Placement year at CityFibre
Sadjad Momeni-Moghaddam, Graduate Software Developer
Sadjad is spending his placement year at CityFibre as a Software Developer, in order to gain valuable industry experience and put his university studies into practice in a supportive environment.
We spoke to Sadjad about how he’s finding life at CityFibre, what he’s learning and what he’s got planned for the future.
First of all, can you tell us what you’re studying at university?
In 2015, I started my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science back in my home country of Iran. I specialised in Hardware Engineering, but mainly worked on software. After I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I moved to the UK and started a Masters in Artificial Intelligence. I chose AI because it can be combined with different fields like medicine, finance and lots more. As part of my Masters, I had the option to do a placement year, so I’ve done a term at university, then once I finish my year at CityFibre, I’ll go back and complete my final term and hand in my project. Then I’m done!
What is a placement year, and is it something you would recommend?
A placement year gives a student the opportunity to spend a year in industry to gain work experience. It’s a chance to put the knowledge you’ve learned at university into practice. You can see how the real-world works, and how you can develop your knowledge and stay one step ahead once you’ve finished your degree.
At university, I’ll learn how algorithms work and about object-oriented programming, but I can’t cover all the specific languages you might need in a job. At CityFibre, I’ve learned how to use PHP and the other frameworks we use to develop our infrastructure.
What sort of support are you getting at CityFibre?
I have a line manager, just like everyone else. And a few weeks in, I was introduced to my mentor - someone I can call or message with any questions I have, technical or otherwise. I also have my teammates, so there’s always somebody on hand to help me out.
Moving from university in Iran to the UK was a big challenge. Coming to a new country, with a different culture and language was hard at first, but with the right support, it became a lot easier. My colleagues at CityFibre have been incredibly supportive - they understand my situation and have helped me grow both professionally, and by introducing me to a new culture.
We also have access to the Hub, our online learning platform, as well as regular ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinars, led by people from different areas of the business, which help me understand how CityFibre works. There is always the opportunity to learn new things and try different technologies.
What does a typical day at CityFibre look like?
The Software Development team is very big, so we’re divided into smaller squads that focus on specific projects. We catch up as a team every morning to talk through any problems we’re having and share ideas. It’s a great way to check in with one another. Then we work on our own tasks - if we need support we can send the team a quick message. If I can help anyone out, then I always like to lend a hand.
If there are new tasks to be completed, we’ll share our ideas on how to tackle them and once we’ve agreed on how to proceed, they’re added to our Kanban board to pick up.
What do you love most about being a Software Developer at CityFibre?
The main thing is the culture! Everyone is so friendly. From the very first time I was invited to an interview, I felt respected thanks to the way I was spoken to and the questions I was asked. It was all really positive. I had offers from other organisations, but they just didn’t compare. CityFibre did something really different.
The people, especially in the Software Development team, know when to be serious and focused, but also when to have a laugh. Having fun at work makes handling pressured situations so much easier - it’s amazing!
What advice would you give someone applying for a placement year?
If you really want the opportunity, make sure you show your excitement and enthusiasm in your cover letter, your CV and in your interview! Be yourself, and make sure the company knows just how much you want the role and explain why it’s a good opportunity for you. That way, they’ll get the feeling that you can really add something to the team.
What are your career aspirations?
After I’ve completed my Masters, I’ll be able to get a job as a Junior Developer. I’d like to be a Senior Developer in the next two to three years. I want to improve my skills and gain new knowledge, so I can become a better developer and have a greater chance at securing future opportunities.