Students can spend a year on industrial placement during their studies of Computing Science. It is an excellent opportunity for students to gain first-hand professional experience of working in industry. A year of industrial placement can be taken either between the third and forth year of studies or after the fourth year. Students who successfully complete a CS50IP-style placement, and otherwise fulfil the requirements for an honours degree, will be awarded an MSci degree "with industrial placement" (not to be confused with an MSc) to acknowledge the fact that these degrees take five years.

 

Overview

Industrial placement is a form of learning that offers all students valuable experience and facilitates entry into the job market. The Computing Science department, therefore, encourages students to consider taking out a year from their studies to go on industrial placement. 

An industrial placement is normally for 9-12 months, starting either in the summer after the third year, or in the summer after the fourth year. A written report has to be produced by the students at the end of their placement.

Placements must involve serious computing work - programming, testing, and system administration are fine, but marketing and help desk work are generally not recommended; in most cases it should be possible to identify a substantial part of your work as a distinct project, whose outcomes you will describe in your final report.

Our dedicated Industrial Placements Coordinator Dr. Martin Kollingbaum and the University's Careers Service will support you during the recruitment process and throughout the placement -- including refining your CV, helping with your interview technique and looking after you whilst you are on your placement.

Duration

  • One-year placement (9 to 12 months) - You can earn a MSci with Industrial Placement degree.
  • Short-term placements - 
    • 3 month Summer placement - Minimum 3 months
    • One-month placement -  This a very flexible form of placement: if you work a couple of weeks during term break or part time in a company, you can earn credits (please talk to us)

Examples of where our students go on placement include:

  • GE Oil and Gas
  • BOC-Group
  • Intelligent Plant
  • Microsoft
  • Wincom Consulting
  • Servelec Controls
The Benefits

Our students returning from placement report:

  • Increased awareness of current developments within the software industry
  • Experience to operate within teams, development of inter-personal skills
  • Increased confidence to work in an industrial setting
  • Networking opportunities
  • Better job opportunities after graduation
Our Students' Experience

About 50% of our students took part in placements. The followings are their placement experiences:

Charlie Egan

Junior Full Stack Developer at Unboxed Consulting

"Summer placements have been a chance to further my software engineering understanding in a real work environment, without offsetting my degree progress."

 

Charlie Egan University of aberdeen

Alexandru Zarafu 

IT internship at GE Oil & Gas Aberdeen

"The whole point of a placement is to learn and develop a strong foundation for your future career. For my placement at GE Oil & Gas I was assigned to work on a global Oracle ERP implementation focusing most of my time on data conversion. I have managed to further develop my SQL skills as well as my knowledge of Oracle, a database which is currently used by most multinational companies. Being involved in such a big impact project and working closely with the project leaders allowed me to learn a lot of project management. Moreover having to work within a team matrix from both technical and non-technical backgrounds improved my collaboration skills considerably."

 

Alexandru Zarafu University of aberdeen

Ruaraidh Macfarlane

BOC-Group in Vienna 

I am able to make a connection between what we learn in the classroom and what is done in the working world, attain valuable work experience and experience a different culture.

 Ruaraidh Macharlane University of Aberdeen

Ventsislav Tanev

Software engineer at Intelligent Plant

"I did my first steps in the software industry at Intelligent Plant. Throughout my time in the company I faced many challenges, but the team was always there to help and support me in my tasks. One thing I liked was the freedom I was given to learn,  while choosing my own approach on projects personally assigned to me. I found my industrial placement to be extremely valuable experience towards becoming a better professional. I would definitely recommend Intelligent Plant to any student considering a placement as part of his/her degree."

 Ventsislav Tanev University of aberdeen

Vlad Tudor Marchis

Software Development at Wincom Consulting

"My year with Wincom has been more than I could have hoped for. Being part of a small development team, I have gathered a lot of work experience in many different stages of software development and deployment and have gotten the opportunity to return and work here after graduation. We operate on the Lean Startup (Eric Ries) model by using agile methodologies and creating a feedback loop that allows us to minimise redundancy while keeping the customer engaged and happy. On top of all this, I have gotten the opportunity to return and work here after graduation, so I can very easily say that this has been an invaluable experience for me."

 

Nikola Petkov

Student Placement Engineer at Servelec Controls

It greatly increased my knowledge and understanding of many computing related concepts and provided me with an opportunity to apply that on a range of in-house and client projects.

 

Niall Young 

IT internship at GE Oil & Gas Aberdeen

"My placement at GE has been infinitely valuable. I've learnt many new skills and developed a large network of IT professionals. Ultimately it has given me the drive and work ethic to complete the final year of my degree.

FAQ

Should I go on a placement year?

This is a very personal decision, which only you can make. From an academic perspective, the great advantage of placement years is that students can learn about real-world computing and see the context in which their academic learning will be used (and indeed appreciate why their academic courses are useful and relevant). Working for a year is often also a maturing experience, especially for people who have never had a full-time job before. It also looks good on your CV when you apply for jobs after graduating. But certainly placements are not for everyone.

You should realise that in general placements are generally not financially advantagous in the short term. A student who goes on placement and then returns to do his or her fourth year will generally make less money over this two year period than a student who finishes his or her degree and then works for a year as a graduate. This disadvantage may be offset by the fact that your prospects for future work (at the company of your placement or elsewhere) are likely to have improved as a result of your placement.

I am a Level 1 student. Is it too early to think about internship and career development now?

We provide different co-curricular activities for students to choose from, including joining internship and exchange programs. It is important to gain a good understanding of different options available before you make the choice that best fits you. So we highly encourage you to spend some time to explore these opportunities.

Can I go on a placement abroad?

Yes, you can, as long as it's possible for us to monitor your progress adequately and to support you where necessary. For this reason, placements will often be at companies in the UK or not too far away from it. In some other cases (e.g. at SUN), a company far away may have good procedures in place to offer students the support they need. Decisions (by the placement coordinator and the HoD) will be made based on the merits of the case.

I am a joint honours student, can I go on a placement?

We do not currently allow this. This is because none of the departments that we have joint degrees with have placement programmes. However, you can do an unofficial placement by suspending your studies.

Do I pay tuition fees while on placement?

Students who pay their own fees would in general be expected to pay fees at half-rate while on placement.

My placement isn't working out well, what should I do?

Please contact your Placement Organiser as soon as possible to discuss this!!

My placement is going really well, I want to extend it.

If things are going really well at your placement company and you want to stay on for another year or two (and the company wants to keep you on), you can do this by breaking your studies. However, we certainly hope that at some point you will come back and finish your degree. In general it is a mistake career-wise for someone to give up on an honours degree when they only need one more year to finish. 

Can I keep my University account while I am on placement?

In principle yes, but we would want some assurances that you would regularly check and process your email, so that you don't end up with a huge University mailbox overflowing with spam.

Do I need to hand in any report after completing my placement?

Placements are courses, in all cases you have to deliver a final report and give a presentation (about 30min, talk about your experience).