Chris, Oxford, Engineering & Computer Science

Casebooks Chris

Towards the end of my Engineering and Computer Science degree at Oxford, I started thinking about what to do next. I applied to some larger software and telecoms companies and got some experience filling in tedious forms and attending multi-day assessment centres.

Judging companies by their recruitment procedure led me to think that these jobs would involve paper pushing, box ticking and a bit of hoop jumping. A couple of interviews (by people you may actually work with!) and a basic aptitude test to get through Ensoft's recruitment procedure left me with a feeling that working for them may be a bit more exciting.

Sadly things were not to be, Ensoft had already recruited enough people for the current intake, though I was told I'd be considered in the future. I didn't think much of it, forgot about getting a job and went traveling around Europe. Six months later, as funds were running low and I was discovering that even in Spain it gets cold in January, I was contacted by Ensoft.

Going forward another six months, I was in San Jose working with a customer and the weather was nice (it turns out it's always nice in San Jose).

One thing that I realised early on was that working for a company Ensoft's size means that you very quickly have a significant - and noticeable - impact on the work they do. While this may be quite daunting, it's actually great; you're never given anything you can't handle and there are plenty of people willing to answer any questions.

I worked in my team for four months before I was sent out to the US to work with the customer. My first trip out was for a few weeks, but after a year I was given - and took - the opportunity to stay out in California for three months. Traveling is something that's encouraged at Ensoft, putting faces to the people we email improves communication, it's good to see what the customer gets up to and - putting work aside - it's a good experience ;) After spending three months out there I got to appreciate all these benefits and in addition I had some time to sample much of what California had to offer; Santa Cruz, Yosemite, San Francisco and a tour of the Napa valley wine region.

While I was away I did have to keep up with training for Ensoft's Microsoft Challenge entry with which I had become involved. This is a 4 day team adventure race for businesses, with over 100 teams from companies such as Accenture, Dell, GCHQ and Vodafone competing each year. Doing a few months of training as a team was fun, hard work and crucial to our successful 14th place in the competition, bettered only by our 9th place the following year - this is against companies thousands of times our size!

On to slightly more relaxed activities, the social side of Ensoft is busy. The company is small enough so everyone invites each other to the pub, but also large enough to offer a variety of activities from Go-Karting to a weekend in Athens (which I hadn't been to on my travels).

I've found that the combination of an active and varied social scene with challenging and rewarding work gives working at Ensoft an unbeatable quality that I'd recommend to anyone.