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My placement year with a startup business

If you’re one of those students that decided to take a leap into the industry mid studies with a placement year, you’re probably scrolling through your university’s advertised positions and thinking where to go. For a student it’s a massive advantage to have work experience with tech giants like Unity, EA, or Volkswagen, however, they aren’t the only companies out there that offer internships.

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Andy Knott

14/12/2021 | 8:59 am


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Introducing startup businesses! 

I had the opportunity to have my placement year with DeadHappy, a startup. I was doing part-time work for around Cyber Security accreditations, and here are my thoughts about it.


The fast paced chaotic environment

I started my internship as a Junior Developer looking to do some coding on the platforms but quickly moved on to being a DevOps Engineer and then a Data Engineer (even though I had no clue about data, and honestly still don’t). Hopping around led me to believe that in a startup, the job description doesn’t really matter and I probably wasn’t going to be doing only one thing for the rest of my placement. This was nothing like my life at university where I had weeks upon weeks to complete a project. Releases were going out more often than I was having breakfast, and the small tech team was working like a well-oiled machine, showing the true definition of teamwork, which I couldn’t really see in my academic life, even in group assignments.

How does my business work

Startups are great for another thing – business context. I wasn’t just assigned a task to do, I knew why I was doing it and thought more about the end result and how it solves the problem presented. The metrics, which led to the decisions I was part of, were there for everyone to see and discuss. While it might not be for everyone, I found it insightful to know about the origin of our product, the live data we receive and the future business partnerships. Being involved (even only as a listener) in the non-tech side of things is something I recommend other students do as well while on placement. 



This is probably one of my favorite parts about working in a startup – I can really feel the culture of the business and it’s not something that people just talked about during my onboarding and then never mentioned again. My colleagues are also my friends – yes, all of them – no one is just PersonFromMarketing#1 that I just see every now and then but never talk to. Everyone is a joy to work with because of one simple reason: they give a sh!t, which leads me to the final thing to consider when debating whether to apply for a placement in a startup or not. 

These kinds of businesses are really passionate about their idea, the problem they are trying to solve is the reason they exist. If you don’t care about what they’re trying to do and just want a 9-17 internship, it might not be your place. 

If you take the red pill and choose to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, you might be in for a backstage view of one hell of a show!

I hope this blog has unveiled a new perspective regarding your future placement. Good luck and remember: “A good engineer is always learning!”