World Youth Skills Day 2020

We interview Placement Software Engineer Peter Morrison on how a year in industry has shaped his career

It’s World Youth Skills Day and, here at Civica, we’ve long understood the importance of equipping young people with the skills for a successful and enjoyable career. With one in six people currently out of work due to the ongoing pandemic, and 41 million young people worldwide identified as ‘potential labour force’, encouraging resilience and adaptability to future disruptions are essential for a more dynamic workforce.

Through our partnerships with universities such as Queen’s University Belfast, Computer Science students like Peter Morrison can spend a placement year in industry in one of our teams. Peter tells us how his year with Civica’s Mobile Working Platform Team, based in Belfast, has been since joining in June 2019.

How did you find out about Civica and why did you choose us for your placement?

In my first year of university, I was fortunate to be a part of the Civica Scholarship programme. I was impressed by what Civica does as an organisation and felt it would be an excellent opportunity to develop as a software engineer.

How has your time been with Civica? What have the highlights been? Any challenges along the way?

My experience has greatly exceeded my expectations of what a placement would be like. I’ve been treated as an equal member of the team, which has been challenging but immensely rewarding. It’s my team members who’ve made the difference this year, not just to my learning but also my enjoyment, thanks to their help, guidance and inclusion.

The highlight was getting to work on the symptom checker for the NI Department of Health COVID-19 mobile app. It’s been rewarding to see the public, friends and family benefit from a product I’ve contributed to.

I’ve been exposed to such a range of new technologies and techniques. Xamarin.Forms has been the main focus, which is a framework for native cross-platform mobile applications written using the .NET framework in C#, and I’ve also spent time working with the Ionic framework, a mobile framework based on Angular using JavaScript.

What skills and/or knowledge will you bring back to your degree?

This year has exposed me to plenty of new technologies and techniques that I’d previously never heard of. I’ve learnt both technical aspects as well as how to go about approaching problems. I now feel much more confident in working on larger projects and tackling new problems that arise. I’ve developed lots of transferable, softer skills too, such as clearer communication and working as part of a large team.

What have you learned most about yourself since joining us?

I have a greater understanding of what areas I enjoy in this field. In particular, I’m really interested in developing mobile applications and I’d like to continue this further. My placement’s also allowed me to think more about the visual element of projects – something I realise I greatly enjoy. I believe this is the right career path for me and I look forward to what’s to come after graduating.

What are your future career plans? Have you been inspired to join a company like Civica?

I’ve really enjoyed my time with Civica and I’d love to return, should the opportunity arise! I’ve discovered that I appreciate Civica’s open and welcoming culture; for me, that’s a key trait to look for in other organisations too.