We are Nada and Polly, two students who spent a week on work experience at the ECS Digital London office.
We both heard about this wonderful work experience via our schools and thought that this would be a great opportunity to take part in. In the application process, we had to provide a CV as well as a cover letter. Working through those gave us experience in applying for jobs and adapting our applications to suit the role in question. Once we were successful with our application, we went through an interview process. The interview gave us some valuable practise to help us build up our confidence for the future.
What did you get up to?
Upon arrival, we were introduced to the team at ECS Digital and given a tour of the office. We were excited to start our week at ECS Digital and were looking forward to getting started on the project. We then got given a use case, based on a real-life example which a client may provide, and had to complete our project in three days.
The aim of the project was to write a Python program which ran all the SQL files in a given folder on a database in order to upgrade it. We had to make sure the database was upgraded to the latest version, and that we didn’t accidentally downgrade it, even if the folder contained SQL files for previous versions.
In addition to the main program, we had a few other tasks throughout the week. We were tasked with presenting our solution to different members of the ECS Digital team, and were able to meet lots of people to find out more about their roles within the organisation.
Part of our final solution:
Who did you meet / get to work with?
During our time at ECS Digital, we met many people. We had sessions with different individuals from different teams and were taken on ‘a day in the life’ with them.
Our first session on Tuesday was with Samer Naqvi and we explored the role of Women in Tech and how she partakes in talks and delivers them to people across the country. It was very informative to see how she encourages young women to see the digital industry as a viable career option.
Additionally, in the afternoon, we had a very interesting session with Eloisa Tovee (Ely) who works in the marketing team. She taught us how to market ourselves in the industry and also helped us to set up LinkedIn accounts. Now we have the opportunity to connect with different people who also have the same interests as we do.
On our third day, Martina Srdoc delivered a session with us whilst walking through the park (the office is everywhere 😁), which was quite relaxing. At ECS Digital, she is an agile coach and also ‘the mother of the team’. This means that she looked after the wellbeing of all the staff.
Later on in the day we had a mid-week catch up with Kouros Aliabadi and received a broader understanding of his role as a delivery consultant. Amongst other things, Kouros goes to client sites and ensures that everyone is happy both within the clients’ and ECS Digital’s teams.
Making the Most from the Cloud
Our last session of the week was with John Lawson. He works with ECS Consulting (part of the wider ECS group) and is a Senior Cloud Developer Consultant. He showed us how to programme with VS code and GitHub.
What thing(s) did you enjoy most?
The most enjoyable thing this week was the problem-solving aspect of it. When we got stuck on a problem, and had to think creatively to find a solution, it felt satisfying to get there, especially if we did this independently.
As well as that, the working environment in the office was fantastic. Everyone here was very welcoming, and we felt comfortable working here for the whole week. We’d both love to come back!
Thing(s) you found most challenging
When we started this project, we had no knowledge of using SQL with Python (or any other program). This was challenging because it meant that we had to research a lot and learn independently.
In addition, our program was run via a command line interface. Neither of us had used one before, so we got a lot of help from Emerson Hardisty (DevOps and Continuous Delivery Consultant at ECS Digital) to get our program working correctly and be able to receive command line inputs.
The journey from applying to presenting our use case has been massively inspiring and although we faced some challenges on the way, we were able to successfully overcome them and produce a script.
What did you learn?
Throughout the week, we developed a range of both technical as well as interpersonal skills. To complete the project successfully, we had to learn how to use MySQL in Python and create and modify databases. We also learnt how to connect to a database through Python, and how to connect to a command line interface.
Working as a team, we were able to develop our communication and problem-solving skills. Our day always started with a daily “stand up”, which involved us talking through what we did the previous day and our plans for the next day, allowing us to make the most of our time.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely! This week has really been fantastic, and we’ve learnt so much. Given this opportunity again, we would definitely take it.
We would both love to say a big thank you to everyone at ECS Digital and for making this week amazing and full of learning. Special thanks to Jingen Ngo for being a great organiser, Emerson for helping us with all the technical issues and Lucia Gore for organising the applications and interviews.
Internships & Work Experience at ECS Digital
ECS Digital believe in giving people equal opportunities and are proud to open its doors to buddying tech enthusiasts looking for the chance to experience what working in the world of tech is really like.
Due to the energy, care and attention that goes into making sure every work experience student gets the chance to get hands-on and immersed in our culture, we are only able to offer a handful of opportunities across the year – mostly featured during school holidays.
If you’re interested in any future opportunities, please reach out to the team who will be happy to advise if we have any work experience placements coming up! (Be sure to hit ‘careers’ in the ‘enquiry type’ menu when you do).