Category Archives: Computer Science

Student Case Study:  Switch Systems 

Name of Student:  Josh Oxenham 

Degree Subject:  BSc Computer Science 

Job Title:  Software Developer  

Company Name: Switch Systems 

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)

Description of Company: We are a small but perfectly formed IT company based in the heart of Exeter. We’ve been building websystems (not websites) for over 14 years. We’ve worked with a huge variety of organisations including local businesses, Schools, Universities and the NHS. 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?   

 My key duties and responsibilities during my internship were to develop software and design back-end and front-end systems for clients, including IoT, serverless programming and database design. 

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?   

 The outputs and outcomes I delivered for my employer were the development and testing of new and pre-existing software for clients, which resulted in software being delivered in time. 

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?   

Situation: Client had requested a feature in their software

Task: New feature had to be developed and deployed within the month

Action: I worked with a company director to design, develop and test this feature

Result: Feature got completed on time and deployed          

Skills Learnt:   

  • Problem solving  
  • Negotiation  
  • Persuasion  
  • Leadership  
  • Customer Service    

Attributes Developed:  

  • Confidence  
  • Initiative  
  • Perseverance  
  • Motivation    

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?    

This internship allowed me to further explore this side of the industry after my degree, giving me the experience within the industry to make more informed choices on a career path. It will also give me further opportunities which I may not have been given without practical career experience. I really recommend to any student to do an internship, I really enjoyed it.  

Student Case Study:  College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Name of Student:  Keith Harrison

Degree Subject:   MSci Computer Science and Mathematics

Job Title: Research Assistant (A2I)

Company Name: College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs) , Access to Internships (A2I)

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My role was to decrease the amount of time taken to run code given to me by the supervisor which had to do with modelling clouds (geophysical modelling). To do this I implemented OpenMP alongside different compiler flags in order to achieve time reduction. We would have near daily meetings to discuss progress and what methods we could implement next and also to discuss what issues I had as this internship was also to inform my supervisor on using this library and how to speed up code execution.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

At the end of the internship I had spreadsheets showing numerous tests of the effect of making different subroutines parallel in their code, a research log of learning how to use OpenMP and some challenges I came across, how I solved them and what I would do in the future with what I have learnt, Altered .f90 files for the subroutines made parallel which achieves this time reduction, Multiple performance analyses of the code showing how long the code takes divided into subroutines and a quick guide to using OpenMP to help my supervisor learn OpenMP and improve the ~30% reduction in time I achieved.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

At the end of the third week I had reached another dead-end as I could not make any meaningful reductions in execution time past my usage of performance analyses. To remedy this I decided to go back to the document describing OpenMP and came across another type of construct !$OMP PARALLEL DO which combines two separate constructs into one. This would grant a major time save and changing just a singular Do loop to a Parallel Do loop took my time reduction from 9.6% to 16.1% for the resolution I was working at. However, the use of Parallel Do also came with issues to do with memory location access to further research had to be done to decide which variables had specific properties to ensure that errors did not occur. And in the end it allowed me to achieve a time reduction when implemented into the other subroutines of up to its max of 36%.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

For the first week I had issues using Fortran alongside OpenMP. I found this was because this library is not well supported for windows so I switched to a virtual machine to run Linux as it was more up to date for that operating system. Also I was wanting to test my code on better machines but as campus was shut I was not able to access them, until i thought of using the VPN to access the machines from home to be able to test my code on. Towards the end of the second week I found that I was not getting any major reductions in time, and then after talking to my supervisor he informed me of performance analysis for Apple computers, from this I researched if any existed for Fortran specifically, luckily I found one and it allowed me to properly target the subroutines which would grant me the biggest reductions in time when made parallel. When making my code parallel I found that OpenMP did not like dealing with Global variables and after communicating with my supervisor I came up with the idea of using dummy variables.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Focus on Goals and Outcomes

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“It was a great experience working with an academic in research as I could see the tangible evidence of what I was taught in lectures. Was also great to see how my knowledge in computer science could be used in other subjects. The remote working also helped tremendously with practicing good communication and work ethic as I was not working on campus or in an office but from my room.”

 

Web Wise Media – Front End Web Developer

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibilities included developing and maintaining web sites for our customers – mainly using WordPress and Shopify. Also, I was responsible for responding to customers’ queries and to provide solutions to them where needed.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I always wanted to improve my web design/development skills and this internship was a perfect way to just do that. Not only that, but I learned how to code efficiently and in a timely manner – without getting caught up in minor details. Since we had a lot of customers and a lot of small tasks, I couldn’t afford to spend hours on just one task as I would for my coursework. It really helped me a lot to learn and experience the practical side of web development.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

During the first months of my internship, I helped my lightening the workload of everyone in the team. As the time passed, I got involved in more and more projects and soon became one of the ‘longest standing’ people on my team who had a flexible approach and who could complete tasks with minimal supervision.

Research Assistant – University of Exeter

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main role was to process and analyse research data using statistical software with the aim of developing research questions relating to dementia and hearing loss. I worked with research team members to develop a study proposal which I will develop into a paper over the summer. In order to complete the tasks that my supervisor and I set, I was required to learn the basics of SPSS, and the statistical methods that are required as part of the analytical approach.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I have not yet had the opportunity to develop a research project of my own, and have no experience in using statistical software to analyse large sets of data. During the course of my internship, I learned how challenging this process can be and with the help of the team discovered solutions to the many issues that were found. As a result of this internship, I have been able to set the foundation for my career in medical research.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I hope that I have been able to reveal some additional insight into their data so far. Over the next few months, I will also submit a paper to research journals for consideration.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Statistics, problem solving, enterprise

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Initiative, motivation, creative thinking

Research Assistant – University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Facilitate biomechanical recording of our participants, manage data stores and exportation for analysis, work with an engineer to write a MATLAB script to analyse the raw data produced, and create a list of gait parameters that could be investigated.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

When creating a MATLAB script alongside the engineer, I have never written any code before and having a project with a set goal in mind allowed me to be goal orientated and state what I wanted the script to do. This allowed targeting the specific parameters relatively easy.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I worked independently with another student to Facilitate data collection, and created a package for analysis, both of which meant that she had more time to focus on the tasks that were of her level of technical ability

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Time and workload management, assessing and managing risk, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Personal awareness, cultural awareness, independence

Commercial Research Intern – Vivacity Labs

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main roles were to do research for projects that they wanted to undertake with councils and international organisations. I would also research the councils themselves to look for angles that would allow the company to better align themselves with their client’s needs. I was tasked to edit and complete their website so that it could go live and set up a blog strategy for the company to follow once I left.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was editing and working on the website. When I joined the website needed a lot of work and I did most of the editing, adding of content and creating the blog strategy. It took a long time but seeing how the website looks now makes me proud.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed lots of research that will help them now and in the long term, including information to help in meetings and lists of contact details of people needing to be contacted in all the boroughs in London. I did research that would help with deciding which cities to install products in as part of an EU project, and this helped take the load off the rest of the marketing team.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Persuasion, customer service, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, logical thinking, creative thinking

Research Assistant – University of St Andrews

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role was to assist primarily with the data collection aspect on a project studying working memory in New World monkeys. Every day I tested brown capuchin monkeys on their ability to remember the location of food items in the specialist research facility at Edinburgh Zoo. I also assisted with reliability coding of data already collected for different projects and collected long term, observational data on chimpanzees.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt how to work with capuchin monkeys in close proximity and conduct experimental, cognitive research with them. This is an extremely valuable skill for me and is a very rare opportunity to have. It will aid me immensely with a future career and further education in the field of primate research.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

As I was responsible for the data collection on this project, this allowed the principle investigator (PI) to have more time to carry out other tasks he would otherwise not have had the time to complete. My presence was also beneficial when the PI was unable to carry out data collection himself due to time away from the research site. I also spent a lot of time entering data on another project which no one had time to do before I joined.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Assessing and managing risk, IT, research

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, initiative, perseverance

IT Helpdesk Counter Assistant – University of Exeter

SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

The IT Help Desk is a professional front line service which is the first point of contact for supported computer hardware, software, IT account or other IT related issues; including telephony, audio visual and printing queries. I was based at the helpdesk counter in the Forum where students and staff could directly drop in with their IT queries.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

As I came from a largely academic background, this internship taught me valuable customer service skills which are transferable to any job.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I adopted new working ideas quickly and was relied upon by my managers to support new members of the team.

“Sid was a flexible and adaptable member of my counter team, an example to his colleagues” – Line Manager

siddhanthjayaraman

Assistant Buyer – Hunter Stoves

Universtiy of Exeter Internships, UoE Internships, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I spent most of my time researching potential markets for new business enterprises, statistically analysing data in order to operationalise the popularity of existing products, thus providing useful information on which features our product should include.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I normally find presentations difficult, but in the context of the job I was twice able to give confident presentations which my colleagues enjoyed and found extremely useful. This was the first time I have ever come away from a presentation feeling really good about my performance.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The team were able to enter a new market with confidence thanks to my research and advice, which was pivotal in determining their spending and choices.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Most of my work was done at a computer, and so to get a more hands-on feel for the industry I went and visited several showrooms in person.

Public Weather Service Placement Student – Met Office

Universtiy of Exeter Internships, UoE Internships, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

During the course of my internship my main tasks included:

  • Updating website content and images
  • Improving search function on website
  • Gathering business requirements for a project called Climate Cloud
  • Gathering business requirements for a project that involved Mass SMS and Cell Broadcasting in an emergency event
  • Updating and improving the DataPoint webpages

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Completing the business requirements for the use of Mass SMS Vs Cell broadcasting. This document was used to support a meeting that was held in the Cabinet Office, London.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed projects that wouldnt have otherwise been done and updated the website to make it more usable for the public improving the Met Office image.