A short post I’ve been meaning to write for some time. At present our course does not contain an official placement. This is something that may change in the future but for now, when students ask me about this option I share the experiences of recent graduates.

The students that tend to do well when they graduate are of course the ones that have found themselves work whilst studying and have gained considerable experience. These folks generally move smoothly from student to front-end developer. The companies they have been working for quite often snap them up. If they don’t, these same students rarely have trouble finding their first job. Of course, the downside to this is that other agencies have already missed our best graduates.

I know I’ve just used the word ‘best’. I am however concerned that numerous job adverts ask for ‘superstar web developers’ and such. Actually many of our very successful graduates are those that didn’t get any experience, weren’t ‘superstar’ devs, but have slotted perfectly into the work environment and are appreciated. How do I know? I regularly get asked by employers for ‘more like so and so’.

So back to placements. When? for my students between years 1 and 2 and 2 and 3 (final) they are essentially free from April until mid-September. They may have an exam or two in May so you they will need some support and flexibility.

Who? Well my guys (male/female) are front-end with a focus on UX, accessibility and standards. Like all students some will be better than others. We will have some who are enthusiastic but with limited skills. We will also have others turning out high quality code. You would need to interview them. More and more we are hearing from industry they want softskills, which often means devs that can communicate. We focus on that in a variety of ways. Our students will talk (and smile) to clients.

Pay. Well yes. It’s illegal and un-ethical not to. What to do with them? That’s for you to work out. All I know is that a number of agencies have done this successfully, making great use of our students.

Internships. A number of agencies have started to run year long internships. Like placements this seems a very successful way to talent spot and then to get that talent to find their niche within an agency. Students finish in April/May and graduate in July, internships that start in September seem to suite them.

All of the above takes effort. Agencies making these efforts are the ones often getting the talent they need.

* Obviously the dates above relate to our BSc Web Development. Contact courses local to you to get their pattern.

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