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Where are they now? Sophie Higham, Pro-Sapien

17th Jun 2024

Here at e-Placement Scotland, we have created over 3000 paid placements since 2010. With many of our summer placements now starting, we thought it would be a good opportunity to celebrate some of our past placement students.

We recently caught up with Sophie Higham who completed a Software Developer placement with Pro-Sapien in the summer of 2021.

When I was finishing my 2nd year of university, I was looking for a summer placement as I was keen to experience software development to ensure that it was something that I wanted to pursue leaving university. I also thought it would be helpful for my future career to have experience once I achieved my degree. I knew that having experience for my CV, real life experience that I could talk about, would be beneficial for my future career.

“I completed a three-month summer software developer placement with a small firm in Glasgow called Pro-Sapien.”

Due to the impact of COVID, the placement was mostly online, however the support from Pro-Sapien in getting me set up from home was very smooth and made me feel like a part of the team from the start.

I chose to apply for the Pro-Sapien placement for a few reasons: their website was very strong with a lot of cases studies that I could review; they looked to be very friendly and engaging which would be a good atmosphere to work in; and when I was going through the application process it felt personalised and that Pro-Sapien cared about me as a person rather than just my skills and experience. I also liked that the placement was in Glasgow as that’s where I’m based and meant little travel or having to relocate for a short time.

During my placement I was given my own project, and I was given support working with a senior developer. It was nice to be able to take ownership of the project and see something through, end-to-end. Pro-Sapien had put a lot of effort into providing a project that would allow me to learn a lot and feel like I was offering something valuable. Being able to complete it felt great, and that I had contributed to the company and achieved something within my placement.

“The experience reinforced in me that software development was something that I wanted to do.”

Going back into my 3rd year, we completed a year-long software development project, and the exposure I had at my placement, for both software development and agile methodology, helped me see how what we were learning and the processes we were putting in place at university were used in the real world. It helped me to understand a lot of the purpose of what we were learning and I could see how that would apply, and how it was similar to what I had done in my placement.

“I felt more confident going into interviews, having something tangible that I could talk about.”

It felt very natural to discuss my placement and I was proud to talk about it. Being able to give an example and talk about my experience was definitely a benefit during interviews.

I’d also like to add that going into my placement I was understandably nervous as I didn’t have any software experience outside of my university courses. I was worried going into my first day that everyone would realise that I was an imposter and shouldn’t have gotten the role, and that they would regret hiring me. I had all these worries focusing on the things I didn’t know and that I was going into this team where everyone was so established.

I want people to know that this is quite common, and a lot of people feel this way. It’s easy to say and harder to do but it’s important to not let that put you off. I found being in that environment, starting from scratch with technologies and things I had never come across before, but then building that up over the three months, left me with a lot of confidence for the future and that I could handle the unknown.

“My placement helped me realise that it was OK to feel like you were the person in the room that knew the least because that’s when you’re in the position to learn the most.”

I know it can be scary but it is worth doing and you don’t need to worry too much about what you don’t know because they have hired you for a reason. Pro-Sapien were very good at explaining things, and taking the time to explain things and never made me feel like I didn’t know things. Their onboarding process was great and helped me to relax into the placement. I was assigned a senior software developer as well, so the first few days I was able to spend time with them and it made me feel like Pro-Sapien wanted to get me set up and be an active member of the team.

I had been looking for a placement for a while before I found the Pro-Sapien placement. I found it quite difficult as there were so many opportunities online and it was difficult to navigate the different sites and determine what placements were real and still hiring.

I liked that e-Placement had a relationship with the companies that were advertising as it made me feel that I could trust the placement offer - especially for smaller companies that I may not have heard of before.

“I would definitely recommend e-Placement Scotland to any student in a similar position looking for work experience.”

Since completing my degree, I have been working in application development in a graduate trainee position. After completing my placement, I was confident this was the right choice for me. I am loving my role in technology and am very grateful for the path that has led me here!


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