Dev Diary: Ben Nawaz, Industrial Placement Student

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

I know it was you, Fredo.

Hi folks, I’ve been asked to write a blog to describe my experience as a Web Applications Industrial Placement student so far, to hopefully give people an idea of what life is like here, for those looking to follow suit and do their year in industry here. I’m a student studying Computer Science at the University of Manchester and this year is happening between my second and third years of study, which is pretty usual for placement students. At present I’m about a third of the way through my year here, and already I’ve learnt a helluva lot about the industry and software development

When I first started out, there was a week’s worth of training to get us in the right mind set and up to date with all of the systems that we’d be using on a day to day basis, such as source control and the proprietary software that we’d be helping to build and maintain as part of our roles (I can’t be too specific so as not to give away trade secrets etc.). As well as this, it was also a nice way of getting to know the different people in the company and the various roles that they’d have to perform, just so we’d know some faces when we’d need to ask questions. The week finished off nicely with one of the many Web Apps unofficial nights out which was also a great way to meet the people we’d be working with for the coming year, as well as a great excuse to show off some excruciatingly embarrassing dance moves!

As things got moving, we were assigned a kind of mock training exercise which involved adding a new piece of functionality into the software we’d be working with, which I feel was a great way to expose us to all of the different working pieces of systems that we’d have to get comfortable with, such as the various backend and frontend technologies that we have to use. After being somewhat thrown in at the deep end, we came out of it, ready to deal with real cases and get working.

Since then I’ve been lucky to work on some pretty interesting stuff, and have been learning some technologies that I hadn’t previously worked on, such as Angular JS and TypeScript, and feel like I really am gaining invaluable experience. The Industrial Placement students have been given various opportunities to show off some of the stuff we knew or may have learnt, and to identify what we’re good at and what we like to do. Some of us were even sent as a team to represent the industrial placement students at the company at the Hack Manchester hackathon. I was lucky enough to be one of the contenders and we spent a solid 24 hours (25 since the clocks went back) coding away, in order to try and win some pretty fancy prizes!

Working at Web Applications is a challenging but hugely rewarding experience, where you are constantly learning and improving, which is more than you could ask for on an Industrial Placement year! I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store, as I still have a lot to learn.

For more details about our Industrial Placement scheme and information about how to apply, please visit