A lot of students who come to study in Ireland choose to study one-year to three-year courses but, Joyanne Njuguna from Kenya decided to do a four-year course and hasn’t looked back! In her second piece on the blog, Joyanne tells us about the work placement she did as part of her course and how it was one of the best things she’s ever done…

As an undergraduate student in NUIG pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computer Science and Information Technology, I am required to undergo a 7-month work placement in a company in a field related to my course. This is an excellent opportunity for students with no professional work experience to gain some. I was lucky enough to secure a placement with Genesys, with help from NUIG. 

(Photo: Melpomenem via Canva)

NUIG provides support to students beforehand to help them prepare for interviews by holding CV workshops for perfecting your CV and interview workshops that highlight key interview skills that employers look for. NUIG has a portal where students can apply to prospective companies secured by NUIG. This is provided to you a few months before beginning your placement. It is very helpful as it’s all in one compact place which is convenient for students to access.

I would say that attitude is a factor when applying for interviews, be positive, show that you are passionate about what you do and show interest in the company by learning more about it before the interview. While learning about the company, formulate some questions to ask the interviewers that are specific to the company to show that you did your research. Here are some of my favourite questions to ask.  

  • How would you describe the work environment here? Is the work typically collaborative or more independent?  
  • How does the team I would be joining contribute to achieving the company’s goals?  
  • What, in your opinion, are the key characteristics you think a person needs to be a great cultural fit for your company? 
  • What do you like most about working for this company? 

I underwent the interview process virtually and am currently having an entirely virtual internship experience. The world is modernising and adapting to the global pandemic, most workplaces have shifted to virtual workplaces. This means that there is an increase in demand for advanced technological solutions for resources for creating an effective virtual work environment. This has given me confidence in my course, that the skills I have acquired from the course will be in demand when entering the job market. 

I was nicely set up to work remotely as Genesys provided all the necessary equipment to be productive. They were very proactive in terms of welcoming Interns aboard and that cultivated a warm work environment. I believe that the work environment greatly influences the attitude of the employees. Making people feel comfortable and included will motivate them to be productive.

(photo: Genesys.com)

Having had the pleasure to be a Software Engineer Intern for Genesys, I feel as if I am spoiled for anywhere else. I can only speak from experience and this is the only experience I have had. The amount of support I have received from my manager and my teammates, from the smallest problems to the biggest ones, with no judgement is amazing. I found it to be refreshing as it surpassed my expectations. It is normal to feel overwhelmed when in a new environment not knowing the culture or people, but they made it easy to transition into working despite working virtually. 

I was worried that choosing a four-year course over a three-year one would be time-consuming, however, I now realise that it is preparation for my career. I am learning so much from my team and enrolling in courses during my free time to improve my skills. It is truly an invaluable experience that enables you to have the chance to experience work in your field before going into the job market. I would definitely recommend choosing a course that has work placement or a study abroad opportunity – or both! 

Joyanne Njuguna is in her third year at the National University of Ireland Galway(NUIG) pursuing a Bachelor of Science(Hons) degree in Computer Science and Information Technology.