Technology Placement Year Student at PwC

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Gap Year Programme
Review Date:
August 2020

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I worked as a Data Scientist. Focus was heavily on learning and development to begin with, as well as throughout. Training included areas such as machine learning, data analytics, data visualisation. My role was heavily Python based, however me and all other students came into the role with no python experience and were trained up at our own pace. My role included spending time developing machine learning models with support from the wider team and development of web applications, as well as opportunities to get involved with many smaller projects.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


I have pretty much from scratch learnt many data analytics skills, coming into the placement with very little experience in IT or programming. Skills I have learnt include Python, Machine Learning concepts, javascript, D3, UiPath, web app development, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap. Also was trained in project management skills such as working in line with Agile methodologies, working in teams, remote working. There are many learning opportunities available and you are encouraged to research training courses.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The placement programme has been extremely enjoyable. The support has been fantastic, I have been given lots of opportunities and am encouraged to learn lots of new skills before I leave. I worked in the London office for the first 6 months, and then from home for the final 6 months (during the covid-19 pandemic). However, during my first 6 months I was also able to work from home if I wanted to, which I chose to do 1 day a week. I really liked the flexibility.

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4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The structure of the placement programme has been really good. Initially was focussed on training up in key skills I would need, especially Python. There was really good support networks all the way through. I then was able to move onto some project work, which had a good balance of independence but also support when I needed it. I've never felt like I didn't have any work to do, which could be a worry when coming into work as a student.

5. How much support do you receive from your employer?


The support network throughout my placement has been really good. I always can reach out to anyone in my wider team for support, whether it be for technical help or anything surrounding wellbeing. Especially during the covid pandemic I always felt connected with the team. I also had a career coach who was independent from my team, who I had regular meetings with to check how I was doing, and was there for any type of support when I needed.

6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?


I am studying at University towards my Mathematics degree, and this placement was my year in industry. They kept in touch via forms to check I was doing OK, and came to visit half way through my placement. They chatted with a team manager I work with and gathered feedback on how I was getting on. I never had any problems, but if I did I know I could have contacted them for help or advice.

7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?


I wouldn't say that most of my maths degree content directly related to the work I was doing, but the skills I had learnt from my degree were very transferrable. Specifically having done programming modules in Matlab meant I had some understanding of programming languages, and the problem solving skills from studying maths were very useful. The statistics modules were probably most related to my work, and definitely helped give me a good understanding of the machine learning concepts.

8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)


We would sometimes go out for drinks or dinner after work around the local area, however due to the covid pandemic the second half of the year was all working from home. We did have some online socials after work via google meet. There are groups such as the music society, I had a friend who got involved with that, and organised some events with them. There are also groups for sports such as five-a-side football.

9a. Would you recommend PwC to a friend?


9b. Why?

Main reasons to recommend my PwC placement are: - Encouraged to learn valuable new skills to a high level, such as programming and data visualisation (tableau, powerbi, matplotlib) - Flexible and friendly work environment - Good feedback processes to understand how you are getting on and how you can improve - Great support networks, always people happy to help you with anything - Interesting work projects to get involved in, given independence, not just shadowing work which is really valuable to be able to learn for yourself

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to PwC?

- Don't be afraid that you don't have experience with data science beforehand, they are looking for enthusiasm to learn more than anything. For my role, it is important you are interested in technology and data. - Do some company research beforehand but don't worry if you don't know much about the specifics of the role - I didn't really know what I was going to be doing until my first week. - Demonstrate skills like communication and teamwork at your assessment center by showing you can cooperate and listen to others.

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