaller side projects first.
Startups are harder to find because you are less likely to have heard of them and there are lots of them, compared to bigger employers.
One way to find out about startups is to go to local events, see 11.2.4 and Jonathan’s story. Your University may well be involved in spinning off companies from R&D they do.
See the startup sites listed in section 11.3.2.
One of the advantages of working for bigger organisation is they will often have established training programs you can take part in.
Startups tend to be a bit more
seat of your pants style training, which can also be valuable.
Whever you work, you should always ask for training, how much training is available will depend on the employer.
Open source, see e.g. hackathons, will all help.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are such big growth areas, that some employers insist on Masters or PhD. You may find it impossible to get into these with a Bachelors degree, but it depends on the employer.
Gradcracker now lists AI jobs at gradcracker.com/search/computing-technology/artificial-intelligence-jobs
You can also find plenty by using Google job search google.com/search?q=machine+learning+internship
If you’re lucky, your employers may help you find accommodation, they might even be able to put you in touch with other students employed by them for a flatshare.
But like finding the job, the accommodation is your responsbility to sort out, which can be stressful. E.g. finding a place to live in London might be more expensive than you are used to
Many employers drive a hard bargain and will try to pay you the minimum they can get away with.
14.19 If you get an offer early on, should you hold out for a better company? How long do you have to accept it?
It’s complicated, see Declining an Accepted Job Offer: How To Do It Gracefully and section 13.4.
Carefully read what a contract says about cancellation. More competitive employers will tell you their job offer expires after a period of time (e.g. 2 weeks is common) thereby forcing your hand. What you do after you’ve accepted is down to your own conscience.
What are must-do and what are things that we cannot do? It’s a good idea to:
- Prepare written answers to standard interview questions such as those in section 13.2.2
- If you are are Universitty of Manchester student - you can rehearse standard interview questions using shortlistme www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/services/interviews/practiceinterviews/shortlistme/ - see bit.ly/UoMInterviewpath
Any preparation you do is likely to
- Make you less nervous
- Help you answer questions better
ANY internship or placement that you’ve done before you graduate will make your application stand out when you’re applying for graduate jobs or graduate schemes when you finish your degree.
That’s going to depend on where you’re applying e.g.
- Not all employers use coding interviews, so grinding leetcode and hackerrank will be less valuable with those employers
- Small companies tend to have much quicker and simpler recruitment e.g. one interview rather than four (say)
The more competitive the company, the more experience they are likely to expect because they can pick and choose from lots of highly qualified applicants.
If you don’t have much experience, it might be time to think about how you can get some more, see chapter 5
Another way in to the job market is to start with smaller employers, see section 5.3.4.
The contract of employment is between you and your employer. Some contracts of employment are protected by Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs),
If you are able to share it, you’ll be asked to do so in your myPlacement application.
It’s tricky, especially in second year when the workload is heavy.
The deadline to transfer onto (or off) Industrial Experience is the end of August.
Many students return from placement to do a stronger final year because they can apply the skills and experience acquired that can help e.g.
- Personal and social skills like time management
- Technical knowledge that can be applied in a final year project for example
One exception to this is Maths students, for some people, getting back into University maths when you’ve not done any for a year can be challenging.
What did you do about social stuff since you didnt have uni life and events? Is it not a bit isolating being on placement?
It can be, you have to start all over again like a fresher. When you return, some of your fellow students will have graduated, but here are lots of students out on placement, so you’re not on your own.
If you find a job in Manchester, see git.io/manc that will be less of a problem.
Its worth writing a covering letter, even if nobody reads it, because if nothing else, it gets your elevator pitch right. The three questions your answer in a covering letter are all likely to come up in an interview anyway, so having thought about and articulated your answers means you’re more likely to come across well in an interview.
Some employers read covering letters closely, see section 8.10
Anytime between June and September. Minimum is 9 months, most are 12 months, some are 15 (extended).
I feel I know nothing!
That might be impostor syndrome.
By the end of second year, you know the fundamentals. You’re not an expert, but you know enough to start your career. Computing is a profession where you are constantly learning because technology moves quickly. Stay in school, see section 20.8.
Should you wait to apply or should you just apply as early as possible/
This is a balancing act, applications take time that could otherwise be spent bolstering your CV.
If you don’t apply, you won’t be invited to interview. If you wait until you have experience, you’ll miss a load of deadlines.
Yes, see section 5.3.1.
Fintech is a significant sector in the UK, with lots of opportunities.
Your time is limited. Both leetcode and hackerrank can help you prepare but you won’t have time to do them all. Maybe focus on a set amount of practice every week?
See section 13.4
Coding interviews can be hard, but you can prepare and you get better at interviews (both technical and non-technical) by doing them, see section 13.2.3
And when do you use it? see section 14.2
First year marks are a factor, especially for more competitive opportunities.
If you’ve not performed as well as you’d like in first year, you might choose to distinguish between your
expected degree classification
Its rare for a candidate to satisfy everything on job spec, see section 11.4.3.
Big cities have more opportunities. Manchester has plenty see git.io/manc, London has even more.
The wider you cast your net (geographically speaking) the more opportunities you’ll find
14.47 What percentage of students recieve placements through the uni rather than applying themselves?
There will be a limited number of internships and placements at your University. E.g in Manchester.
- Kilburn internships (advertised around May)
For Manchester students see the pathways
See the checklist
Personal projects, hackathons, open source, doing courses in your spare time (coursera etc) all showcase your interest.
Your time is finite resource, but anything technical you manage to do over and above the basic requirements of your degree will help your application stand out..
Try not to burn out, see section 3.5. 🔥
see chapter 13
See section 13.2.3
Were the companies helpful?
That’s a good question to ask in interview.
Varies with employer.
Computing isn’t know for its gender balance and diversity, but things are slowly getting better
Once the deadline is closed, you won’t be able to apply.
Yes, there are two you might find useful:
There are advantages and disadvantages of each, see e.g. section 5.3.4.
Yes, but automated applications can sometimes be detected.
Or were they quite controlling about hours
In the UK, employees are entitled to paid holiday, see www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights
The number of offers you get is likely to be proportional to the number of applications you make (and how strong a candidate you are)
Its quite common for people to receive more than one offer.
a placement has to be your penultimate year, see wiki
See section 5.3.1
The University can help you in various ways, but it is your responsibility to find a job, see 1.5.
In Manchester no, but it does appear in the title of your degree, and therefore your degree certifite e.g.
EitherBSc Computer Science
OrBSc Computer Science with Industrial Experience
Yes, but it is short see wiki.cs.manchester.ac.uk/index.php/UGHandbook23:Main#I:_Industrial_Experience