Sam, Oxford, Computer Science

Casebooks Sam

During my first year at Oxford, I had decided to apply for an internship for the summer, I had been told by my fellow students that good internships for first years are few and far between, but nevertheless I went ahead and pursued a few companies. A number of placements caught my eye, but Ensoft really stood out! They only required a CV to be emailed to them, and they quickly offered me a face-to-face interview at the Randolph hotel in Oxford a few weeks later. The interview process was extremely relaxed; there was a short test, and two casual interviews with two different employees of the company.

Unfortunately, the first time round I was not offered a place (or indeed a place at any company I applied for that year); but Ensoft encouraged me to apply again during my second year, and I had no hesitation in doing just that! The second time round, the interview process was much the same, tea and biscuits while you wait, relaxed atmosphere, short test and friendly interviews. I was over the moon when I got the email informing me I had managed to bag an internship there that summer.

Ensoft were laid back about pretty much anything I asked prior to starting (and indeed that continued right the way through my internship). I had arranged a week holiday mid-way through the internship and they were absolutely fine with that. They're happy to allow you to leave at pretty much any time each day as long as you feel like you've done a sensible amount of work, and arriving gone 10am is a common occurrence among employees there.

For my first day I arrived at around 9:30 (probably the earliest I have ever done throughout my time there), and was given a quick tour of both the buildings by my new mentor. He told me about jacket potato Tuesday lunches and cooked breakfast on Thursdays, and many of the other awesome quirks and perks of working here (including a pool table, table tennis table, football table, and frequent socials). After the tour, I was let loose to unbox the brand new monitor, keyboard and mouse left for me. And as a linux person, I was given a lenovo laptop with which I was allowed to install any distro I desired, and set it up just as I liked.

At lunchtime, there was an introductory pub outing where the majority of the company were able to introduce themselves to me. Afterwards a few of us went to pizza express for lunch, and had many heated technical debates; I felt right at home! The lunch outings to pubs or various restaurants are an almost daily occurrence, and on Friday lunchtimes there are two factions that depart to either the local thai restaurant, or a meze bar.

During my 10 weeks I was working on a network management system written in Python (that was created by the previous interns), and going through the codebase, making design decisions and refactoring everything allowed me to get good experience at working with such a large application. And it's really thrilling to know that the application is relevant to the company, and that eventually it may even be a product in itself.

The offices are all open plan layouts, and there are no "executive offices" or anything for the directors or managers of the company, everyone sits mixed up together, and it's a great environment to work in! There are also fruit bowls and biscuit tins in each office that are refilled continuously.

There were a number of socials that were organised during my time here, including go-karting and a summer party, but by far the best thing about Ensoft is the people, everyone is very friendly and willing to help out in any way they can. For example, if you forgot your phone cable and needed to charge your phone, you could ask to borrow one in the ensoft chatroom, and 10 seconds later, an ensofter would be standing next to you with a microUSB cable in their hand. Any questions about work or code related things also get very quick and friendly responses too.

My time at Ensoft has been nothing short of awesome. I couldn.t have wished for a better way to spend my summer, gaining vital experience in the industry, and making many friends. I would recommend Ensoft to anyone interested in the industry.