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Placements are an essential part of your studies

John Calzado (pictured at the Ski & Snowboard Centre in Gloucester) has recently completed the BSc Computing degree course at University of Gloucestershire and now works as a software developer in Cheltenham.

“Everything within my course, the practical sessions, team projects and individual projects as well as my placement helped shape me into a career-ready software developer. I took every opportunity to build not only skills and knowledge related to my career, but other skills that would be beneficial to my life after university. I worked as a student ambassador and was part of the International Society Committee which helped me gain skills including customer service, problem solving, and organisation which are still important for a career in software development.

“My highlight was when I represented the university in a robotics competition in Germany at the Embedded World event. I had the chance to learn about Robotics and Engineering despite not being a part of my course.

“During my placement year, I learnt the things that I liked and disliked about the career I am pursuing. As a result, I was able to choose a good workplace after graduating.

“Since graduating, I have been building on my software development experience by working as a software developer in a small company. I’m very happy in my current workplace (learning a lot, all the time) and have been working for one year now. I’ve also been working on my own blog and side projects to build even more knowledge in the software development space. (

“Apart from studying during the course, I think that the most important thing for any university student is to do a placement year. It’s good practice when it comes to applying for jobs and doing interviews. You gain skills that give you an edge over other graduate candidates. A lot of companies favour people with experience so a placement will really help you with this. You can’t make the best decision about your career if you’ve never seen what it’s like to work in it.”