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Zoe, Oxford, Maths

Casebooks Zoe

I first heard about Ensoft through a departmental email in the summer term of 3rd year Maths at Oxford. Being entirely convinced at this stage that I was going to do terribly in Finals, the prospect of a job application that only involved a CV appealed, and so I applied. Ensoft were interviewing in Oxford the day after my exams finished - which I accepted and then immediately phoned them up to say that actually this probably wasn't a great idea... they were very accommodating and a trip to their offices and short interview process later, I was offered the job. As it happened I then didn't do terribly in Finals and decided to stay on for a masters - the fact Ensoft didn't pressure me to make a decision before my results came out was very welcome!

In my 4th year I did a masters at Oxford called 'Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science' - which although it has 'Computer Science' in the title involved next to no programming. I (re)applied to Ensoft in the first term, along with a few other places with far more stressful application processes (and got other offers), but the fact everyone at Ensoft had been so friendly & positive swung it for me. (The starting salary didn't hurt either). I was assured that lack of experience wasn't an issue and this did indeed turn out to be the case - there's a 3-week initial training at the start to bring everyone up to speed, whilst still challenging those who have prior experience. I started off feeling like I knew less than most of the other new starters, but ended the three weeks having enjoyed the challenge of problem solving and with the feeling that I was going to enjoy the job.

My first year here has been really great - I'm doing work I find interesting and learning from people who are extremely good at what they do. There's less bureaucracy than in any other company I've worked/interned for and a good work-life balance. People only work late when they want to or really need to, rather than because there is a culture or expectation of doing so (which is in marked contrast to quite a few of my friends who graduated at a similar time!) There's also tonnes of social stuff, from pub trips and after work bike rides to bigger events like the yearly walking weekend. My first team social was indoor caving which was really fun... although the less said about how the plastic walls started off dry the better. Also worth mentioning is that as cheesy as it sounds, Ensoft do care about 'giving something back' - there's a fairly substantial charities budget that employees can recommend charities to, and a small group of us take a long lunch one day a week to run a 'code club' at a local secondary school in Harpenden.

One of the few things I was worried about before starting was that the offices aren't actually *in* London - to be honest I now see this as an advantage. I can afford to live in a much nicer flat than I could afford in central (or even not central) London, whilst still being able to go in whenever I want (very regular trains, ~25 min if you get a fast one). My 'commute' consists of either a 30min cycle or a 6 min train which is pretty ideal all round really! Saying that some people do choose to live in London - the offices are right by the station and of course you always get a seat due to travelling the 'wrong way'. Everything considered, I definitely made the right decision and would recommend Ensoft as a great place to work.