Ian, Oxford, Physics

Casebooks Ian

At the end of my PhD, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do next. I'd decided I didn't want to stay on as a postdoc, but didn't know what I should do. I wanted something with a friendly environment, but which was also interesting and challenging, I'd done some baby pieces of programming in my spare time and quite enjoyed it, but it seemed that many places wanted you to already be experienced before applying.

Ensoft [whose name I'd seen on a pub beermat...] stood out as not expecting formal programming experience, instead being more interested in training new starters. Further investigations suggested that Ensoft would be a great place to work, with the application process being so simple I decided to send off a CV. I was worried that the interview day might be intimidating, but the interviews were laid back and friendly, and helped convince me this was definitely the sort of place it would be good to work - which meant I was sure of my decision when I received a job offer.

Despite starting out of sequence with most people, Ensoft provided the appropriate education to get me started working on a project. I had friendly mentors to prove assistance and guidance throughout, and I never felt like I was wasting people's time or asking stupid questions. It's nice that the work I was doing in this period was real too - the project I worked on is still used by my team and others within Ensoft. Not only is it great how friendly everyone at Ensoft is, but the way of working is fantastic too - people are committing to doing things properly and doing them well, and it makes you take a pride in your work too!

One of the most enjoyable times was the initial training, when all the year's new starters began. While it seems like a lot to learn, it is a really effective way to pick it up. You're not being tested or judged; and there's a lot of fun and camaraderie between all the new starters.

Aside from work, Ensoft has a really good social life. Not only are people willing to have a chat, or relax and play pool/table tennis, but most weeks have pub trips, breakfast on Thursdays, board games at lunchtimes, lunches out... Not only that, but there are company and team socials. One of the first ones I went on was axe and knife throwing, which was certainly a change from what I had been expecting! There was also the chance to go on company-funded trips, which have included weekends away in Devon and St. Petersburg(!).

Working at Ensoft does allow a good work-life balance. In common with a lot of Ensofters, I'm very sporty and spend a lot of my time running (often covering over 100 miles a week). I was really worried that once I'd left the student lifestyle I'd struggle to fit this in. But actually, I've been able to maintain this through my time at Ensoft, even getting in enough training to move up distances to become a marathon runner (running 2:18 for my debut, so I don't think work can be described as having a negative effect on my running!)

All-in-all, I really enjoy working at Ensoft and would recommend it to anyone. It's challenging but friendly, has a great work-life balance and a great social life.