Did you know that many IT and engineering undergrad students can achieve the competencies needed to obtain professional registration during an industry placement year?
Jonathan Donovan is just one success story, applying for ICTTech after spending a year working for Morgan Stanley as part of his University of Portsmouth degree.
Working for Morgan Stanley
During his time at the company, Jonathan was responsible for maintaining the European computer network.
“I was part of the network deployment team,” he says. “This involved planning, designing and configuring devices to keep the firm’s operation in Europe running. Daily I would speak to team members and other departments to arrange work for the weekend. Our main role meant we would have to make changes out of hours. This meant I spent a lot of time emailing and calling people as well as attending meetings throughout the week.
“Each week would start with a review of the previous week’s work and what we had coming up. From there all the planning would take place, including aligning everyone involved, arranging a time for the work to take place and putting in the design documents to support the change.”
Work experience highlights
Jonathan enjoyed his work at Morgan Stanley, but there were two particular highlights that stood out for him.
“The first was meeting Daley Thompson at the top of the BT Tower,” he says. “I was given a project which involved researching the impact that the Olympics would have on the business and how we could mitigate our risks. I was invited to a lunch event where I watched a presentation and spoke to vendors. It was a great day out and to meet an Olympian topped it all off.
“The other highlight was visiting the two London data centres and being involved in work to power one down. It was great to see how a large firm operates a data centre and how much effort is involved to keep the business running. For the power down I was allowed to perform work inside the data halls, allowing me to actually get hold of the equipment. I felt privileged to be involved as it meant I was trusted to work on a very difficult task that had to be finished in an allotted time.”
Over that year Jonathan learnt a lot of new skills and was able to work hard on his professional development.
“When I first started I felt that my technical knowledge was under par with many of the others in the team as they had several industry qualifications and many years of experience. However, they were happy to help me understand the systems and explained things from the base up.
“After a couple of months, I felt that I was able to understand work given to me more clearly. Midway through the placement, I felt that I was on top of my game, understood the work cycle and was able to accept work without hesitation. I was performing a couple of changes a week and was demonstrating that not only was I learning, I was able to complete a task to the required level.”
Jonathan also worked on his soft skills, improving his communication through meetings and conference calls and enhancing his time management skills, as sticking to deadlines was an important part of his role.
Applying for professional registration through an industry placement
Jonathan’s lecturers had already provided him with information on applying for professional registration during his studies, so after his year in industry he decided to apply and see if his experience was “up to standard.”
Throughout the year he had maintained a dairy, which had been used as both a logbook for professional registration but also as a proof of his work for the university. This made his application process even easier.
“Throughout the year I matched my diary to the criteria given by the IET. This helped me a lot as I could then see if my work was matching what a professional body considered suitable skills.
“After completing the diary, I also wrote two case studies. This was a particularly easy part of the application, as I was able to pick two in-depth projects that I worked on, highlighting the skills I’d used.
“At that point, all that was left was to apply! This was all managed by the university, so I filled in the form, gave all my work to the Placement Team and sat back and waited.”
Achieving ICTTech as a student
Jonathan felt great when he found out he’d been awarded ICTTech status, as this meant a professional organisation recognised his IT skills. As a student, this was a great boost to his CV, as it could show potential employers not just his academic ability but also his professional skills and experience.
“Although getting my degree was a huge achievement, being able to say the IET had given me professional status went a long way,” he says.
“I also believe this gives me the potential to go a lot further in my IT career and I’m looking at working towards chartership. Although this can take some time I am already on the ladder, and by increasing my skill set I’ll make myself more employable in the future.”
Find out if you can apply for professional registration
Want to find out if your time in a work experience placement qualifies you for EngTech or ICT Technician (ICTTech) professional registration? Be sure to check in with your tutor, IET liaison or head over to our technician professional registration for students page for further information on the competencies needed and how to apply.