Sam Stenton, 2019 graduate in Computer Science from the University of Portsmouth

Sam's story

Sam's degree led to a placement experience that enhanced his understanding of his chosen field

A university placement year changed everything for the better

Good contacts and industry experience can make all the difference in securing a job. But how do you get these, especially as a new graduate? A placement year in industry is the solution for many of our graduates.

Sam Stenton studied Computer Science with a year in industry, as a Developer for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. He was part of a team implementing modern IT standards, building websites and new IT tools. Sam also got the opportunity to explore different areas of the business, getting to see what interested him and what jobs he was suited to. This was a valuable opportunity which helped him choose his future direction. 

Sam is now embarking on a career as a Cloud Engineer at Elanco, a company formed from the former animal health division of Eli Lilly. Sam was asked to apply for the role thanks to the contacts he made and experiences he gained on his placement. 

Elanco is starting from scratch with its own IT. It’s Sam’s job to help start up the IT services they need. He’s also making sure the changeover from Eli Lilly’s IT services is smooth.

The nice thing about starting from scratch is that we can take a step back and look at what’s available. Where new IT can improve things for the business. It’s an unusual situation to have thousands of employees but be starting at the beginning. And I’ve got the opportunity to sculpt the IT services in the direction I want to go in. There’s something quite satisfying about implementing something, or building something, that hundreds of thousands of people end up using.

As a Cloud Engineer, Sam is following his passion for cloud technologies. Once initial IT services are set up, he’ll be working on these on-demand resources. And he’s keen to make sure employees can use those resources very easily.

A game-changer

At the University of Portsmouth we know the value of a placement year. So we encourage students to take up this opportunity. We work with students and employers to find each one the right placement for them.

As well as being key to the start of his career, Sam’s placement had a huge impact on his degree.

My placement transformed my final year. It instilled a great work ethic in me. I was better at putting a large chunk of each day aside for university work. And that’s not something I would have been able to achieve in previous years.

The year in industry also enhanced Sam’s understanding of his degree topic. He was able to apply things he learnt on placement to his course and share his new knowledge with other students. Who could also do the same in return - filling in gaps for each other.

Seeing the work and the world that I could be a part of was pretty motivational. In my final year I wanted to get back there, because I found myself missing it. I knew that coming to Portsmouth University would change the way that I work with things. But I didn’t think it would make as massive a difference as it did.

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