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University Engagement: Placement Student Success

Lancaster University Engagement: Successful Student Placement 

Date

27th April 2021

Location

Remote

Description

At Amiosec, we enjoy nurturing young talent and strive to offer many opportunities that encourage participation in STEM subjects. And this year is no different as it is the third year running that we have hosted a placement student from Lancaster University. In these placements, the University encourages their final year Computer Science students to undertake a project in an industry setting. Each project lasts for ten weeks, during which the students tackle a substantial problem for their host company. After the placement, the students return to University and use what they have learnt to produce their final year dissertation. The benefits of such an engagement for companies such as Amiosec is the ability to utilise these bright minds – and their youthful exuberance – to solve problems from a fresh perspective.

Speaking with students over the last year, we have found that many find the perceived complexity of working with embedded systems off-putting. We feel that this perception comes from the fact that students have very few opportunities to tinker with hardware and the lower levels of the software stack. It is this experience that is vital to them becoming professional embedded developers. Therefore, a key aim of our placements is to show students that working with embedded systems is both fun and rewarding!

One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Amiosec is that: there is “no brewing tea” for our placement students and graduate engineers! By this, we mean that we try to allow students to work on really engaging projects that are worth investing their time in to solve (and picking up some new skills along the way). Typically, placements involve each student undertaking an investigation reporting back on their findings. This approach can lead to more discoveries as often the journey will include taking a few diversions along the way. Sometimes this knowledge gain is far more significant than simply arriving at a destination without knowing how or why you got there.

Past students have enjoyed our projects as they encourage them to up-skill in technically complex topics to become experts who can then communicate their findings back to our growing engineering teams. For example, last Summer we hosted a fun project that involved programming a Raspberry Pi with Rust.

Our student for this year was Luke, who we asked to investigate the applicability of some state-of-the-art tooling from recent academic literature. Despite there being literature available, Luke still had to learn about modern operating systems and the tools used to design embedded software systems. Throughout the project, he built up his skills working with large C codebases and tried his hand at bringing up Linux on a new embedded platform.

Luke was a really ambitious student and so we structured the project to provide him with the best chance of success. We started with upskilling – learning the new technologies and tools that he was going to need – and then challenging him to design a new system using these newly acquired skills.

Luke concluded his project with Amiosec by presenting his work virtually to the whole company. In the session, Luke discussed his project, his experiences at Amiosec, and the audience were given the opportunity to ask lots of questions about his work. Presenting to an audience that included a good mix of technical and non-technical people was a novel experience for Luke. It was equally interesting for the wider Amiosec team to hear about Luke’s progress.

Now the project has finished, Luke has gone back to University and is busily working on his dissertation. From all at Amiosec, we wish Luke the best of luck!

If you are interested in a student project at Amiosec please feel free to get in touch via graduates@amiosec.com. For those on NCSC’s CyberFirst scheme, you can find our placements advertised on Cbay each Autumn.

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