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Winner of Placement of the Year 2017
09 October 2017

Placement of the Year 2017


Winner - Sanaa Dawod, Leonardo

Sanaa Dawod, MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering student at Robert Gordon University, together with aerospace, defence and security specialists, Leonardo, have been awarded first prize in the e-Placement Scotland Placement of the Year Awards at ScotSoft 2017, in recognition of an outstanding student placement.

Sanaa was involved with the Research and Development team in their defining and prototyping of a Future Test Systems Engineering Software Architecture. Her primary task was to prototype an application by using, where possible, her previous academic learnings of Object Orientated Design and using a programming language which supported this and to interface the resultant application with available hardware.

Sanaa described the boost in confidence that the placement has given her:

"Because I progressed through my placement objectives quickly, requiring the original objectives to be expanded, I gained self-assurance and the confidence that I was more than capable. Looking at the whole placement process, it is a very different environment to University, which has helped my confidence in dealing with different situations. Leonardo ensured I had a very positive first experience of the industry and has renewed my determination to finish my degree and eventually become a Software Engineer."

William Sinclair, Test Engineering Software Function Lead at Leonardo, described the value of Sanaa's placement:

"Following a very impressive placement performance by Sanaa, she was offered a second summer placement and was additionally offered a full time Graduate position on condition of obtaining her master’s degree...The outcome has surpassed all expectations and opportunities now exist to leverage from a continuing ‘student pipeline’ and collaborations with a specific university, which did not exist previously."

As the award applications were of such exceptional quality, two joint runner-up prizes were also awarded. Joe Barrett, BEng Software Engineering student at Edinburgh Napier University, together with Cadence Design Systems, received the award for first runner-up.

Runner-up - Joe Barrett, Cadence

As a global hi-tech company, Cadence is committed to establishing links with academia, promoting diversity and interest in STEM subjects. 

Joe described his experience:

"I thoroughly enjoyed my placement with Cadence. It allowed me to put what I’d learnt at university into practice as well as learn new techniques and technologies which put me in a prime position for completing 4th year. Before the placement I’d never used Python or Linux but following the placement I’ve used Python for multiple projects including my honours project and all my computers are Linux based. It also allowed me to maintain a strong work ethic through the summer making the struggles of 4th year considerably easier."

Dr David Mallon, Senior Member of Consulting Staff at Cadence, described the value of the placement:

"Joe successfully took a prototype solution and developed it into a tool which could easily be used on multiple sites, across many geographies. This was something we did not have resources available to work on, but it was a task we knew could reap big benefits. Joe's software is now run on a nightly basis, for three separate R&D teams, and provides a fully automated solution to the detection and reporting of performance regression issues. It had a major 
impact in massively speeding up the detection of problems, and in freeing up engineering time by automating the process."

Runner-up - Leslie Salami, Nalytics

Leslie Salami, MSc Big Data student at Stirling University, together with Nalytics, were the other runners-up. Nalytics is a unique cloud solution for extracting knowledge from all of your unstructured data from any device.

Leslie described his experience: 

"This placement has been nothing short of a life changing experience for me. Coming from Ghana in West Africa, and gaining valuable experience working in an organisation such as Nalytics has been excellent. My confidence level has greatly improved at work and also when tackling real life problems."

George Steven, Senior Consultant at Nalytics, said:

"As a start-up technology company, it was extremely useful for us to use the industry placement programme to prove our technology (in terms of integration, scaling and extensibility) on real-world big data challenges...Leslie’s project deliverables are already being utilised by our business when demonstrating the product to potential customers."

Commendation - Kumba Dauda, Storiicare

The quality of all entries was exceptionally high this year, and for the first time in the Award's history, the judges decided to offer a commendation prize to Kumba, for her placement with Storiicare. Cameron Graham, Founder and CEO of the healthcare startup, said:

"Kumba filled a role that was badly needed in the business and she has absolutely thrived. Kumba contributes new ideas across the business - she has come up with marketing campaigns, social campaigns and also product features. Quite simply, without Kumba, we wouldn’t have the social presence or social support we have today."

About e-Placement Scotland

e-Placement Scotland was established to close the computing skills gap by matching able students with high-quality work placements across Scotland. In September 2017, the programme, run by Edinburgh Napier University and the trade body for the digital technologies industry ScotlandIS, reached the milestone of its 1800th paid placement.

e-Placement Scotland director, Sally Smith, thanked all the companies who entered the awards and offered congratulations to all the winners.

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