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Paul, Oxford, Mathematics

Casebooks Paul

During my final year of university, I didn't want to think about where I wanted to work, because I didn't want to work. I loved the uni life, the football, the drinking, going out, I even enjoyed my subject, Maths. I just assumed if I was smart enough I could just continue being a student, do a PhD, and continue having fun. I had even worked for a summer in the Maths Department, because that's what I'd planned to do. However, the money was running out. Both because my money had been spent on said going out and drinking, and the government's funding of Maths PhDs was running low, making it more difficult to get the funding. At the start of my final year, I decided I needed a job, and needed to decide what I wanted to do.

So the search began, at first with some optimism. I applied to several Engineering Consultancies, attracted by the salaries. But there seemed to be countless rounds of interviews and tests, each one harder than the last, and in one instance quite aggressive... I was asked if I was "bullsh*tting" the interviewer. I assured him I wasn't, but still didn't get any job offers. I became a bit put off consulting.

Next I tried some banks, thinking that was more suited to a Mathematician. I always hit the same snag though, the phone interview. I had no idea what they wanted me to say, and I spent most the time frantically looking for the sheet of paper with my pre-prepared answer on (I probably should have tidied my room a bit more). Come Christmas of my final year, I was out of optimism, licking my wounds, and feeling not so smart.

After that I was put off job hunting and concentrated on uni, but the worry was always there. It was only because of the organisation of my girlfriend that I heard about Ensoft. She told me how simple the interview process was, so I had no excuse not to go for it. Before I knew it I sat in a swanky hotel doing yet another logic test, which I'd done plenty of by then, followed by a genuinely friendly interview. There was no "Tell me what you know about our Company", which I'd been asked at most places, and I'd duly reeled off their Wikipedia page to a disappointed face. There was no bull at all, just talking about my CV and interests. I admitted I had no computer programming experience, and was told not to worry, it wasn't a requirement, and that Ensoft do all the training. Shortly after that, I found out I'd got the job. My worry was over; I could forget job hunting, knowing I'd have a place to work come summer. They even let me start a month early so I didn't have to worry about money as much, and so that I could learn about programming before their proper training course for graduates started.

A year on, I'm still here, and work isn't half as bad as I thought it'd be. I still get to play football a lot because Ensoft puts on a 5-a-side game twice a week and 11-a-side games against other companies in the summer. I still get to drink, Ensoft does a lot of socials with free beer, and a lot of people go to one of Harpenden's many pubs after work. I still get to go out, now to places I wouldn't be able to as a student, like the Luton Hoo for Christmas dinner, and to the Dome for a VIP night watching the ATP tennis tour, all paid for by Ensoft. This emphasis on social activities means it's really easy to get to know everyone, and make friends. Although I don't do any Maths anymore, I found learning to program interesting, with similar problem solving aspects. It's been a steep learning curve, from knowing no real programming to writing production code, and I've had to work harder than I ever have in the past, but it's also been rewarding and Ensoft has been massively helpful every step of the way. They have a very good training camp and mentoring system, but in fact everyone around Ensoft is willing to help with questions, and so it's a great environment to learn.

Do I miss uni? Of course sometimes, who doesn't? But as places of work go, Ensoft is up there. I'm glad I was lucky enough to hear about Ensoft when I did, and I would recommend to any students to give applying to Ensoft a go. Compared to most companies outside the city, the starting salary is competitive, so even if you're like I was and clueless as to what you want to do, it's worth thinking about. If unlike me you already know you want to work in computer programming, honestly, it's a no brainer!